AMC Networks names James Dolan interim executive chairman

As AMC Networks works to replace former chief executive Christina Spade, its board of directors has named James Dolan interim executive chairman of the company.

AMC Networks announced the appointment Monday, shortly after Spade’s abrupt exit last week. As interim chairman, Dolan will have strategic oversight of the company until a new CEO is named. Dolan, current chairman of the board, won’t receive a pay bump for serving as executive chair, according to an 8-K filed with the SEC.

“AMC Networks has a seasoned executive leadership team and I look forward to working with them to provide high-level strategic direction and guidance as we navigate the business during this period of transformation in the media industry,” Dolan said in a statement.

Dolan will stay in the role until a new CEO is chosen or through March 6, 2023, whichever happens first.

Spade stepped down from the chief executive spot in late November less than three months after taking the helm in September. She replaced Matt Blank, who had served as interim CEO for roughly a year following the exit of long-time chief executive Josh Sapan in August 2021.

Spade, a former ViacomCBS executive, was previously CFO at AMC.

The same day as Spade's departure was announced, news surfaced that AMC plans to cut around 20% of its U.S.-based employees as it looks to stem linear losses in a pivot to streaming.

In SEC filings last week the company said it anticipates between $350 million and $475 million in pre-tax restructuring charges, including $50 million - $75 million for severance and retention.  

AMC's business includes its namesake cable network, among others, as well as streaming services AMC+, Acorn TV, and Shudder.

In the third quarter AMC saw net revenue decline 16% year over year to $682 million in part due to lower affiliate and advertising revenues.