Charter Communications shed a little light on its next steps following what appears to be a somewhat groundbreaking hire for the cable company, bringing in former NBCUniversal and Chernin Group TV production executive Katherine Pope.
“We see original content as a way to further differentiate the Spectrum customer experience,” said Charter spokesman Justin Venech, in an email to Fierce this morning. “We have previously announced our co-production plans with AMC and Viacom, and we will continue to explore opportunities for the development of original content. We have no comment beyond that at this time.
Pope will operate under the title of senior VP of original content, working out of a Los Angeles base. Charter said in its announcement that Pope would oversee deals signed last year with AMC Networks and Viacom to produce original content for Charter.
The cable operator, however, would not respond to several questions posed by Fierce. Are there going to be additional hires under Pope? Will Charter actually be responsible for producing movies and TV shows, or is her role to act as more of a liaison with AMC and Viacom?
"Katherine's creativity, strategic prowess, and wealth of industry knowledge will play an instrumental role in positioning Charter as an industry leader in the creation and distribution of high-quality, original entertainment that will further differentiate Charter's market-leading video products in ways that create value and drive subscribership,” said Charter Senior Executive VP David Ellen, to whom Pope will report, in a statement released Friday.
Pope joins Charter from Studio 8, where she spearheaded the launch of the company’s TV division. Prior to that, she served as president of television for Chernin Entertainment, and she spent 10 years at NBCUniversal TV Studios.
Among projects produced during her NBCU tenure were some of television’s highest-rated scripted series, including “House,” “Heroes” and the Emmy Award-winning comedies “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “Will and Grace.” Other critically acclaimed series she developed and oversaw include “Friday Night Lights” and “Battlestar Galactica.”
In April, Charter announced a deal with AMC Networks in which the programmer’s studio unit will produce exclusive shows for the cable operator’s Spectrum platform.
The companies expect the first shows co-produced and co-funded through the deal to premiere on Charter Spectrum in 2018. Under the agreement, Charter will have an exclusive initial window in the U.S., while AMC Studios will retain subsequent rights, including the right to distribute the content internationally.