President & CEO, AMC Networks
One of the cable industry's premier innovators and a pioneer in the entertainment industry, Josh Sapan leads AMC Networks Inc. (formerly Rainbow Media Holdings LLC). Sapan has guided AMC Networks' growth and success for 24 years,creating and managing some of the world's most popular and award-winning brands, AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Films. Under his leadership, AMC Networks was the only programming group selected by Fast Company as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Film & TV in 2010.
Among Sapan's many achievements is the development of AMC into a leading entertainment destination. With quality originals like Mad Men and Breaking Badand favorite films from every genre and decade, AMC is home to the best stories on television. AMC made television history as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series three years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series - Drama for three consecutive years.
Sapan broke new ground with the creation of IFC and WE tv, two of today's powerhouse cable brands. He oversaw the 1994 launch of IFC as the first network to showcase independent films. Sapan has spearheaded the growth of IFC into a brand that creates and champions authentic, original content, alongside a comprehensive independent film library. He directed the 1997 launch of WE tv, which has become one of the fastest growing networks for women with critically acclaimed originals such as Bridezillas and Downsized. In 2008, he led the acquisition of the newest network in AMC Networks' portfolio – Sundance Channel, the destination forcredible, authentic and emotionally immersive stories of invention, fashion, film, travel, design and enterprise.
In 1997, Sapan created IFC Films, a division to bring the best of specialty films to the largest possible audience. This arm of the company operates three leading U.S. distribution labels: IFC Films, a distributor of talent-driven independent film; IFC Midnight, a distributor of genre entertainment including horror, science-fiction, thrillers, erotic art house, action and more, and Sundance Selects, a distributor of prestige films that focuses on American independents, documentaries and world cinema. All three labels utilize a unique distribution model that makes independent genre films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable's VOD platform. Notable IFC Films releases include: the Golden Globe®-winner Carlos, Oscar®-nominated films In the Loop, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Y Tu Mamá También and Transamerica, as well the Cannes award-winning biopic Che, starring Benicio Del Toro. The division also operates the IFC Center, a state-of-the-art cinema that shows art-house films in the heart of New York's Greenwich Village.
Sapan also spearheaded the development of the Bravo network. AMC Networks launched Bravo in 1980, making arts and culture an essential part of the television landscape. Sapan was a major force in Bravo's growth, a key contributor in the creation of notable programs such as Inside the Actors Studio and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and oversaw its sale to NBC in 2002.
Sapan joined AMC Networks in 1987 as president of AMC and Bravo. In 1991, he was promoted to chief operating officer, assuming operational responsibility for all AMC Networks divisions. He became chief executive officer in 1995.
Sapan serves on the board of The Cable Center, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) Educational Foundation, the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) Foundation, the Museum of the Moving Image and the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Foundation. Sapanwas inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) Vanguard Award for Programmers and Vanguard Award for Marketing, CTAM's Grand TAM Award and Chairman's Award, the Association of Cable Communicators' (ACC) President's Award, a PROMAX Brand Builder Award, the T. Howard Foundation's Executive Leadership Award, the Joel A. Berger Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the Media Financial Management Association's Avatar Award.
In addition, Sapan serves on the board of People for the American Way, WNYC Radio and The New School University. Sapan is the author of Cable TV, published by Random House, and is a published poet with his works appearing in more than twenty literary magazines.