The importance of Sony Pictures Television within Sony Pictures Entertainment has been on the rise. Last fall, Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corp. of America, announced a significant company shift “in emphasis from motion pictures to higher-margin television.” The company’s TV division was untouched by the recent company-wide cuts. And now its leadership has been secured for the next few years. After Steve Mosko signed a new long-term contract as president of Sony Pictures Television a year and a half ago, his top lieutenants, presidents of U.S. programming and production Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, too have re-upped with the company. I hear their new contracts are for three years, taking the duo to a decade at the helm of Sony TV’s primetime operations. Van Amburg and Erlicht were young, home-grown executives at an SVP level when Mosko picked them to succeed Russ Krasnoff in the top TV programming position in 2005. “What Zack and Jamie have accomplished is nothing short of amazing,” said Mosko. “I’ve always believed in them and they’ve become the best in the business.”
SPT currently has 30 series on 15 networks, including NBC breakout The Blacklist and hot Showtime newcomer Masters of Sex, both renewed for a second season; reigning Best Drama Emmy winner and cable ratings smash/pop culture phenomenon, AMC’s recently departed Breaking Bad; ABC’s reality mainstay Shark Tank and promising new comedy The Goldbergs. Not all of its efforts have worked — its NBC comedy Welcome To The Family was cancelled and NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show and Fox’s Rake have struggled, but SPT’s series portfolio has been growing steadily, doubling its size from 14 shows 10 years ago. Over the past year, the studio has made an aggressive move in the lucrative direct-to-series business. Following the 22-episode order for Michael J. Fox, Sony landed series orders for Outlander at Starz, Helix at Syfy, already renewed for a second season, KZK project at Netflix, Battle Creek at CBS and Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul at AMC. Additionally, SPT, an early cable adopter with Rescue Me, Damages, Justified and Breaking Bad, has embraced new platforms, creating templates for producing series at Netflix, Amazon and its sibling PlayStation where it has drama series Powers.
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