AMC Networks has appointed COO and CFO Christina Spade as its new CEO, succeeding Matt Blank, who has held the role in an interim capacity since last September.
Patrick O’Connell, previously a senior executive at CBS Corp and Goldman Sachs, has in turn been named Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, reporting to Spade.
AMC Networks operates cable channels such as AMC, plus streaming services AMC+, Sundance Now and Acorn TV. Spade will lead them all from September 9 when she steps into the new role.
Today’s development marks a fast rise for Spade at AMC Networks. She has been with the New York-headquartered operations since January 2021, where she joined as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and took on a dual role as CFO and COO in November last year.
During that time, she has worked under Blank, who was named interim CEO last September as previous Chief Exec and President Josh Sapan moved to an Executive Vice Chairman position. While the network is known for launching influential cable hits such as Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead and Mad Men, Showtime veteran Blank has focused heavily on building out the streaming business, which currently has an aggregate of 10.8 million subscribers and is expecting to hit 20-25 million in 2025.
The hire comes at a time of change for AMC Networks. The Walking Dead franchise is moving into a new era, with the original series set to end after its next tranche of episodes and several spin-off series launching. Anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead is due to land on August 14, while series featuring fan favourites Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie Green (Lauren Cohan), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are forthcoming. Newer series include Moonhaven, Dark Winds and This is Going to Hurt and upcoming titles include Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.
Blank said: “It’s been a pleasure to lead AMC Networks in this interim role, in particular working alongside Chris and the talented team to help develop the company’s direct-to-consumer businesses and strong pipeline of high-quality content. Chris is a strong, versatile leader whom I’ve known and worked closely with for more than 20 years, and I know she’ll bring her strong business and leadership skills, and passion for this company, to her new role.”
AMC Networks Chairman James Dolan said: “I want to thank Matt for his leadership over the past year and for the changes he’s brought about in the company and best positioning us for our further pivot into streaming. I’m delighted that Chris is taking over as our new CEO. She is a proven leader with a long track record driving transformative change in media and entertainment and I am confident she has the expertise and vision to guide AMC Networks to greater success.”
Spade said: “I am honored to assume the role of CEO. I’m a fan of this company in every respect, its content, brands, and most importantly, its people and dynamic and inclusive culture. I’m grateful for the support of Jim, our Board of Directors and Matt, and I look forward to working with the strong team here to unlock the rich opportunities that lie ahead.”
Before AMC Networks, Spade was Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of ViacomCBS and before that held the same role CBS Corp. She also performed similar duties for Showtime Networks, spending a total of 21 years in the business overall.