Sony TV Eyes Global Market

By Littleton, Cynthia | Variety, July 12, 2016 | Go to article overview

Sony TV Eyes Global Market


Littleton, Cynthia, Variety


THE LEADERS OF HOLLYWOOD'S largest TV studios have their hands full keeping track of the ever-expanding number of U.S. outlets in the market for original series. At Sony Pictures Television, the new regime has set an ambitious goal to expand the studio's reach by fielding original shows to buyers well beyond U.S. borders.

Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, SPT's presidents of programming and production, were promoted to worldwide production chiefs in June following the exit of longtime Sony TV chairman Steve Mosko. The post-Mosko restructuring promises to break down some of the walls that existed previously between Sony's various TV departments as well as the Japanese conglom's film, music, and PlayStation units.

"We are legitimately one company now" Van Amburg says. The TV division is working more closely with Sony film chief Tom Rothman, sharing writers and ideas for properties that can travel between the big and small screens.

The TV group is also teaming up with PlayStation on VR initiatives, engaging some of its A-list showrunners in producing cutting-edge content for the immersive medium. Ties to the Sony Music empire will also improve, Van Amburg and Erlicht promise, as division heads brainstorm on collaborative projects involving Sony artists, including Adele. First up is RCA Records'release of the soundtrack of SPT's Netflix drama "The Get Down," which chronicles the rise of hip-hop culture out of the Bronx in the late 1970s.

The shift in mindset reflects the warming of what had been chilly relations at times between Mosko and his boss, Sony Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton. Van Amburg and Erlicht aim to make SPT less of a fiefdom on the Culver City lot.

Within the TV group, the pair's ascent from their previous roles as heads of U.S. production means that Sony TV will speak with one voice around the world when it comes to selling original programming. (SPT's vast international networks unit remains a separate entity headed by Andy Kaplan, who also runs Sony's Crackle streaming service.)

Even before the Mosko shuffle, Erlicht and Van Amburg's division had gained traction in setting up series outside the U.S., notably with the U.K.'s ITV ("Houdini & Doyle") and Channel 4 ("Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick"). But those moves were not made in concert with the London-based international TV production group headed by Andrea Wong. Now that Wong reports to Erlicht and Van Amburg, there will be efforts at greater coordination. …

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