AEW's Turner/WarnerMedia Ally Departs Company Amidst Organizational Shake-Up

Posted By James Walsh on 08/07/20

WarnerMedia is undergoing a major restructuring that has seen several executives including Kevin Reilly, who was a major part of getting AEW on TNT, exit the company. Deadline reports that the company is shaking up its organizational structure following the ascension of Jason Kilar to the CEO position. That change saw Reilly, who was the chief content officer for HBO Max and president of TNT, TBS, and truTV, exit along with WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt and Corporate Marking and Communications EVP Keith Cocozza.

The move is big for a number of reasons for WarnerMedia, but for wrestling fans in particular Reilly’s exit is significant. Reilly had an essential role in bringing AEW to TNT; Tony Khan has said in interviews that he pitched Reilly on the concept and has credited Reilly for being a big supporter of AEW. Reilly, who has been with Turner since 2014, renewed AEW Dynamite through 2024 and ordered a second series for their cable networks, though that has not yet launched.

In the restructured company, Warner Bros. head Ann Sarnoff will take over all network, film and TV studio and streaming assets as part of the newly-created Studios and Networks Group as the company streamlines its operations. Casey Bloys, the president of HBO Programming, will oversee original content for HBO Max, TNT, TBS, and truTV, and will report to Sarnoff.

Kilar sent an internal memo to WarnerMedia employees describing the changes as:

“* We are elevating HBO Max in the organization and expanding its scope globally.
* We are simplifying how we organize our studios.
* We are creating a consolidated International unit focused on scale and efficiency.
* We are bringing our key commercial activities into one group to allow us to operate more strategically.”

What this means for AEW is not necessarily clear at this time. While Reilly was a big ally of AEW’s in the WarnerMedia umbrella, AEW has been a solid performer for them and there’s no immediate indication that the company is on less secure ground with Warner outside of the obvious fact that they have lost a major ally. AEW and Tony Khan have not yet commented on the change in their broadcast partner’s structuring.