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BBC America chief Sarah Barnett is elevated to president, entertainment networks at AMC

BBC America chief Sarah Barnett is elevated to president, entertainment networks at AMC
Sarah Barnett will oversee AMC, SundanceTV, IFC and BBC America in her new role as president, entertainment networks.

AMC Networks, the maker of one of TV’s biggest hits, “The Walking Dead,” announced Monday that it will centralize the management of its cable channels and program production.

Sarah Barnett, who has headed AMC’s BBC America channel since 2014, is being elevated to president, entertainment networks. She will maintain oversight of BBC America and add channels AMC, SundanceTV and IFC to her portfolio.

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David Madden, president of programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC’s production studio, will also oversee show development at BBC America and IFC. He will report to Barnett.

AMC Networks is also putting the marketing functions for AMC, BBC America, SundanceTV and IFC under Linda Schupack, who has been promoted to president of marketing, entertainment networks.

Marc Juris remains president and general manager of WE tv, AMC’s female-oriented lifestyle channel, which mostly airs unscripted programming.

The New York-based company will streamline its overall workforce, eliminating fewer than 40 positions across AMC Networks, which has about 2,000 employees, according to an executive familiar with those plans who was not authorized to publicly disclose them.

Ed Carroll, chief operating officer for parent company AMC Networks, said in an interview that AMC Networks will operate more efficiently by having its four entertainment networks under each executive. Under the previous structure, program creators were pitching the same ideas to development teams at the different networks.

“It gives us more leverage and an ability to see the whole playing field,” Carroll said.

The moves follow the departure of Charles Collier, who last month announced he would leave his post as president of AMC, Sundance TV and AMC Studios to become chief executive of entertainment for Fox, the company to be spun off from 21st Century Fox after the sale of most of its assets to Walt Disney Co.

Carroll said the restructuring was planned well before Collier’s decision to exit.

Barnett’s rise comes after she developed the drama hit “Killing Eve” for BBC America. The mystery series saw its audience grow every week during its eight-episode run this year.

Like all broadcast and cable channels, AMC Networks is facing a challenging environment as more viewers are streaming their favorite shows online and spending less time watching conventional TV.

The company has been making investments in over-the-top streaming video channels, including the recent acquisition of Acorn, a service that offers British drama programs.

AMC also offers cable and satellite companies a channel called AMC Premiere, which gives subscribers its programs on demand and without commercials for an additional monthly fee.

AMC Networks Inc. stock closed Monday at $61.86, up nearly 3% on the day.

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