EXCLUSIVE: Affirm Films, Sony Pictures’ label specializing in inspirational, faith and family-friendly features, is expanding into television. Affirm Films has partnered with Sony Pictures Television to launch Affirm Television and has tapped tapped Marybeth Sprows, VP Original Programming for Crown Media Family Networks to run it. As VP, Affirm Television, Sprows will oversee all aspects of development and production, with a dual report to Rich Peluso, EVP/Head of Affirm Films, and Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter, Co-Presidents at Sony Pictures Television Studios.
“The pairing of Affirm Films and Sony Pictures Television brings together two passionate, experienced and focused groups with unique strengths that will make a mark in the television and episodic space,” said Peluso. “I’m eager to start working with Marybeth Sprows and the SPT team to create entertaining and meaningful content that will connect with an underserved audience seeking faith, family and inspirational content, and expanding the Affirm Films trusted-source brand into television.”
This is a natural expansion of a successful Sony film label. The studio did it with TriStar, resurrecting the TriStar Television brand several years ago, also in tandem with SPT.
“We have been so impressed with the films that Rich Peluso and his Affirm team bring to the big screen, and feel that we’ve found a perfect partner in Marybeth to translate that brand to the small screen,” said Parnell and Clodfelter. “We can’t wait to begin to develop series under the Affirm Television banner.”
In entering the lucrative faith-based TV market, Affirm joins Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s MGM-owned LightWorkers Media. The space’s untapped potential was underscored by the blockbuster success of LightWorkers’ 2013 limited series The Bible.
With such releases as the #1 hit War Room, Overcomer, and Soul Surfer, Sony touts Affirm Films as the most successful studio for faith-based films, totaling over $550 million in worldwide box office. In addition to its own development, Affirm partnered with Columbia Pictures on the release of hits Heaven Is For Real and Miracles From Heaven, and with Sony Pictures Animation on The Star.
Sprows most recently served as VP, Development at Crown Media Networks, where she developed original scripted content for the company’s three linear networks, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and Hallmark Drama. Sprows previously served as VP, Development & Production at Paulist Productions, where she spearheaded series and feature projects that centered around themes of social justice, faith, and the human condition.
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