Roger L. Werner, Jr.

Roger Werner is one of a small group of satellite television industry pioneers who has designed, built and managed some of cable television’s most successful sports networks.

Between 1995 and 2002, Werner created and developed the Speedvision Network (now Fox’s “Speed Channel”) and served as it’s President and CEO.  He developed Speedvision in partnership with investors, Cox, Comcast and ATT.  Launched in December 1995, Speedvision, quickly became the destination for automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts with a broad menu of live racing, historical documentaries, and lifestyle programming available around the clock. After six years, Werner and his partners sold Speedvision to Fox (2001) in one of American cable televisions’ most significant M and A events of that period.  

Werner’s career in the television programming industry began in 1979 when he was employed by the international management firm McKinsey & Company.  From 1980-1982 he served a new McKinsey client, ESPN, in the formation and implementation of the start-up network’s original strategic and operational plans.  He left McKinsey to become ESPN’s Chief Operating Officer in March of 1982.

During his six years as Chief Operating Officer and three years as President/CEO, ESPN became the world’s largest and most profitable cable television network.  Between 1982-1991, Werner’s team pioneered American television’s first comprehensive menu of Motorsports programming including coverage of F-1, IMSA, Indycar and NASCAR.  ESPN also developed sports networks in over twenty international markets during this period.

Werner is currently Chairman and co-owner of WATV Productions, a Los Angeles based television production company that is a leader in automotive and motorsports programming.  Some of its series include “Overhaulin’” (Discovery Channel) and “American Icons” (Discovery’s Velocity Network).  He also serves as chairman of ACCUS (the Automobile Competition Committee of The United States) the American Motorsports industry’s representative within the FIA.

He is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT (BA 1972), and holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Virginia (1977) where he was class president and now serves as a member of the board of trustees. 

Werner, the father of three, is currently active in aviation and vintage racing when he’s not at work.


Executive Producer and President of WATV Productions

Lenny Shabes, chief executive officer and executive producer at WATV Productions, founded the company in 1992.  Mr. Shabes formed WATV in order to produce the 17 episode run-up series to the America’s Cup and the America’s Cup Class World Championships. In 1995, Cable Network Services engaged Shabes and WATV Productions as a programming consultant to help launch the newly forming cable network, Speedvision.  At WATV, Mr. Shabes has executive produced over 1,500 episodes of television programming and helped launch several networks including Speedvision and Fine Living.

Shabes is the founder and Chairman of the Board for the American Sailing Association, a national governing body for the sport of sailing.  The ASA has more than 95% of the United States’ sailing schools in its membership.  To date it has certified almost one million sailors and is in its thirtieth year of operation.

Mr. Shabes was the CEO of The Video Center, one of the first video consumer electronics chains and was a pioneer in the home videotape distribution business. An avid car collector, Shabes partnered with legendary Carroll Shelby in The Shelby Collection, an automobile dealership and restoration facility dedicated to preserving and selling Shelby build sports cars.

Immediately after graduation from the University of California in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, Shabes was hired as an associate producer for the hit television show, “The Midnight Special.”  He went on to be involved with the production of several successful motion pictures such as the Sword and the Sorcerer, Alligator, and The Eyes of Dr. Chaney.