Chris McCumber Exits As Blumhouse Television President; Division Undergoes Layoffs

EXCLUSIVE: Chris McCumber is departing Blumhouse Television after three years as President. The unit’s President of Production, Jeremy Gold, will step into the top role on an interim basis while search is underway for a new head of the TV group which is getting downsized, with several people — believed to be less than 10 — being laid off today. (Blumhouse’s total headcount in film and TV is almost 100.)

The staff reductions are coming mostly from the TV division’s Creative and Business Affairs departments, sources said. The unscripted group, led by Gretchen Palek, will remain intact, as will Blumhouse’s shared services groups including: Production, Casting, HR, Marketing and Finance.

Blumhouse TV scripted head Chris Dickie (EVP, Scripted Programming and Development) is staying put and will be assisting Gold during the transition, with Gold stepping up his role on the slate of Blumhouse TV series that are expected to go into production after the SAG-AFTRA strike ends.

Former top NBCUniversal TV executive McCumber joined Blumhouse Television as President in November 2020. His departure comes as his contract is coming to an end, I hear.

The changes at Blumhouse TV are occurring amid industry contraction, with networks and streamers paring down their buying, especially from outside suppliers. Additionally, the ongoing Hollywood shutdown due to the WGA and then SAG-AFTRA strikes — now in its sixth month — has disproportionally impacted Blumhouse’s television business.

“We’ve always thrived by delivering what the market needs. So as the television marketplace evolves, we’re evolving too so we can focus on our existing projects and continue to do what we do best, and that’s producing great programming responsibly,” Blumhouse President Abhijay Prakash said. “I want to thank Chris McCumber for his great leadership over the past three years, building the team and the business, including getting two of our largest series orders ever on the board, with The Bondsman and Scarpetta. He laid a great foundation for the company’s next phase. We are also very grateful to Jeremy Gold and Chris Dickie for stepping up to lead the division.”

Blumhouse’s scripted projects which are ready to move forward once the SAG-AFTRA strike is over include The Bondsman, starring Kevin Bacon, from creator Grainger David and showrunner Erik Oleson, which has been greenlighted by Amazon, and Scarpetta, based on Patricia Cornwell’s best-selling book series, which, as Deadline reported, is getting a two-season Amazon order with Nicole Kidman and Jamie Lee Curtis starring and executive producing and Liz Sarnoff showrunning.

Blumhouse TV has completed production on The Sticky, starring Margo Martindale from creators Brian Donovan and Ed Herro and producers Jamie Lee Curtis and Megamix’s Jonathan Levine, and this past summer launched The Horror of Dolores Roach, starring Justina Machado from creator Aaron Mark, both also for Amazon. Additionally, the company recently produced a slate of streaming movies for Amazon and MGM+.

McCumber, a well liked veteran TV executive, joined Blumhouse after a long run at USA Network where he oversaw some of the most profitable years in both USA and Syfy’s history and developed, greenlit and launched such hit series as USA’s Suits, Mr. Robot, Queen of the South, Chrisley Knows Best, Psych, and The Sinner and spearheaded licensing deal negotiations for WWE Raw, WWE SmackDown!, Harry Potter Wizarding World and Modern Family.

“I want to thank Jason Blum and the entire team at Blumhouse for their incredible partnership and support,” McCumber said. “I’m so proud of what we accomplished in growing the business and producing a slate of terrific projects. Even as our industry continues to go through massive change, I truly believe that disruption breeds opportunity and growth – especially when it comes to great storytelling.”

Gold joined Blumhouse in 2016 from Endemol Shine Studios and co-ran the TV division until moving into the President of Production role three years ago. He previously served as SVP Comedy at Fox Broadcasting Co., where he helped developed series such as American Dad, The Bernie Mac Show and Arrested Development.

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