Newdcuniverse-1
Via PR:

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (WBEI) has created DC Entertainment Inc., a new company founded to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms, to be run by Diane Nelson, it was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, and Alan Horn, President & COO, Warner Bros.

DC Entertainment, a separate division of WBEI, will be charged with strategically integrating the DC Comics business, brand and characters deeply into Warner Bros. Entertainment and all its content and distribution businesses. DC Entertainment, which will work with each of the Warner Bros. divisions, will also tap into the tremendous expertise the Studio has in building and sustaining franchises and prioritize DC properties as key titles and growth drivers across all of the Studio, including feature films, television, interactive entertainment, direct-to-consumer platforms and consumer products. The DC Comics publishing business will remain the cornerstone of DC Entertainment, releasing approximately 90 comic books through its various imprints and 30 graphic novels a month and continuing to build on its creative leadership in the comic book industry.

In her new role, Nelson will report to Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in order to best capitalize on DC Entertainment’s theatrical development and production activities and their importance to drive its overall business with each of the divisions of Warner Bros.

Nelson will bring her expertise and more than 20 years’ experience in creative brand management, strategic marketing and content development and production to ensuring DC Entertainment’s dual mission of marshalling Warner Bros.’ resources to maximize the potential of the DC brand while remaining respectful of and collaborative with creators, talent, fans and source material. Additionally, Nelson will continue to oversee the franchise management of the Harry Potter property, which she has done since 2000, and also continue to represent the Studio’s interests with the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling. Nelson will segue from her post as President, Warner Premiere but maintain oversight responsibilities of that division. (An executive succession plan for Warner Premiere will be announced shortly.)

Paul Levitz, who has served as President & Publisher of DC Comics since 2002, will segue from that role to return to his roots as a writer for DC and become a contributing editor and overall consultant to DCE. This transition will take place as expeditiously as possible without disrupting DC’s business operations.

In his new role, Levitz will be called upon for his deep knowledge and more than three-decade history with DC Comics, both as a comic creator and an executive. Besides serving as a writer on a number of DC Comics titles, he will be a contributing editor and consultant to DC Entertainment on projects in various media. Additionally, he will consult as needed on the transition and integration of the DC Comics organization into DC Entertainment and will utilize his unique experience, knowledge and relationships with the comics industry’s creative community to help achieve DC Entertainment’s goal of maximizing the value of DC properties. Further, Levitz will advise DC Entertainment on creative and rights-holder relationships, in particular regarding the legacy relationships that have been a part of DC Comics for decades.

Widely recognized and respected for his support of writers, artists and creators in the comics industry, Levitz is best known creatively for his work with DC Comics, having written most of the classic DC characters, including Batman, Wonder Woman and the Superman newspaper strip. At Comicon International in 2008, Levitz was awarded the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award as part of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the only industry executive ever so honored.

“DC Comics and its super hero characters are truly touchstones of popular culture, and the formation of DC Entertainment is a major step in our company’s efforts to realize the full potential of this incredible wellspring of creative properties,” said Meyer. “Diane knows our studio as a creative executive, a marketer and a senior manager, and this varied background will help her effectively and creatively integrate the DC brand and properties across all our businesses. We’re also thrilled that Paul will remain involved with DC and we’ll be able to tap his expertise to help us reach our goals for this new business.”

“It’s no secret that DC has myriad rich and untapped possibilities from its deep library of iconic and lesser-known characters,” said Horn. “While we’ve had great success in films and television, the formation of DC Entertainment will help us to bring more DC properties across additional platforms to fans around the world, while maintaining brand integrity and authenticity. Diane is a terrific choice to lead DC Entertainment, and with Paul in his new role as a valued consultant and contributing editor, both our company and comic fans win.”

“Based on the great success we’ve had working with DC Comics to create some of the most popular and successful super hero films of all time, I’ve long believed that there was much more we could do across all of Warner Bros.’ businesses with this great body of characters and stories,” said Robinov. “The prioritization of DC and the creation of DC Entertainment is a great opportunity that reaches far beyond the film group. There are endless creative possibilities to build upon the many significant successes already achieved by my colleagues Kevin Tsujihara and the Home Entertainment Group in the videogame, home video and direct-to-platform arenas and Bruce Rosenblum and the Television Group in live-action, animated and digital series. Collectively, we have the ability to grow a body of properties highlighting the iconic characters and the diversity of the creative output of DC Comics.”

“The founding of DC Entertainment fully recognizes our desire to provide both the DC properties and fans the type of content that is only possible through a concerted cross-company, multi-platform effort,” said Nelson. “DC Entertainment will help us to formally take the great working relationships between DC Comics and various Warner Bros. businesses to the next level in order to maximize every opportunity to bring DC’s unrivalled collection of titles and characters to life.”

“After so many roles at DC, it’s exciting to look forward to focusing on my writing and being able to remain a part of the company I love as it grows into its next stage,” said Levitz.  “It’s a new golden age for comics and DC’s great characters, and I hope my new position will allow me to contribute to that magic time.”

DC Comics will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2010 (NEW FUN COMICS #1, the first DC comic, began publishing in 1935), at which time more explicit details regarding DC Entertainment’s corporate and management structure, film and content release slate, creative roster and business objectives will be unveiled at a multi-faceted anniversary celebration and press conference in the first quarter of the year.

Current DC properties in development and/or production at Warner Bros. Entertainment include:
– “Human Target” is being produced by Warner Bros. Television for a mid-season debut on Fox.

– “Midnight Mass” is in series development at Warner Bros. Television for consideration for the 2010-11 season.

– “Jonah Hex,” Warner Bros. Pictures’ supernatural Western starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich, recently wrapped production in Louisiana.

– “The Losers,” Dark Castle/Warner Bros. Pictures’ action-adventure drama starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans, began principal photography mid-July in Puerto Rico.

– “The Green Lantern,” Warner Bros. Pictures’ next big superhero tentpole release, recently cast Ryan Reynolds as the titular character.  The film has a projected second quarter 2011 release date.

– “Lobo,” based on the DC Comics anti-hero, has Guy Ritchie attached as a director; Joel Silver, Akiva Goldsman and Andrew Rona are producing for Silver Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.

– Warner Premiere’s direct-to-platform DVD animated release of “Green Lantern: First Flight” debuted July 28.

– Warner Bros. Animation currently produces “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” which airs on Cartoon Network.

– Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released “Batman: Arkham Asylum” on August 25, a dark, action packed videogame adventure for Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system and Games for Windows.

Prior to being named President, DC Entertainment, Nelson most recently served as President, Warner Premiere since its founding in 2006. Warner Premiere is a Studio-based production company which develops and produces high-quality, direct-to-DVD and short-form digital content, including the highly successful line of DC Universe animated DVD titles, and also pioneered the development of the motion comics category. Under Nelson’s leadership, Warner Premiere functions as a full-service production entity with its own resources and release schedule, furthering the Studio’s mandate of being a destination for both established and up-and-coming talent to create stand-alone properties as well as experiment in new media.

Before that, Nelson served as Executive Vice President, Global Brand Management, Warner Bros. Entertainment, with the primary responsibility of working cross-divisionally and throughout Time Warner to maximize and optimize all the various windows and outlets available to the Studio’s signature franchises, brands and event properties on a global basis. In this post, Nelson’s primary focus was the management of the Harry Potter brand, which she has overseen since the brand’s launch at the Studio in 1999. These efforts have helped drive the success of the brand to become the most successful film franchise of all time, as well as a respected consumer property that has generated billions of dollars for the Studio.

At Global Brand Management, Nelson and her team of more than 15 employees worked in all media and platforms to support a number of other key franchise properties, including “The Matrix Reloaded,” “The Matrix Revolutions,” “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “Happy Feet,” “Polar Express” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” among others.

Prior to overseeing Global Brand Management, Nelson had served as Executive Vice President, Domestic Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures. Nelson rose quickly through the ranks, having also served as Senior Vice President, Domestic Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures and prior to that, Senior Vice President, Family Entertainment, Warner Bros. Corporate Worldwide Marketing and Planning. She was also Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Promotions, a post to which she was promoted in March 1998, after joining the Studio in September 1996 as Director of Worldwide Corporate Promotions.

Nelson came to the Studio from Walt Disney Records, where she served as Director of National Promotions. She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well, I have to say that they told Levitz that he was no longer needed there about as nicely as a corporation could.

    SRS

  2. Well I said as much when you announced Nelson and was slapped down for not play nice on The Beat. It’s what I have been saying for the last two years “good riddance” and they should kick Beelzebub” (Bob) out too!

  3. This seems to me more like (whether he likes or not) Levitz winning. He’s positioned DC as a developer of intellectual properties that the larger company can capitalize on, and now they are finally paying attention.

    This is what it looks like when they pay attention.

  4. And the times, they are a-changin’…

    I hope this means that Paul Levitz will be taking over the writing gig for the Legion of Super-Heroes, now that it’s been announced that Geoff Johns is leaving ADVENTURE COMICS with #6.

  5. This seems to me more like (whether he likes or not) Levitz winning.

    Given how he left, it’s hard to reach that conclusion. When an executive in a position like Levitz’s leaves voluntarily, he chooses the time and chooses his successor. If he’d wanted to write comics, he could have easily rearranged his duties to make the time available.

    SRS

  6. Soooo what I’m seeing here, essentially, is “synergy”, right? Basically this sounds like this only affects the business side of things, not so much the comics or the fans.

  7. This is what happens when the already broken-in-half comics internet (from the Disney-Marvel story) once again breaks in half (quarters?). Shoulda stayed in math class.

    I *knew* the “Paul Levitz is staying around” part of the previous announcement was pure bunkola.

  8. A couple of things…

    1) It’s good to see that Warner is keeping Mr. Levitz on staff.

    2) I wonder if Ms. Nelson will be the new Jennette Kahn? Having Mr. Levitz on her team will certainly be a big plus.

    3) I saw this announced on a couple of websites but I had to read it here at The Beat. Not looking for brownie points. Just saying. It means more coming from Heidi and the gang.

  9. I’m sure Paul Levitz will be taken care of (financially speaking), and we get to now enjoy his writing which I’ve missed for far to long. 37 years in the comic book business in these times is remarkable.

    Paul, looking forward to reading you in the funny pages.

    All the best

  10. Mark Engblom gloated:

    “I *knew* the “Paul Levitz is staying around” part of the previous announcement was pure bunkola. ”

    Except…no. Levitz is staying around. He’s still employed by the company and will “…return to his roots as a writer for DC and become a contributing editor and overall consultant to DCE.”

    So, wrong, Mark, he is staying around. Says so right in the article.

  11. Synsider said:

    “If he’d wanted to write comics, he could have easily rearranged his duties to make the time available.”

    Levitz has stated, even recently, that his duties as publisher kept him too busy to write. At a corporate level, I don’t think he had the leeway to adjust his schedule to open up writing time, something he may have been able to do at a smaller publisher.

  12. So, wrong, Mark, he is staying around. Says so right in the article.

    The “Levitz is staying on; no, he’s not” stuff that Nikki Finke described makes it clear that if Levitz had stayed on as an executive, he would have had less power and influence. I take it you’ve never been in the position of accepting a demotion simply to stay with your employer.

    SRS

  13. “I take it you’ve never been in the position of accepting a demotion simply to stay with your employer.”

    Nope. Never been demoted.

    Back to Levitz. As can be seen at Nikki Finke’s site, stories can be found to be incomplete, even after many updates. That’s the nature of listening to anonymous sources.

    As Levitz has spoken many times over recent years of his desire to write more, perhaps he saw this as an opportunity to make the move. Many people speculating on the news want so desperately to see that Levitz was forced out that they can’t see the possibility that Levitz opted out.

    And it may be revealed in the near future that Levitz was forced out, but until the day he says it was, it is only idle rumor mongering to assume he was.

  14. I really wouldn’t say Levitz is leaving. He still sounds like he’s pretty high up there. Plus as many have said, this sounds more flexible for what he wants to do and can serve DC better like this.

    And.. wow.. I guess this is a smart move to oil the cogs between DC and its parent company. I know I haven’t enjoyed DC’s interactions and adaptations. Hopefully this means fewer foul ups like Catwoman and Superman Returns. Though the writing was rather on the wall when Nelson was put into place.

    Meanwhile.. with Nelson’s Harry Potter connection… Is Harry coming to DC? A crossover with Tim Hunter? :3 Snape kills Batman? :P

    Also, it’s pretty neat, for Heidi too I’m guessing, that Midnight Mass is listed alongside Green Lantern.

  15. Holy crap! I don’t check in on the internet for a long weekend, and miss the end of an era!

    Best of luck to Mr. Levitz, one of my favorite superhero writers from my youth, and a publisher who truly loves comics, and who probably kept the industry from goign belly up after Heroes world and the Marvel bankruptcy. You will be missed as a publisher, but you will be welcomed as a writer again!

  16. “It was not Paul’s decision to leave at this time.”

    I didn’t see that anywhere. Did you get that from an insider?

  17. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=22881

    Paul Levitz: The original plan was for me to get out of here before Jeanette [Khan, who stepped down as President & Editor-In-Chief of DC Comics in 2002]. Originally the plan was I was going to hire a replacement whom I would break in, and then that person would aspire to taking [Jeanette’s] job when she was ready to leave and I would go off and write and teach and do some of the things I wanted to do. That plan didn’t quite work out as originally intended, as you may have noticed, and I’ve been kind of wandering around ever since saying, “I want to get to the writing and teaching one of these days, guys! The hair’s gray now!”

  18. I have faith in Diane’s talent and expertise, have no faith whatsoever in Robinov’s and am sad that Levitz’ legacy is at an apparent end. :(

  19. Paul Levitz: The original plan was for me to get out of here before. . .

    Sorry, but if you think that the statement refutes the idea that Levitz didn’t step down voluntarily, you have no idea of how corporate politics work. Appearances are everything. If Levitz said anything to the effect that he was forced out by a corporate restructuring, he’d be regarded as a traitor and his reputation would be mud.

    Corporate executives have to be politicians. The job makes that an absolute requirement.

    SRS

  20. “Okay, Synsider, show me the proof that Levitz was forced out. Please. ”

    As I said on another thread – who can tell either way? However, the way that corp speak press releases are being taken as truth is charmingly naive as well.

  21. Anybody else notice that Paul Levitz didn’t get demoted so much as have his job title just disappear out from under him?

    DC Entertainment doesn’t need a “Publisher” anymore. It’s basically an IP studio now, and what it needs is a studio head with experience in the greater Time Warner universe.

    This is the sort of thing you would have expected to happen when DC first became part of Time Warner, and the only reason it’s happening now is because it’s probably saving them a lot of money somehow which is essential in these economically troubling times. Another reason for “why now?” is last summer’s movie blockbuster stand-outs Dark Knight and Iron Man. Time Warner execs finally screamed “There’s GOOOOOLD in them thar hills!!!!!” and now this.

    but that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  22. Will someone please pull the knives out of the back of Paul Levitz?! He was doing a fine job as President and Publisher of DC and Warner was doing just great in the Licensing market. Diane Nelson did an excellent job with her branding position as well, but what experience does she have in publishing. Paul started out as a comic fan and rose to the pinnacle status at one of the top two publishers. I’m sorry but I question Diane Nelson’s understanding and the multi faceted details involved in comic book publishing. However, the objective of Warner is the same as Disney. To greater capitalize on the financial growth potential of his characters.

  23. “Anybody else notice that Paul Levitz didn’t get demoted so much as have his job title just disappear out from under him?”

    The publisher role still exists, one of the articles (somewhere) notes that they will be looking for someone to fill that role and answer to Nelson. My reading of this is that DC Comics still exists but as a *business unit* of DC entertainment – it’s not DC comics becomes DC entertainment as some seem to think it is.

  24. The evidence is the timing of the departure — as part of a reorganization that resulted in a new organizational chart and new people — and the wording of the press release, accompanied by such things as (But his reporting structure was going to change. Previously, he’d reported to Alan Horn). Here’s Alan Horn. That’s the same Horn mentioned in the first sentence of the press release above.

    Actually, the departure isn’t very different from a purely political change. When a new administration comes into power in Washington, it puts the people it wants into jobs. Even if an appointee had been doing his job well, he understands that it’s time to leave unless he’s explicitly asked to stay on.

    I’m also very used to see such things happen. I spent more than nine years at Sprint Corp. on an internal newsletter covering telecommunications and computer technology news. Corporate restructurings and acquisitions were routine occurrences, and always resulted in people leaving. I summarized dozens of articles about such events; the wording of the corporate announcements was similar to the point of being boilerplate.

    SRS

  25. “The publisher role still exists, one of the articles (somewhere) notes that they will be looking for someone to fill that role and answer to Nelson.”

    Ok, then, but it’s probably not the same job. It’s a “yes man” job now with a desk and a name plate, but it looks clear to me that Nelson will be the one doing most of what Levitz used to do. They’re not gonna get rid of a guy who fills two roles–President and Publisher–and then replace him with two people–one President and one Publisher–and have it be essentially the same. A corporation doesn’t have two people do the job of one it has one person do the job of two. One difference is that Nelson already had a job so now she has two. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just add “Publisher” to one of the current DC execs’ titles as well.

    Okay.. if there’s one thing I’ve learned from current events it’s that there’s no point in arguing with anyone about anything. People who hate Levitz are going to shout that he was forced out and it’s time to party, and people who like Levitz are going to say he’s still an important part of the company and he’ll be writing comics again so it’s time to party. Truth is unimportant anymore, and when dealing with a corporate culture, truth is a foreign concept that has no place in business.

    Good luck to everybody involved.

  26. Does anybody actually know anything about Dianne Nelson?

    Short answer: No. Her specialty is brand management. She’s been steadily moving upward in Time Warner’s corporate hierarchy. Perhaps it’s appropriate that she once worked at Disney:

    Most recently, Nelson worked as Executive Vice President of global brand management and strategized worldwide distribution for franchises such as Harry Potter. Nelson came to Warner from Walt Disney Records, where she worked on the promotion and marketing of soundtracks.