Things are going to be different over at Warner Bros. with their new chair and CEO, Ann Sarnoff. She met the company today during a town hall event where she surprised some of those in attendance with her answer to the age-old question of Superman or Batman. Deadline reported on the exchange, as those two choices didn't seem to suit the new executive so she opted for Wonder Woman instead.
Sarnoff's other comments during the town hall focused on building a new chapter for the company after a rocky beginning to 2019. She's prizing taking risks and exploring new avenues. That makes it pretty clear why she would roll with the superhero who has helped lead the DC Extended Universe out of its own rocky start. After all, however you feel about Zack Snyder's work establishing those movies, Wonder Woman was a surprise hit for the studio that showed there could be another route to success.
The CEO's previous stops was BBC Studios before she replaced Kevin Tsujihara at Warner Bros. Sarnoff's hiring comes after Tsujihara stepped down earlier this year as an investigation swirled around an alleged 'Pay for Play' sexual relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk. It is alleged that Tsujihara lobbied to land Kirk roles in Warner Bros. productions because of this relationship. The new executive ended up winning out over a host of qualified candidates. This list included former CBS Television Studios president Nancy Tellem, former co-chair of Disney Media Networks & President of Disney-ABC Television Group Anne Sweeney, and former 20th Century Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider.
WarnerMedia was looking for a fresh voice to lead them into the streaming marketplace with their launch of a service to rival Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and others. Sarnoff's strong digital background sealed the deal for her along with a track record in production at BBC Studios Americas. WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey was very happy with her selection in an earlier statement.
"I am delighted Ann is joining the WarnerMedia team and excited to work side by side with such a talented and accomplished individual. She brings a consistent and proven track record of innovation, creativity and business results to lead an incredibly successful studio to its next chapter of growth. Ann has shown the ability to innovate and grow revenues and has embraced the evolution taking place in our industry. I am confident she will be a great cultural fit for WarnerMedia and that our employees will embrace her leadership, enthusiasm and passion for our business."
Sarnoff previously ooversaw BBC Studios Americas' business division in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. She also led the efforts to grow some high-profile BBC Studios brands like Doctor Who and Top Gear. Sarnoff had her eyes toward the future when she delivered some introductory remarks when the news of her new position broke.
"It is a privilege to join a studio with such a storied history. Warner Bros. has been an industry leader for decades and is known for creating many of the most iconic film, television and gaming properties. I accept this position excited by the opportunity to work with the most accomplished executives and teams in media, and confident about carrying this incredible heritage forward with them."