A year ago, the duo was promoted with additional responsibilities following the exit of Sony Pictures TV chairman Steve Mosko but they were not signed to new contracts, with their existing ones up thus summer.
Following Mosko’s departure, Van Amburg, Erlicht and three other top executives of the TV group began reporting directly to Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment.
Things have changed since then, with Lynton stepping down in January. He was recently replaced by Tony Vinciquerra, who was appointed to the post last month. (you can read Vinciquerra’s internal note announcing Van Amburg and Erlicht’s departure below).
Over the last few months there had been a number of overtures to Van Amburg or both him and Erlicht for various high-profile jobs. I hear they also were recently approached about signing new long-term contracts at Sony but opted to depart.
While Vinciquerra searches for a replacement, he will have a hands-on involvement in the TV production division’s operations. It is early to speculate on replacements as the process is yet to start but one of the TV executives whose names have been floated for several high-level jobs recently, including at Sony’s Playstation, is WGN America’s Matt Cherniss, who previously worked with Vinciquerra at Fox and at WGNA was an advocate for the Sony TV dramas Outsiders and Underground, though he is still under contract and I hear he may not be available for awhile.
Van Amburg and Erlicht were young, SVP-level executives when Mosko picked them to succeed Russ Krasnoff in the top TV programming position in 2005. (Van Amburg had joined the studio in 1997 as director of development, rising to VP and then SVP; Erlicht in 2002 as SVP development). Since then, Van Amburg and Erlicht have spearheaded a decade of rapid growth of Sony TV’s original series unit, with the SPT slate of original primetime shows more than tripling and expanding into cable and streaming. SPT has consistently been one of the biggest profit generators for Sony Pictures Entertainment, overdelivering on its budget.
Some of the TV series currently in production at the studio include network comedies and dramas The Blacklist, Timeless and The Night Shift for NBC; as well as The Goldbergs, Shark Tank, The Good Doctor and $100,000 Pyramid for ABC and Kevin Can Wait and S.W.A.T. for CBS. The studio also produces a roster of primetime cable series including Preacher and Better Call Saul for AMC, and Outlander for Starz. SPT’s portfolio of series for digital platforms include The Crown, Bloodline, Atypical and One Day at a Time for Netflix, Sneaky Pete, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Tick and The Last Tycoon for Amazon, and Shut Eye and Future Man for Hulu. Around the world, the studio also produces a number of locally-produced series via its subsidiaries.
This is the third SPT top-level executive departure in the past year. In addition to Mosko, Andrea Wong recently e exited as President of SPT International Production. Neither were replaced.
Here is Vinciquerra’s note:
I want to make you all aware that Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht will be leaving Sony Pictures Television later this summer to begin a new chapter in their extraordinary careers.
Zack and Jamie have been instrumental in the growth of Sony Pictures Television over the last several years – particularly over the last year as they took on a greater leadership role alongside Keith Le Goy, President of Distribution; Amy Carney, President, Advertiser Sales, Strategy & Research; and Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks.
Until a replacement is named for Zack and Jamie, I will be working closely with our existing leadership team to ensure a seamless transition.
I want to wish Zack and Jamie all the best. While we are sad to see them go, we are excited by the opportunity to work with them as partners in the future.