AMC Networks Entertainment President Sarah Barnett Stepping Down

After 12 years at the company, she’ll leave in September

Sarah Barnett
Sarah Barnett said she is leaving AMC Networks because 'it is the right time for me to follow my curiosity.' Getty Images
Headshot of Jason Lynch

AMC Networks is looking for a new entertainment chief.

Sarah Barnett, AMC Networks Entertainment Group president, will be leaving the company after Labor Day, she said today.

After her exit, the company’s entertainment networks—AMC/AMC+, BBC America, IFC and Sundance TV—and AMC Studios will report to COO Ed Carroll on an interim basis.

“This is a year that has confronted us with radical change on multiple fronts,” said Barnett in a statement. “After a lot of consideration—and with a slightly breaking heart—I have decided that it is the right time for me to follow my curiosity and leave things in the very capable hands of the outstanding team at AMC Networks.”

Barnett arrived at AMC Networks in 2008, after the company bought what was then known as Sundance Channel, as svp of marketing. She was elevated to president and gm a year later, overseeing the network as it expanded into the scripted space. In 2014, Barnett was named president and gm of BBC America.

Four years later, in 2018, Barnett was promoted to entertainment networks president following the exit of Charlie Collier, who is now Fox Entertainment CEO, and added AMC Studios to her purview a year ago.

In her role, Barnett expanded The Walking Dead universe (the latest spinoff, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, will air in October, after its spring premiere was delayed due to Covid-19), and began simulcasting the portfolio’s shows across multiple networks, including BBC America’s breakout Killing Eve, which also began airing on AMC last year.

“Sarah is one of the most versatile executives I have had the pleasure of working with—expert at programming, branding and team building, all with an eye toward the business of a rapidly changing entertainment landscape,” said Carroll in a statement. “She is also a truly progressive leader. We will miss her at AMC Networks.”

Barnett’s exit comes as ad sales chief Kim Kelleher is engaged in her first upfront negotiations for the company, after arriving last September.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.