Veteran television distribution exec Ken Werner, who was in charge of network distribution for The WB for the past nine years and was an important member of the Warner Bros. team that formed The CW, has been named president, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD). He will take the reins of one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network programming in the domestic television marketplace.
Werner assumes the role previously held for 17 years by Dick Robertson, who has been named senior advisor to the Warner Bros. Television Group.
"I've had the pleasure of working with Ken during the past nine years and am thrilled that he'll be overseeing this important business for us at Warner Bros.," said Bruce Rosenblum, president, Warner Bros. Television Group. "Ken has over 19 years of diversified executive experience with leading entertainment companies. That rich background, his extensive knowledge of the station community, incredible relationships with station group heads and local GMs, a terrific strategic long-term vision and an inherent ability to fashion innovative solutions to address business challenges make him the perfect choice to lead our domestic television distribution operation."
"I am thrilled to be staying at Warner Bros. and to continue my relationship with Bruce Rosenblum. "I have enormous respect and admiration for Bruce and everything he has accomplished. To continue that relationship and be afforded the opportunity to work with an organization that is considered best in class is a great privilege," said Werner. "What Dick Robertson and his team have accomplished over the last 17 years selling the finest programming available in the off-net and first-run market is historic. From sales to research, from marketing to distribution, the people who work at WBDTD are at the very top of the industry. I am unbelievably excited about our future and look forward to our team attacking the challenges that lie ahead."
Werner joined The WB Network in September 1997 as evp, distribution. He was a principal member of The WB's management team and was responsible for The WB's distribution system. He guided the network's transformation of its distribution system, increasing its coverage of the U.S. from 56% to 94%. He introduced numerous new and unique programs, which assisted affiliates in maximizing the value of their affiliations and provided the leadership necessary to successfully navigate the dynamic network/affiliate relationship.
Werner previously served as svp, strategic planning and business development at CBS Inc. Prior to CBS, Werner spent eight years with The Walt Disney Co. as svp of Walt Disney Television, where he was responsible for a broad range of television, ancillary market and company-wide initiatives, including responsibility for all business planning and business and legal affairs for Buena Vista Television. Between 1983 and 1988, Werner held senior business affairs positions at Columbia Pictures Television and Viacom Enterprises.
Werner began his career in the business side of entertainment as an attorney and assistant exec director of the Dramatists Guild Inc., the professional association of persons writing for the theater. He is a former board member of NATPE and a founding Board and Loan Committee member of L.A. FAME Renaissance, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to economically empowering underserved communities.
In 2002, Werner launched, on behalf of FAME Renaissance Business Incubator, a lecture series entitled, "A Conversation With." The series, which has concluded its fourth season and is now sponsored by USC's Marshall School of Business and L.A. FAME Renaissance, is produced and moderated by Werner. It exposes students, businessmen and entrepreneurs in underserved communities to leading entertainment execs who share their personal perspectives on achieving business success. Guests have included Michael Eisner, Richard Parsons, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Barry Diller, Bob Wright, Carole Black, Peter Chernin, Jamie Kellner, Ann Fudge, Ron Meyer, Chris McGurk and Leslie Moonves.
For the 2006-07 season, WBDTD will distribute seven first-run series: THE DR. KEITH ABLOW SHOW, THE TYRA BANKS SHOW, THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW, JUDGE MATHIS, EXTRA, THE PEOPLE'S COURT and SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO. The extensive list of off-network programs in syndication via WBDTD includes TWO AND A HALF MEN, FRIENDS, WILL & GRACE (from NBC Studios), THE DREW CAREY SHOW, HBO'S SEX AND THE CITY and the weekend broadcast windows presentations of ER, THE WEST WING, COLD CASE and WITHOUT A TRACE.