Hopkins, who helped make Hulu a powerhouse in the streaming industry long before its purchase by Disney, will take over the duties of Jeff Blackburn, a longtime Amazon executive who was instrumental in building the company’s entertainment ventures. Blackburn went on sabbatical earlier this year and though he was expected to return in 2021, it is unclear how Hopkins’ hiring would impact Blackburn’s duties. Hopkins will begin working at Amazon on February 24.
“Mike comes to us with over 20 years of industry experience at Fox, Hulu and Sony,” Blackburn said in an internal memo obtained by Variety. “He has an extensive track record as a global business leader in media, film and TV — negotiating landmark content and distribution agreements, running marketing operations, leading product/tech teams, and overseeing production of breakthrough television content. I have had the pleasure of working closely with many of you as we’ve built these video businesses from the ground up. You’ve created a global streaming service and award-winning original content that our customers love. And I know you’re only getting started. I’m so excited for Mike to join Jen and Greg [Hart], and the broader video leadership team, and build upon the global momentum we’ve experienced in 2019.”
Though Amazon did not release a statement about Hopkins’ hiring, a source confirmed the news to IndieWire. A source told Variety that if Blackburn returns to Amazon, he would likely have a different job.
Hopkins’ hiring will not displace any of Amazon’s entertainment executives. Current Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke will begin reporting to Hopkins, who will in turn report directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon has been actively building up its talent roster and expanding its entertainment business workforce as the company continues to invest in the streaming business. Amazon Prime Video has gradually become one of the industry’s leading streaming services and has released key titles such as “Fleabag,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” while the highly-anticipated “Lord of the Rings” series will eventually make its way to the platform. Steve McQueen and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are among the high-profile talents who have inked overall deals with the company in recent months.