Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Discovery CEO David Zaslav signs new contract through 2027 amid AT&T mega-merger

David Zaslav will stay on as Discovery CEO through at least 2027, leading the massive joint venture with WarnerMedia announced on Monday, sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Zaslav's new contract will be announced next week in conjunction with the name of the new company that he just unveiled with AT&T CEO John Stankey.

  • Zaslav's previous contract extended through 2023. He has led Discovery since 2007.
  • Before that, Zaslav spent years with NBCUniversal, helping to develop and launch CNBC and MSNBC. He is a close friend and mentee of billionaire media mogul John Malone, who will sit on the board of the new joint venture.

Details: Sources say Zaslav, 61, will bring most of his C-suite executives at Discovery over to take on executive positions at the new joint venture. Discovery will lead the joint venture, although AT&T will have majority ownership.

  • From a leadership perspective, the deal is structured similarly to Discovery’s 2018 acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive.
  • Zaslav will likely bring his top strategic team on to lead the new company. Much of that team has worked together at Discovery for over 15 years, including international CEO JB Perrette, chief corporate operating officer David Leavy and chief development, distribution and legal officer Bruce Campbell.
  • Zaslav will try to keep much of the creative talent in place at WarnerMedia, but business and corporate groups from WarnerMedia are likely to get cut, sources say.
  • One WarnerMedia executive that may stay on is CNN chief Jeff Zucker, a longtime friend of Zaslav’s, Axios' Mike Allen reported Monday.
  • WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is likely to depart, roughly a year after AT&T brought him in to run the business. Sources say some of the top leadership from WarnerMedia was caught off guard by the deal’s announcement.
  • The deal was tightly brokered between Zaslav and WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey over the past few months. Sources say Zucker was read-in, but Kilar was not.

The big picture: Zaslav is a well-liked figure within the industry. Peers Axios has spoken to describe him as "disciplined," "mature," "humble," and "traditional."

  • "He may not be as public-facing, but certainly among his peers, he's a rockstar and everybody knows it," says Hollywood veteran and WndrCo investor Jeffrey Katzenberg.
  • "He's not quite the Hollywood insider," one source notes. "He's not press hungry. You see him eating at Michael's in New York (a popular media hangout), but he's not trying to schmooze editors or curry favor."

Be smart: Zaslav’s peers see his ascension to the top of the media food chain as a brilliant, well-timed maneuver, although some suggest his legacy TV history could get in the way of his focus on streaming.

  • "He saw a distressed asset and took advantage of it," a source notes. One peer called it "the ultimate escape act."
  • A source close to Zaslav says he's good at doubling down on blind spots. Zaslav focused on building an unscripted entertainment empire at Discovery, while most of his peers focused on serialized dramas.
  • "He continues to surprise people in just how determined, focused and strategic he is," Katzenberg said.

The big picture: For some Hollywood insiders, Zaslav’s deal with John Stankey feels emblematic of legacy media’s struggle to balance streaming innovation with nursing legacy business lines that are profitable, like linear TV and theaters.

  • "I think that what you're seeing is re-entrenchment of the traditionalists of Hollywood business models," one Hollywood veteran said. The deal, struck between two older white, male executives, "reinforced the traditional ways of doing business."
  • While the new joint venture will be centered around streaming, Zaslav made it a point at a press conference on Monday to recognize the value the deal would bring to Discovery and WarnerMedia’s traditional TV businesses.

Be smart: What the past year has shown is that entertainment giants are largely judged by Wall Street based not on traditional business metrics, but on their streaming potential.

  • "The win (in the streaming arms race) is really about how it moves your share price," one source said.
  • Disney's record stock performance, despite massive pandemic-driven headwinds to its parks and theaters business, is an example of that.

What to watch: The Discovery-WarnerMedia deal will include $3 billion worth of synergies, which is typically viewed as corporate speak for layoffs.

  • One source noted that Discovery's low-budget reality TV programming may push WarnerMedia executives to be more scrappy. WarnerMedia has already gone through drastic cuts and restructurings under AT&T.

Disclosure: Jeffrey Katzenberg's WndrCo is an investor in Axios.

regular 4 post ff

infinite scroll 4 pff

test 5

shall had shall had shall hAd HAD.

content more

selected test 10 in From Site, test

111added test 9

added external seo phrase

added news internal link to seo phrase

Humans are capable of great kindness and compassion, and there are countless examples of individuals who have made a positive impact on the world through their selflessness and generosity.

One such example is Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to serving the poor and sick in the slums of Calcutta. Through her tireless work and unwavering dedication, she touched the lives of countless people and became a symbol of compassion and selflessness.

Another example is Malala Yousafzai, a young woman from Pakistan who has become a powerful advocate for education and the rights of girls. Despite facing threats and violence, she has continued to speak out and fight for change, inspiring others to do the same.

These are just a few examples of the many good humans who have made a difference in the world. They remind us that one person can make a difference and inspire others to do the same.

It's also important to note that acts of kindness and compassion don't have to be on a grand scale to make a difference. Small acts of kindness, like holding the door open for someone or offering a word of encouragement, can have a big impact on the people around us.

In conclusion, humans are capable of great compassion and kindness, and there are many individuals who have made a positive impact on the world through their selflessness and generosity. They remind us of the power of one person to make a difference and inspire others to do the same. Let's all strive to be good humans, and make our world a better place.



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories