AT&T CEO John Stankey. Photo by Bloomberg.
News Analysis
Entertainment

In WarnerMedia-Discovery Deal, Old-School TV Execs Reclaim Power

Photo: AT&T CEO John Stankey. Photo by Bloomberg.

A new team is taking over at WarnerMedia—and it looks a lot like the old-school TV team that ran the company before AT&T bought it. The question is whether that mindset will help or hurt Warner’s ability to remake itself for the digital age.

AT&T confirmed Monday morning that it will sell WarnerMedia to Discovery. In comments at a press briefing, Discovery CEO David Zaslav signaled that a more Hollywood-friendly management team was taking the reins of WarnerMedia, after a year in which a streaming veteran overseen by a telecom firm had shaken up the company. Zaslav called out the contributions of Hollywood legends in building WarnerMedia, including Warner Bros. founders Jack Warner and his brothers; Steve Ross, the executive who created Time Warner 30 years ago; and Ted Turner, who founded WarnerMedia’s CNN 40 years ago. Zaslav also reminded reporters that he was a great friend of CNN chief Jeff Zucker, raising the prospect that as a result of the deal Zucker would stay on rather than leave as he had been planning to do.

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