Warner Bros. has confirmed that veteran television distribution executive Ken Werner, who led network distribution at The WB for the past nine years and played a key role in the formation of The CW, will replace Dick Robertson as president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (B&C, Aug. 22).
In his new role, Werner will take the reins of one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network programming in the domestic television marketplace. He assumes the role previously held for 17 years by Robertson, who Monday was named senior adviser to the Warner Bros. Television Group.
The choice is a departure from the usual syndication suspects, but Bruce Rosenblum,Warner Bros. Television Group president, said, “Ken has over 19 years of diversified executive experience with leading entertainment companies.
"That rich background, his extensive knowledge of the station community, incredible relationships with station group heads and local GMs, a terrific strategic long-term vision, and an inherent ability to fashion innovative solutions to address business challenges, make him the perfect choice to lead our domestic television distribution operation.”
Added Robertson: “Ken is a world-class executive with extraordinary organizational and people skills. I couldn’t be more pleased than to pass the baton to Ken. I will rest well at night knowing that our domestic distribution operation is in such capable hands.”
Werner, calling the job “a great privilege,” will inherit a full slate for the 2006-07 season.
WBDTD will distribute seven first-run series, including a new talk show with Dr. Keith Ablow. It also has an extensive off-network library, including the launch of Two and a Half Men in fall 2007.
The veteran station executive joined The WB in September 1997 as executive VP, a principal member of The WB’s management team overseeing its distribution system. During his tenure, Werner increased its coverage from 56 percent to 94 percent of the U.S. and introduced innovations in the network’s relationship with affiliates.
Werner previously served as senior VP of strategic planning and business development at CBS after eight years as senior VP of Walt Disney Television, where he was responsible for a broad range of television, ancillary market, and company-wide initiatives.
His domain there included responsibility for all business planning and business and legal affairs for syndication unit Buena Vista Television. Between 1983 and 1988, Werner held senior business affairs positions at Columbia Pictures Television and Viacom Enterprises.
He began his career in the business side of entertainment as an attorney and assistant executive director at the Dramatists Guild. Werner is a former board member of NATPE.