“Poker Face” Studio MRC Promotes Scott Tenley to CEO

Scott Tenley, the indie studio’s business director, takes over from founders Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu.

MRC, the independent film and TV studio behind hits like “Poker Face” and “Knives Out,” has found a new leader, promoting the company’s veteran business executive Scott Tenley to CEO.

MRC founders (and current co-CEOs) Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu will serve as presidents as part of Tenley’s promotion. Tenley will now oversee all of MRC’s film and television divisions, as well as strategic partnerships, legal, finance and HR. It will also look for “growth opportunities” for the studio, MRC said Thursday.

Tenley was the driving force behind MRC’s latest series. Back in 2012, he sold his “House of Cards” to Netflix, but more recently he steered “Poker Face” to Peacock and “Fair Play” to Netflix for $20 million (the biggest deal of Sundance 2023). Tenley has also pitched projects to Amazon, such as Emerald Fennell’s upcoming film “Saltburn,” the second season of “The Terminal List,” and even the Academy of Country Music Awards (the ACMs). Seven months ago, he also took over the company from Valence Media, making MRC an independent studio.

“Scott Tenley has been involved in almost every business, every performance at MRC over the past 16 years. He has blazed the trail in almost every aspect of our business, from selling ‘House of Cards’ to Netflix, to establishing the Academy of Country Music Awards on Amazon Prime Video, to continuously evolving credit opportunities, equity deals and beyond,” said Wiczyk and Satchu said in a statement. “But Scott is much more than a businessman: he is our cultural heart, our loudest cheerleader, our fiercest advocate and a community ambassador. Scott is an agent of change and the business cannot succeed without him. He is the conductor who brings all departments together and redefines collaboration that you don’t see anywhere else. In an industry often plagued by selfishness and self-interest, Scott makes sharing fun and safe.”

“Over the past 16 years, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by some of the smartest and hardest-working colleagues as we’ve built an amazing business, working with the best and brightest artists and storytellers,” added Tenley. “Simply put, like them, I find joy in making great films and TV shows – it’s what we do best at the MRC. I am very grateful to Modi, Asif and all my colleagues and partners who have given me the rarest opportunity to play a small role in making iconic films and TV shows.”

One of Tenley’s highlights during her 16 years with the MRC was saving the sixth season of “House of Cards” after Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct. Following the fallout, Tenley played a key role in securing a $31 million judgment against Spacey for breach of contract.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA School of Law, Tenley came to MRC in 2007 after working as a corporate entertainment attorney in the private practice of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in Los Angeles. From 2007 to 2015, he was President of Business and Legal Affairs and Operations; He was CEO from 2015 to 2019 before becoming Business Director of Valence Media/MRC.

On the film side, MRC’s next horror-comedy, “The Blackening,” will be released by Lionsgate this June, and director Jake Johnson’s horror-comedy, “Self Reliance,” will debut at SXSW this month.

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