German TV Giant ProSiebenSat.1 Acquisitions Head Rudiger Boss Steps Down

Rudiger Boss, the longtime head of acquisitions at German TV giant ProSiebenSat.1, is stepping down after a quarter century on the job.

Boss, one of the most respected and beloved executives on the international scene, was the studios’ go-to-guy for Germany, having negotiated long-term licensing and output deals with the likes of Walt Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, CBS, Viacom’s Paramount and Regency. He will leave ProSiebenSat.1 at the end of the year.

In his time at the German network, Boss helped negotiate more than 10,000 licensing agreements, among them deals for the Harry Potter and Jurassic Park film franchises and such long-running ratings hits as The Simpsons, Criminal Minds and The Big Bang Theory.

Amid corporate upheaval at ProSiebenSat.1 including the bankruptcy of major shareholder KirchGroup in 2002 and various takeovers, mergers and executive shuffles — Boss remained the constant. His experience and professionalism were matched only by his ready, often self-deprecating wit and his reputation as an irrepressible gossip.

“Rudiger Boss defined an era at ProSiebenSat.1 — he was our man in Hollywood, he was the one who opened the doors to the major film studios for us,” said ProSiebenSat.1 deputy CEO Conrad Albert. “His instinct for the next big TV hit, his negotiation skills and his passion for movies are legendary. He brought all the major blockbusters and U.S. ratings hits to Germany for us. And alongside all that, he was always a great colleague and friend. We thank Rudiger from the bottom of our hearts for these extraordinary years and wish him all the very best for his future.”

Boss’ departure comes as ProSiebenSat.1 is shifting strategy, trying to move away from its reliance on U.S. films and series which no longer deliver the stellar ratings they once did in Germany  toward more homegrown productions. Last month, the network said it was looking to renegotiate its output deals with Hollywood studios.

“This step does not come so suddenly; nevertheless, I do look back with melancholy and gratitude at this quarter of a century,” Boss said in an email addressed to “friends, colleagues [and] partners in business & crime.” He gave “a huge thank you”to” the many colleagues, whom I have annoyed, angered, at least occasionally delighted and hopefully always treated fairly. Thank you for working so incredibly well together.

Henrik Pabst, who takes over in January at ProSiebenSat.1 as chief commercial officer entertainment, will add Boss’ responsibility for content acquisitions and content sales at the group to his portfolio.― Hollywood Reporter

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