Entertainment Giant Peter Roth Sets Exit from Warner Bros. Television Group

After 22 years, industry legend will step down early next year

peter roth
Roth's exit comes as WarnerMedia continues to undergo a broader restructuring. Getty Images, Warner Bros.
Headshot of Kelsey Sutton

Longtime Warner Bros. Television Group chairman Peter Roth will leave his role at the top of one of the most prolific television studios in the business at the beginning of next year.

Roth’s retirement, announced today by WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff, marks the end of an era for the company, which under Roth’s purview was responsible for iconic and beloved television series ranging from The West Wing to Gossip Girl and The Big Bang Theory.

His exit marks another high-profile departure from WarnerMedia as the studio continues to undergo belt-tightening and a broader transformation that centers the company’s entertainment future on streaming.

“Peter and I have been meeting for some time about this, and while there’s never a great moment to say goodbye, he felt that this was the right time to transition in a new leader for the group,” Sarnoff said in a statement. “He’s delivered hundreds of shows, thousands of episodes, millions of viewers, with one singular vision—to work with the best people and to make the best television series.

“In addition to being well respected by his colleagues and competitors, actors, writers, directors and producers, he is the force behind iconic, pop culture-defining television shows we all know and love, including The West Wing, The Big Bang Theory, Gilmore Girls, Two and a Half Men, Gossip Girl, Supernatural, The Flash and countless others. We’re thankful for his contributions to our company and wish him the very best.”

It also marks the end of an era for Warner Bros. Television Group, which was recently folded into a new Studios and Networks group at the company that encompasses all of its programming and content teams.  

Roth joined Warner Bros. in 1999 as president of Warner Bros. Television, where he quickly made his mark developing some of the longest-running and popular shows on television. Under his watch, the group developed and produced The Big Bang Theory, the longest-running multicamera comedy in TV history, as well as The West Wing, which prompted a reunion special for HBO Max, and Gossip Girl, which is in the process of being rebooted for the streaming service.

Other shows developed and produced under Roth’s watch include Arrow, The Closer, Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, The Mentalist, Nip/Tuck, Person of Interest, One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars, Shameless, Smallville, Supernatural, Two and a Half Men and The Vampire Diaries.

“Working at Warner Bros. has been the greatest, most meaningful, most rewarding experience of my career,” Roth said in a statement. “For the past 22 years, I have had the privilege to be associated with some of the most inspiring creative talent, the most impactful television series and the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever known.

“It has long been my dream to be able to say farewell at the right time in the right way and for the right reason,” he continued. “I’m grateful to Ann Sarnoff for giving me that opportunity and to my Warner Bros. colleagues, past and present, for giving me what has been the gift of a lifetime. I look forward to the next chapter of my career and remaining connected to those people who have meant so much to me.”

Roth’s mark on the television industry extends far beyond Warner Bros. itself. When he served as president of Fox Entertainment prior to joining Warner Bros., he was responsible for developing and programming shows like That ‘70s Show and Family Guy; in a prior role at president of production at Twentieth Network Television (now known as 20th Century Fox Television Productions), he oversaw development and sales of series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, King of the Hill and The X-Files. He began his career at ABC Television Network, where he first joined as manager of children’s programs.


@kelseymsutton kelsey.sutton@adweek.com Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.
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