UPDATED: Nine months after launching his company Studio 8 with backing from China’s Fosun Group, ex-Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group President Jeff Robinov is expanding into television with the hire of former Chernin Co. TV president Katherine Pope to run a newly launched TV division. While Studio 8 has a deal with Sony on the film side, the company will function independently in TV, with no ties to Sony. With a war chest estimated to be around $1 billion, Studio 8 is expected to operate its TV unit completely independently, including deficit financing its slate.
Under the deal with Pope, which we hear closed this afternoon, she will oversee Studio 8’s TV development slate, which is expected to cover a broad range of comedy and drama project for network and cable.
Adding television and digital content was part of the plan that Robinov laid out for his movie-focused Studio 8 when the company was launched last fall with backing by Fosun Group that allows Robinov to finance 100% of his films.
For the past five years, Pope ran the television division of Peter Chernin’s company, which had a rich deal at 20th Century Fox TV with series commitments at Fox. Pope just became a free agent after the five-year pact came to an end and was not renewed as Chernin is pondering a possible future as an indie. The TV division of Chernin Co. fielded one series that has gone to syndication, Fox comedy New Girl, which is the company’s lone show on the air. Two other series, dramas Breakout Kings and Touched, ran for more than one season.
Before teaming up with Chernin, Pope did a ten-year stint at NBC. She joined NBC Studios as a primetime series associate and then rose trough the ranks to EVP at NBC and president of NBC Universal Television Studio before exiting in the 2008 executive shakeup at the network. Among the shows she oversaw was drama Heroes.