A little over a month after the exit of Sony Pictures Television presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra has set new leadership of the studio’s television production operation.
Focusing his search for a successor in-house, Vinciquerra has named Sony TV head of business affairs Jeff Frost as President of Sony Pictures Television Studios. Frost will report to Vinciquerra.
Additionally, Sony TV’s co-heads of drama development Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter have been named Co-Presidents of Sony Pictures Television Studios, reporting to Frost. Collectively, they will comprise a new “Office of the President,” which will shepherd all U.S. production and programming for Sony Pictures Television. Parnell and Clodfelter will oversee all creative aspects of the television studio including U.S. Drama and Comedy Development, Reality & Syndication, U.S. Scripted & Current Programming, Talent & Casting, Movies & Miniseries and TriStar Television.
Along with Van Amburg and Erlicht’s contracts, the deals for all other key Sony TV executives were coming up later this summer, putting them in play. There was talk that Frost might follow his former bosses Van Amburg and Erlicht to Apple, where the two head video programming, though the opportunity to get a president title kept him at Sony. I hear Sony TV’s head of comedy Glenn Adilman recently re-upped his contract, leaving only the future of Sony TV head of current Kim Rozenfeld, who had been in the mix for a co-president role, unclear. Parnell and Clodfelter also will have to appoint their replacement as head of drama.
Introducing a Sony Pictures TV Studios moniker vs. Sony Pictures TV reflects the fact that the new leadership is for the production side of SPE’s television business. Steve Mosko was president of Sony Pictures Television when he oversaw the entire TV business of the company, including international networks and distribution. That changed after his exit.
Frost will report to Vinciquerra alongside the other three Sony TV toppers: worldwide networks head Andy Kaplan, distribution chief Keith Le Goy and president of advertiser sales and research Amy Carney. Additionally, SPT’s International Productions will continue to be led by Wayne Garvie, Chief Creative Officer for SPT International Production, who will report to Vinciquerra. As Presidents of Sony TV, Van Amburg and Erlicht oversaw both domestic and international television production as well as marketing. It is TBD whom the marketing group will report to as it services different parts of the Sony TV business, U.S., international production and distribution.
“Jeff, Chris and Jason are the perfect team to run our U.S. television business,” said Vinciquerra. “Over the last several weeks, I have been able to see first-hand the strong leadership qualities possessed by Jeff, Chris and Jason, the high energy and vitality of everyone in their groups and throughout SPT and the outstanding collaboration that exists between them all. I am confident they will not only grow our robust television business, but also strengthen the integration between SPT and SPE’s other lines of business and with the other Sony Group companies.”
As EVP, U.S. Business Affairs, Frost has played a lead role in SPT’s overall strategy and negotiations with the studio’s broadcast and production partners and talent. Frost joined SPT in 2008 from ABC Studios, where he served as SVP, business affairs for the studio’s traditional production arm, as well as their digital media group. Frost joined ABC in 1997 as an attorney in the litigation department and, beginning in 1999, held posts in the legal affairs and business affairs departments for Touchstone Television, through 2003, when he segued into ABC Cable Networks as SVP and head of legal affairs. He rejoined Touchstone TV in 2005 as SVP, leading the legal department before taking on his role at SPT business affairs.
“The landscape of our business continues to rapidly evolve, and SPT is in an ideal position to take advantage of industry shifts due to our diversity of programming and ability to air across a broad array of broadcast, cable and digital platforms,” said Frost.
Parnell and Clodfelter joined SPT in 2003 and 2006, respectively; both most recently servied as EVP, U.S. Drama Development and Programming for SPT. Together they have guided the development of scripted programming for drama series and have been driving forces behind such shows as Breaking Bad, The Blacklist, Outlander, Bloodline, Masters of Sex, Franklin & Bash, Powers, Helix, Preacher, Justified, The Night Shift, The Get Down, Mad Dogs, Sneaky Pete, Houdini & Doyle, Game of Silence, Unforgettable, Damages and Drop Dead Diva. Prior to joining Sony in 2006, Clodfelter served as director, then VP Development for Spelling Television, where he developed the series Wanted and Saving Grace, and as director of development for John Wells Productions.
“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last several years and are excited about building on that in this new role,” said Parnell and Clodfelter.