Julie Pernworth Exits As CBS Head Of Comedy After Two Decades At the Network

EXCLUSIVE: Julie Pernworth is leaving her post as EVP Comedy Development at CBS Entertainment, ending a tenure at the broadcast network that spans almost 21 years. Pernworth just informed her colleagues of her decision to depart at the end of her current contract next week.

In her note (you can read it below), Pernworth spoke of the challenges of the last year and a half amid the pandemic, calling it “a time of reflection for many of us” that led her to start “exploring new possibilities”. Thanking her “dedicated and passionate teams, and truly the most talented creators, producers, actors, and directors in television,” Pernworth said that she plans to take the summer off before deciding what to do next.

Pernworth, well respected at CBS and within the creative community, was named to the network’ top comedy post in June 2015, succeeding Wendi Trilling. Since joining CBS in 2000 as VP, Comedy Development, Pernworth developed such signature CBS shows as Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, The Neighborhood, Bob ♥ Abishola, as well as the upcoming new comedies for the 2021-2022 broadcast season, Ghosts and Smallwood. CBS introduced the 2020-21 season’s #1 and #2 most watched new comedies, United States Of Al and B Positive, both developed by Pernworth and her team.

“In our constantly evolving industry, I’ve fought to keep the sitcom, often underappreciated, thriving — and that too has been a great privilege. I’m especially proud that CBS’ Comedy slate stood consistently at #1 in ratings on my watch,” Pernworth  wrote in her email. “This year alone, we had the top 7 comedies and have two fantastic new shows ready for the Fall, to continue that run.”

In a separate email to staff, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl and Senior EVP Programming Thom Sherman highlighted some of Pernworth’s biggest accomplishments.

“We have known and worked with Julie for a number of years and want to express our sincere appreciation for her wonderful contributions to the Network, and for her friendship.,” they wrote. “It’s never easy to see a valued colleague move on but she’s had an amazing 20 plus year run and leaves us with the most enviable line up of comedies on TV and well positioned for the future.”

Prior to joining CBS, Pernworth served as Director of Casting and then Director, Prime Time Series, at NBC.

Here are the two internal notes:

Pernworth’s:

To my Friends and Colleagues,

As they say in comedy, timing is everything. After nearly 21 years, I will be leaving CBS next week at the end of my contract.

The last year and a half, with all its challenges, has been a time of reflection for many of us. And for me, it has meant exploring new possibilities. I’ve had the most incredible experience working with dedicated and passionate teams, and truly the most talented creators, producers, actors, and directors in television.

In our constantly evolving industry, I’ve fought to keep the sitcom, often underappreciated, thriving–and that too has been a great privilege.I’m especially proud that CBS’ Comedy slate stood consistently at #1 in ratings on my watch. This year alone, we had the top 7 comedies and have two fantastic new shows ready for the Fall, to continue that run.

To all those who’ve shared the trenches with me— the late-night tapings, last minute rewrites, cold (and sometimes delicious) craft services, eleventh hour casting, heated debates and negotiations — you know who you are—that creative collaboration has been the best part of this job. Please know I cherish those times and look forward to working together again.

I’ll be taking the summer off and will share my plans later this year. I wish you all the best and will be rooting for your success.

Julie

Kahl and Sherman’s:

Hey all…

As you may have just heard, Julie Pernworth has decided to leave the network and pursue the next chapter in her career. We have known and worked with Julie for a number of years and want to express our sincere appreciation for her wonderful contributions to the Network, and for her friendship. Her passion and incredible talent for developing series has been integral in the creation, launch and nurturing of many of our hit comedies, from Two and Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, and The Big Bang Theory, to The Neighborhood and our other current successes, plus her influence will continue to live on with our new series for the 2021-22 season.

It’s never easy to see a valued colleague move on but she’s had an amazing 20 plus year run and leaves us with the most enviable line up of comedies on TV and well positioned for the future.

Please join us in wishing her well and all the best.

Kelly and Thom

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