In what has to be considered a shock, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Kevin Tsujihara has been named CEO of Warner Bros. replacing Barry Meyer and beating out TV head Bruce Rosenblum and film head Jeff Robinov, The three has been locked in an internal battle to see who could outlast who, and Bewkes went with the far less known Tsujihara. Nikki Finke has some of the gory details, which seem as intent on causing Rosenblum and Robinov’s privates to shrink to post-icy-dip size as much as business considerations:
Time Warner Chairman/CEO Jeff Bewkes just destabilized Warner Bros in a big way with today’s shockingly unexpected announcement. I actually heard about this two weeks ago from a source – and I didn’t believe it. That’s not a knock on Kevin Tsujihara’s ability. But no way Bewkes could ignore the fact that Bruce Rosenblum’s Warner Bros TV accounts for 50% of overall Warner Bros. But Bewkes did. In fact, insiders tell me that Bewkes further humiliated Rosenblum and Warner Bros Film topper Jeff Robinov by not telling them about the choice of Tsujihara. I understand they had to hear about it at the last minute late last week from outgoing Barry Meyer.
But you know, that’s how they roll in Hollywood.
According to this very informative LA Times story by Meg James Tsujihara won out in part because he turned out to be a superior manager, with a low key manner that fit in with Bewkes goal of a more genteel executive style. In his current role, Tsujihara oversees not only home entertainment but digital.
As for how this will affect DC, you’ll hear a lot of Kremlinologist theories in the next few days, but at least Tsujihara has a good idea of what DC does: he ran the division for a while in the ’00s, personally overseeing Paul Levitz and ordering such things as the hiring of Gregory Noveck and the position once held by Steve Rotterdam. Under Tsujihara the home entertainment division also began turning out an ongoing and well received series of direct to DVD animated DC movies, as well.
In fact, you could argue that he’s had better success at leveraging the DC Comics brand than Robinov has at the film studio.
Tsujihara’s inside knowledge of DC could have a huge impact on the film studio. Certainly getting the DC film slate up and running to counter Disney’s running the table with Marvel has to be high on the priority list for anyone at Warner Bros.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.