After some consideration, Mike Darnell has decided to leave Warner Bros. Discovery after a decade-long run as President of Unscripted Television.
“Letting yourself go is always difficult… I took a deep breath, called myself on Zoom, and told myself it was time to leave. I took it surprisingly well. Actually, Channing approached me a couple of months ago, and although I was given the opportunity to stay… it would have meant more changes for both my personal deal and to the general structure of the division,” said Darnell.
Mike Darnell worked on a vast number of hit series totaling over 50,000 hours of television during his career so far, as reported by Deadline. Some lasting fan favorites created under his leadership include The Voice, The Bachelor, the Friends reunion, and The Jennifer Hudson Show. All in all, he contributed to the debuts of hundreds of unscripted series across a multitude of streaming and cable channels.
“When Mike joined Warner Bros. in 2013, he was already an industry legend – one of the most influential figures in the history of unscripted programming. In his 10 years with WBTVG, he truly supercharged the unscripted department by more than doubling the series output, making Warner Bros. the top unscripted studio in America for seven straight years. Mike oversaw an all-star lineup of the top unscripted properties in the business, and his record of success is unparalleled,” said Channing Dungey, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Television Group.
Before his time at Warner Bros. Discovery, Darnell worked at Fox for nearly two decades bringing about such shows as So You Think You Can Dance?, MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen, American Idol, Temptation Island, Family Guy, and Futurama.
He says new opportunities have presented themselves to him during negotiations with Warner Bros. CEO Channing Dungey and he is ready to see where these prospects lead him.
“Call it fate, or just good timing, during my discussions with Channing, a couple of new ventures have come my way… even so, deciding to leave was difficult. (Those who know me know I am not a fan of change.) I want to thank my amazing studio team. I am, of course, going to miss everybody… not the least of which is Channing… I couldn’t ask for a more supportive boss, first class all the way,” said Mike Darnell.
Darnell will be staying on for a few more months to ease the transition. No new president has been announced or discussed so whether the role continues after his departure is yet to be determined.
In response, Channing Dungey said, “I had hoped we would continue to work together, but I understand Mike’s decision to leave. If there’s such a thing as a genius in this business, Mike definitely qualifies. I am incredibly grateful for his inspired leadership, both in the industry and within the company, and for his warm friendship and unforgettable style. We’re losing a legend and an icon, one of the most creative executives in the industry, and he will be well and truly missed.”