It was a little stressful and down to the wire as all of Sony Pictures TV’s new series pickups and some of its renewals did not close until the weekend before the upfronts, but the indie studio ultimately saw four of its six pilots picked up, drama For Life and comedy United We Fall at ABC and drama Lincoln and comedy Indebted at NBC. Excluding straight-to-series orders, that is the studio’s strongest conversion ratio in almost a decade.
Additionally, Sony TV saw all of its broadcast scripted series get renewed; its broadcast tally, including scripted and unscripted series, is 11 series on ABC, NBC and CBS.
That is with the studio, which last year got one broadcast series with ABC comedy Schooled and also landed a series order for its NBC pilot LA’s Finest at Spectrum, scaling back on broadcast development, developing about 50% fewer scripts with a targeted approach.
Sony Pictures TV chairman Mike Hopkins this morning sent out an internal memo acknowledging the studio’s successful upfront. Here it is:
Hello everyone –
I just want to take a moment to share some great news for Sony Pictures Television.
As you may have seen in the trades, our U.S. studio received four broadcast pilot pickups for this season! Two series orders at ABC –For Life, the Hank Steinberg/Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson drama series, and multi-camera family comedy United We Fall, as well as two new series at NBC – drama Lincoln, based on the bestselling book series The Bone Collector, and multi-camera, multi-generational family comedy Indebted. To add to that, ALL of our current broadcast shows received renewals for next season, including The Blacklist (NBC), The Goldbergs (ABC), Schooled (ABC), The Good Doctor (ABC) and S.W.A.T. (CBS). Together with our renewed unscripted series Shark Tank and $100,000 Pyramid, SPT now has eleven U.S. broadcast series!
This is an incredible result and speaks volumes about the creativity, hard work and strength of our production teams. At our recent All Hands we discussed the advantages of our status as the world’s most powerful independent studio – and this is one more example of how this strategy is working.
This year, we were more selective about our broadcast development and still had a healthy volume of six pilots ordered. We produced six outstanding episodes of television and had four picked up for the 2019-2020 broadcast season, which is the strongest result in many years. While the U.S. broadcast segment is only one part of our extremely diverse and robust studio business, achieving success in this area remains important – for us, for the remarkable creators we work with and to the studio as a whole.
An incredible team effort. Thanks and congratulations to our leadership team of Jeff Frost, Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter and everyone working at the U.S. studio, including Lauren Stein, Glenn Adilman, Holly Jacobs, Karen Tatevosian, Dawn Steinberg, Jeffrey Glaser, Ed Lammi and their respective teams for a tremendous effort in achieving such a positive outcome for SPT! Well done all!