David Zaslav to oversee massive media empire with the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger

Hosted by

David Zaslav is the CEO of Discovery, a media company known for its reality shows like “Dr. Pimple Popper.” Now he’ll also run WarnerMedia, which includes the highbrow network HBO. Photo by Thomas Hawk, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The grand experiment that was AT&T’s ownership of WarnerMedia is coming to an end. The phone company will spin off its WarnerMedia assets Discovery. 

That move will put Discovery CEO David Zaslav over WarnerMedia, ending the reign of current WarnerMedia head Jason Kilar.

Kilar put himself at odds with WarnerMedia filmmakers when he decided that all of the company’s 2021 movies would stream on HBO Max the same day they opened in theaters. Some in the creative community are excited about a change at the top. 

But Zaslav is known as a tough boss who specializes in grinding out reality shows. He’s on the East Coast and regularly makes West Coast executives take calls at 5 a.m. It’s uncertain whether he’ll be willing to embrace the big bucks and big risks it takes to launch a scripted series like HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” 

The deal marks a monumental change in the industry and also a monumental failure for AT&T. The thought was that AT&T could succeed by controlling both the content creation and the methods of distribution, but the Dallas-based company was never able to fully get along with Hollywood.

Credits

Guest:

Host:

Kim Masters

Producer:

Kaitlin Parker