Josh Sapan Steps Down as AMC Networks President and CEO

Former Showtime head honcho Matthew Blank joins company as interim CEO

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Josh Sapan is stepping down as AMC Networks president and CEO and transitioning to an executive vice chairman role. Former Showtime Networks chief Matthew Blank has joined the company as interim CEO.

Sapan, who is now 70, has been president and chief executive officer of AMC Networks for 26 years. When he joined back in 1995, AMC Networks was still known as Rainbow Media, a subsidiary of Cablevision.

These days, the publicly traded AMC Networks consists of AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films and streaming offerings AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

Sapan oversaw the company through more than one significant transition, but one in particular certainly stands out.

When Sapan joined, AMC was American Movie Classics. They stuck with that for a while, but later moved away from classic films and into original programming. Eventually, AMC brought us “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” a trio of dramas that no modern-day television history book can be written without including.

“This has been the greatest career I could have ever imagined, and I am enormously proud of all that we have accomplished. I am deeply grateful to Charles and Jim Dolan for allowing me this spectacular opportunity,” Sapan said in a statement on Tuesday. “There has perhaps been no more exciting time for the company than right now and, as executive vice chairman, I look forward to continuing to work with the outstanding team at AMC Networks, as well as Matt, my great colleague and friend, to focus on how we maximize our unique content to accelerate our streaming goals.”

“Over his long career, Josh’s leadership ensured AMC Networks became a force in entertainment, with far-reaching influence throughout the industry, and home to some of the most successful and innovative shows in the history of television,” AMC Networks Chairman James Dolan added. “We are grateful for his vision, creativity and management expertise and look forward to his continued contributions as executive vice chairman.”

The company is conducting a search for Sapan’s permanent replacement. Blank, who is already in the Dolan Family family of business, stepped down from the MSG board of directors for this gig.

“We are also delighted to have Matt help us through this transition,” Dolan continued, this time talking about his new guy. “His wealth of media experience will prove valuable as he works with Josh and the AMC Networks team to support the company’s continued success.”

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