Michael Wright has been promoted to executive vice president, head of programming, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) as part of a restructuring of the networks’ programming division. Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, said Wright will continue to be based in Los Angeles, overseeing all original programming for TBS, TNT and TCM. His added duties now include oversight of program planning and scheduling for TBS and TNT.
Koonin also announced the promotions of Phil Oppenheim to senior vice president, program planning and scheduling, TBS and TNT, and Lillah McCarthy to senior vice president, original programming, TBS and TNT. Both will both report to Wright.
“Michael Wright has proven himself to be one of the most talented executives in the industry, solidifying TNT and TBS’s reputations as major players when it comes to original programming,” Koonin said. “By bringing the rest of the programming division under his supervision, we will be able to maximize the full strength of our portfolio and maintain a consistent creative and strategic approach to our programming decisions.”
“I feel incredibly fortunate to work with a company like Turner and to have the kind of job that makes me excited to come to the office everyday,” Wright said. “I get to work with amazingly talented people, both within and outside the company, and these new responsibilities will allow us to all work together that much more effectively as we bring more great programming to our networks.”
Michael Wright has been serving as senior vice president in charge of Turner Entertainment Networks’ Content Creation Group, responsible for all original programming for TNT, including The Closer, ad-supported cable’s #1 series of all time; the critically acclaimed Saving Grace, starring Oscar®-winner Holly Hunter; Raising the Bar, the new Steven Bochco drama that set an ad-supported cable record as the most watched series launch of all time; Leverage, the brand-new series starring Oscar® winner Timothy Hutton that launched this past weekend with 5 million viewers and the network’s best delivery ever of adults 18-49 for a series telecast during the broadcast season; and the upcoming series Trust Me, with Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh. Wright also oversees original programming for TBS, including The Bill Engvall Show, which finished its first year as ad-supported cable’s #1 original sitcom among adults 25-54; the critically acclaimed sitcom My Boys; and the late-night series Frank TV and 10 Items or Less. Wright has also been responsible for original specials on TBS and TNT, original programming ventures for TCM and original content for digital extensions for all three networks.
Wright joined the company in 2002 to head TNT’s original programming division. Under his auspices, the network scored major triumphs with such original films as the multiple-Emmy®-winning Door to Door, The Ron Clark Story and The Librarian; multi-part events that included Into the West, The Company, The Grid and Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King; and specials like the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the annual Christmas in Washington. Wright began overseeing TBS original programming in 2005 and added TCM original programming to his duties in 2007.
Prior to his work for Turner Entertainment Networks, Wright served as vice president of movies and miniseries for CBS Productions and CBS Entertainment. During his tenure there, he supervised production of some of CBS’ highest-rated and acclaimed television movies, including The Long Way Home, The Marriage Fool, the Peabody Award-winning Sharing the Secret and the live, Emmy-nominated production of On Golden Pond, with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from the UCLA College of Fine Arts.
Phil Oppenheim has been serving as vice president of programming for TNT and TBS, where he has been extensively involved in various aspects of programming, from strategy to acquisition selection to scheduling. His duties have also included new media/Internet development for the networks. Previously, he was vice president of programming for TNT, working his way up from the positions of program executive and program coordinator, as well as editor of the TNT program guide. He was also instrumental in helping launch TCM, as well as the European versions of TNT. Oppenheim came to the company in 1989 from Emory University and Georgia State University, where he served as an instructor of literature and film studies.
Lillah McCarthy joined TBS and TNT in 2006 and has been serving as vice president of series programming for the networks, focusing on the development and production of new comedy series for TBS and new drama series for TNT. She oversaw the development of such series as TNT’s Saving Grace, Raising the Bar, Leverage and Trust Me, as well as TBS’s The Bill Engvall Show and Frank TV. She previously served as an original series consultant and was instrumental in the development of TNT’s hit drama The Closer and TBS’s critically acclaimed comedy series My Boys. Her past jobs include serving as executive producer of the series Early Edition and Charlie Hoover, as well as numerous television pilots; working as a current-programming executive at ABC and later as senior vice president of series programming for FOX, where she was involved in the development and production of such series as The Simpsons, Married…With Children, Alien Nation and 21 Jump Street. She has also directed half-hour multi-camera television comedies, run her own literary and talent management company and served as executive vice president for Kopelson Productions, where she supervised television development for the company.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.