As John Wildhack Exits, ESPN Lays Out Programming, Production Executive Team
As EVP of Programming and Production John Wildhack prepares to leave ESPN this month to become Athletic Director at his alma mater, Syracuse University, ESPN has has named five executives to lead the wide-ranging areas comprising its Programming and Production efforts. Each of these individuals will now report to ESPN President John Skipper and the new roles are effective immediately.
In addition to her current college production duties, Stephanie Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice President, Event & Studio Production, will take over responsibility for ESPN’s remote production portfolio including studio shows directly connected to those events such as NFL and MLB. Stephanie, who was instrumental in the launch of the SEC Network, will split her time between the Charlotte and Bristol production facilities.
Rob King, Senior Vice President, SportsCenter and News will continue oversight of ESPN’s most important franchise. Rob and his team have implemented many new approaches to SportsCenter on all platforms. ESPN is presenting 5,000 hours of SportsCenter this year, a key component of the sports industry’s most comprehensive news-gathering operation.
Burke Magnus will continue in his role as Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, responsible for all of the company’s program acquisitions and rights holder relations, and scheduling the unparalleled 50,000 hours of programming ESPN’s networks air each year.
Connor Schell, Senior Vice President, ESPN Films and Original Content, who in addition to overseeing ESPN Films, The ESPYs, and the ESPN afternoon block–including PTI, ATH, HQ and SportsNation–will add responsibility for the production of the ESPN2 daytime lineup, including First Take, His & Hers and Mike & Mike. Additionally, he will assume management of NBA studio shows, ESPN Audio and the Talent Office. Connor will split his time among New York, Bristol and Los Angeles.
Norby Williamson, Executive Vice President, Production will continue to oversee Production Operations, Remote Operations, Stats and Information, Creative and Studio Direction, ESPN International Production (with Tim Bunnell) and ESPN Deportes production. He will add oversight of Production and Media Sponsorship Integration and an “at-large” creative television role to assist each of his colleagues in their new or expanded roles to develop new initiatives and enhance all of ESPN’s existing programming.
Skipper commented: “My focus remains on three primary initiatives critical to ESPN’s growth and future success: working with our entire senior management team to navigate the changes in our industry; ensuring that our overall content portfolio remains the best in the business; and firmly establishing throughout the company the next generation of ESPN leadership. Today’s announcement is an important step responsive to each of them and demonstrates a key advantage for ESPN – a deep bench of strong executive talent. Each of these individuals is a proven leader, and each has demonstrated tremendous dexterity and creativity in developing and presenting the compelling content that is our hallmark. Working together, they will ensure that ESPN continues to serve our fans and grow the business.”