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WarnerMedia sweetens Kevin Reilly’s employment deal, extends tenure through 2022

WarnerMedia sweetens Kevin Reilly’s employment deal, extends tenure through 2022
WarnerMedia expanded the purview of Kevin Reilly, who oversees TNT, TBS, TruTV and programming for a planned streaming service. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

WarnerMedia has buttoned up the services of one of its key programming executives — Kevin Reilly — as it faces the monumental task of building a successful streaming service.

The AT&T company announced Thursday that Reilly, who has managed programming for the TBS and TNT cable channels since late 2014, had extended his employment with the company through 2022. Reilly also was given an expanded portfolio that now includes oversight of the comedy-oriented TruTV channel.

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Earlier this year, Reilly was given more responsibilities as chief content officer for the company’s planned streaming service, which is a top corporate priority of WarnerMedia Chief Executive John Stankey.

Stankey hopes to have a test version of the service operational by year’s end. The service, which plans to compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, is expected to include such hits as “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “West Wing” and films from the legendary Warner Bros. film studio.

The company has released few details, but on Wednesday, Stankey told advertisers in New York that the service would include opportunities for advertisers to show their wares. A broad launch of the yet-unnamed service is planned for early next year.

“We’ve combined the creative vision, iconic brands and full content portfolio of WarnerMedia with the global reach, capabilities and direct consumer relationships of our parent company AT&T,” Stankey said during a presentation to advertisers in New York.

As part of the shuffle announced Thursday, Chris Linn, the programming executive in charge of TruTV, will leave the company.

Reilly, 56, now reports to WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, who two months ago joined the company, which is in the midst of a major management overhaul and strategic shift.

“Kevin has a long-standing reputation as an industry leader, and his accomplishments throughout his career — and particularly at this company — are remarkable,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “He will continue to head up our important cable networks as well as oversee the robust content strategy for our new direct-to-consumer streaming service.”

Reilly has presided over the entertainment divisions of three cable channels and two of America’s four largest broadcast networks: NBC (2004-07) and Fox Broadcasting (2007-14). He also helped steer FX’s move into original programming with the dramas “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck.”

During his three decades in the business, Reilly has helped shape such culturally relevant programs as “The Office,” “The Sopranos,” “ER,” “Law & Order,” “30 Rock,” “Empire” and “Saved by the Bell.”

While at WarnerMedia, previously known as Time Warner Inc., Reilly has led a team trying to sharpen the programming for TBS and TNT with such originals and late-night shows asFull Frontal With Samantha Bee,” “The Alienist” and “Search Party.”

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