In late December 2020, The E.W. Scripps Company appointed a television industry veteran with a surname matching its multicast unit to head them on a day-to-day basis.
Taking the role of COO and Head of Entertainment for Scripps’ national TV networks business, newly expanded following Scripps’ purchase of ION Media: Jonathan Katz.
Nearly eight months later, Katz — founder and President/CEO of what was known as Katz Networks, which Scripps acquired in 2017 — is departing.
In an internal e-mail sent to Scripps employees, Scripps Networks President Lisa Knutson, whom Katz reported to, said, “It is with regret that I share that Jonathan Katz has decided to leave us.” She added that Katz has been “a tremendous partner in getting the Scripps Networks business launched as well as hiring and promoting terrific people.”
Knutson assured Scripps employees that the national TV networks business “is in great shape financially and organizationally, and we have built a strong foundation for our ongoing growth and success.”
Knutson will assume Katz’s duties. According to media reports, Katz plans to launch a new company in the visual media space.
Katz had responsibility for the networks’ entertainment brands including Bounce, Laff, Grit, Court TV Mystery and the ION networks as well as Black consumer-focused streaming service Brown Sugar and syndicated pop culture talk program “The List.” Katz also had oversight of revenue, research, marketing and programming for the entire portfolio of Scripps’ national networks.
Katz is known for launching the Bounce network in 2011 as a broadcast television network dedicated to serving African-American audiences. Three years later, he founded the Katz networks as digital multicast programming needs widened.
More notably, Katz resurrected the Court TV brand network in 2019, directed its expansion into the United Kingdom in 2020, and led the development of true crime-focused channel Court TV Mystery.
Before founding the Katz networks, he was SVP/GM of program planning and acquisitions for all of the Turner Entertainment Networks including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and TCM, including acquisitions work for the original Court TV and The WB broadcast network.
Additionally, Katz oversaw the re-branding and relaunch of WTBS in Atlanta as WPCH-17 under the “Peachtree TV” brand and led all aspects of the station’s operations as general manager.
Before joining Turner’s Entertainment Group in 2000, he was vice president of marketing for CNN Newsource.
Katz launched his career in local TV with roles in programming, advertising, publicity, promotion, production and news at WTOG-44, a one-time “Superstation” in Tampa-St. Petersburg. He’s also worked at WJZY-TV in Charlotte, WDBB-TV in Birmingham and at WCFT-TV in Tuscaloosa, Ala.