NBC exec Jennifer Salke named head of Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios has finally found a replacement for Roy Price after the executive stepped down in mid-October over sexual harassment claims. Jennifer Salke will be filling in the top spot at the online studio after serving for six years as NBC’s Entertainment President.

“We are thrilled to announce that Jennifer Salke will be joining us as the Head of Amazon Studios,” Amazon said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “Jen brings with her a long and impressive track record in the entertainment industry — and we are excited to have her join Amazon.”

Salke steps in at a particularly tumultuous time for the Studio. While Amazon’s had its share of critical darlings including Transparent and the new series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the service essentially cleaned house after Price’s exit, putting the kibosh on One Mississippi, I Love Dick and Jean-Claude Van Johnson, a comedy vehicle for 90s action star Jean-Claude Van Damme that had only recently launched.

At the time, the service was reportedly making a shift toward more mainstream fare under marching orders from Jeff Bezos, rather than the award fodder the company had previously focused on. Hiring a top executive from a NBC certainly appears to confirm that direction. Though Salke also fostered some critical darlings during her time, including, notably, The Good Place and perennial tear-jerker, This Is Us.

Salke’s new role finds her reporting to Amazon SVP Jeff Blackburn. “What stood out about Jen was the deep relationships she has nurtured with creators and talent over her career, spanning NBCU, Twentieth Century Fox, and Aaron Spelling Productions,” Blackburn says in the statement. “She’s built an impeccable reputation as a big leader who emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.”  

As the head of the studio, Salke will be tasked with overseeing both scripted series and film projects for Amazon.

“I’m incredibly excited about the future at Amazon Studios.  In the studio’s relatively short existence they have innovated, disrupted, and created characters that are already an indelible part of pop-culture,” Salke says, “NBC has been an amazing home – creatively, professionally and personally – and I leave there knowing that the work we did had groundbreaking impact.”