Time Warner’s Bewkes Bullish on TV Production Business

Feb 4, 2009  •  Post A Comment

It’s tough times for much of the television business, but Time Warner Chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes likes the TV production business.
“We feel very good about the TV production business,” Mr. Bewkes said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call with analysts. “It’s a high-profit business It’s actually lower risk than the film side of the business.”
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Mr. Bewkes said that while the broadcast networks have their own TV studios and are producing more of their shows in-house, there is plenty of opportunity for the company’s Warner Bros. TV unit.
“We’re basically the supplier of second choice to all four broadcast networks after they buy it from themselves, and this enables us to attract the best talent and make the best
shows because the talent knows that they have a shot at essentially being seen by all the four main network buyers,” he said.
Warner Bros. TV produced 21 primetime series during this TV season, 15 returning shows and six new series. Five of those shows are among the top 20 in primetime, he said.
Most of those shows are profitable just from domestic and international first-run license fees, he said. On top of that comes home video and syndication revenues.
Producing shows for cable is a growing opportunity, Mr. Bewkes said.
“Production of original series for cable, like ‘Nip/Tuck’ for FX, like ‘The Closer’ for TNT, is an increasingly attractive business for us,” he said.
(Editor: Baumann)


  1. Psst . . . ask Bewkes about Warner Bros. Animation. Apparently, the opportunities doesn’t extend to that unit. Unless, of course, by opportunities, that means the myriad of new or continuing WBA-produced series.
    And by myriad, I mean one. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is the ONLY original series on the air from Warner Bros. Animation.
    And also, Bewkes can’t count. There are FIVE English-language commercial broadcast networks. Unless he knows something about The CW that we don’t . . .

  2. Sure, but the CW’s buying is still ultimately done by CBS, and MyTV (which you left out) answers of course to Fox, so his statement is technically correct: the main number of buyers is four.

  3. Thurston: Bewkes said the “four main” networks. These days, NBC barely counts … and the CW is a pathetic joke.

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