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VP, Business & Legal Affairs

New York City, NY, USA | Discovery Communications

  • Industry:
    Media / Entertainment
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Legal / Compliance
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
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The Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs position will be based in our New York office. The role serves as a primary lead and day-to-day executive managing the business and legal affairs matters for one or more of Discovery’s cable television networks. The Vice President serves as a strategic partner to the networks and is among those responsible for working with the department’s senior management to set policy and procedures for the networks’ business and legal affairs. The role requires the ability to independently negotiate complex deals and to determine best practices for negotiations, deal structures, and enforcement of agreements, among other issues. Additional responsibilities include the drafting and review a variety of agreements for the development, production, and acquisition of non-scripted reality television programming, including agreements for talent (e.g., hosts, experts, narrators, families, celebrities, etc.). The Vice-President, Business & Legal Affairs will also provide advice on content-related legal issues for a wide variety of production and programming transactions and will be responsible for handling ongoing deal management responsibilities throughout the life of an agreement or program.


1. Manage and supervise one or more business affairs negotiators and/or contract managers in connection with the network’s business and negotiations.

2. Advise and support senior executives and other company management on key business issues and legal matters.

3. Assume independent responsibility for drafting, reviewing and negotiating agreements of various complexity, such as for commissions and licenses, in connection with developing, producing, financing, and/or acquiring television programming for Discovery’s networks. 

4. Provide on-going, decisive and accurate business and legal advice to internal clients Negotiate all business and legal terms with lawyers, agents or other representatives, including standard terms and conditions ancillary deal components such as the licensing and granting of rights.

5. Negotiate and draft all terms of a variety of talent agreements including, but not limited to, series deals, pilot-to-series deals, test-option deals, holding deals, ad sales talent integration deals, brand influencer deals, licensing deals, event releases, and overall services agreements with business and legal terms including exploitation and promotional rights, exclusivity, options, back-end participation, endorsement services, and all other applicable talent deal terms customary to the entertainment industry.

6. Manage all aspects of the provision of personal services to Discovery throughout the life of the talent deal, including oversight of all business transactions between the talent and the Discovery units that utilize talent’s services.

7. Advise and support senior network executives and internal business units on legal issues including risk management, general labor/guild issues (AFTRA, SAG, DGA and WGA), copyright, defamation, trademark, right of privacy and publicity, music, advertising and other production-related issues.

8. Review and draft ancillary production-related documents such as access agreements, format licenses, participant releases and consultant agreements.

9. Assume accountability for deals under tight timelines while acquiring appropriate rights within budgetary parameters.

10. Manage business practices in concert with network editorial/creative and production management.


* Minimum of ten (10) years of progressive experience, with increasing levels of responsibility, negotiating transactions in the entertainment field, including in-depth knowledge of television production, talent and acquisition transactions.

* The ability to lead in the strategy, structure and negotiation of deals as well as to draft and review agreements once terms are negotiated. 

* Creative, business-friendly approach to problem solving and the ability to provide high level business and legal support in a fast-paced environment are vital.

* Experience working in-house in the business affairs and/or legal department of an entertainment company. Preferably a cable or broadcast television network, studio, or commensurate transactional experience in the entertainment division of a law firm. 

* Demonstrated independent deal negotiation experience.

* Strong academic credentials from an ABA-accredited law school and current Bar admission required (Tennessee, California or New York Bar membership preferred).

* Knowledge of television programming and talent agreements and/or cable industry required. 

* Knowledge of contract, privacy/publicity, and copyright laws.

* Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, including clear and effective written and verbal communication skills.

* Relationships with entertainment attorneys, agents, and/or managers a plus. 

* Applicants must be industrious and self-motivated with demonstrated ability to take initiative, make firm decisions, manage projects, and offer a high level of customer service in a fast-paced environment.

* Excellent leadership, supervisory and people skills, and ability to develop and maintain productive working relationships with internal and external partners

* Excellent business and legal judgment.

* Willingness to tackle matters outside of areas of expertise. 

* Experience with Microsoft Word, Excel and other software applications required.

* Must have the legal right to work in the United States

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