AMC Networks Names Kristin Dolan New CEO

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AMC Networks, the James Dolan-run company behind such cable brands as AMC, IFC and Sundance TV, as well as such streaming services as AMC+, Acorn TV and Shudder, has named Kristin Dolan its new CEO. Kristin is the wife of James Dolan, and the executive succeeds Christina Spade, who briefly held the top role at AMC last year.

“It’s a privilege to join a company with a long legacy of engaging audiences with excellent storytelling and world-class brands,” said Kristin Dolan. “It’s also where I started my career in the industry. I look forward to bringing my broad experience — across programming, cable operations, and most recently, utilizing data to reimagine television advertising — to leverage AMC Networks’ strong assets, drive the next phase of the company’s growth, and build shareholder value in the coming years.”

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Of late, Kristin Dolan founded and ran audience measurement and data analytics firm 605. The executive has served as a member of AMC Networks board of directors as well as on the board of directors of another James Dolan-run firm, Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. ., since 2011. Previously she had spent nearly two decades at Cablevision, including as chief operating officer.

James Dolan said of his wife’s appointment to the role, “With her considerable experience and knowledge of the company, Kristin is the ideal person to lead AMC Networks into its next chapter as we navigate this transformative period in the industry.”

On Nov. 29, the firm made the surprise announcement that Spade “has stepped down from her role” without giving details about the reason. The news came as a shock as she had only taken over the top role as of Sept. 9. Later that day, James Dolan sent a memo to staff, forecasting “a large-scale layoff as well as cuts to every operating area.” He explained: “It was our belief that cord-cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming. This has not been the case.” Reports estimated that up to 20 percent of staff could be hit by job cuts.

Spade previously served as CFO of AMC Networks since 2021 and later added the title of chief operating officer. Prior to that, she held senior roles at ViacomCBS (now known as Paramount Global), CBS Corp. and Showtime. In August, the media company had unveiled her as the successor for interim CEO Matt Blank, a former Showtime Networks CEO. Blank replaced longtime boss Josh Sapan, who had in August 2021 announced his change to the executive vice chairman role after a 26-year run.

Spade’s employment agreement was set to run through the end of 2025. A source recently told The Hollywood Reporter that Dolan has been concerned about the state of the media and entertainment business and ended up in some disagreement with Spade and stepped in.

AMC Networks has often been seen as a takeover target for entertainment or technology giants, because of its relative lack of scale, while management has argued that the company was doing well by focusing on niche streaming services, often emphasizing the benefits of going it alone as a more focused company.

Alex Weprin contributed to this report.

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