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.”
Sony Pictures TV‘s breakout drama The Blacklist is looking to join the elite handful of series that have been sold into off-network syndication in their first season on the air. The studio is putting together a pitch to cable networks and broadcast stations and has begun running ads in preparation for taking the NBC series out to buyers, which has not started yet. The Blacklist is a successful new broadcast procedural drama, which has been a rare breed during the past five years as the networks have gravitated toward more serialized fare. It would also be a rare non-franchise drama to sell in syndication in its freshman year. The two recent dramas to sell that quickly were CBS TV Studios’ NCIS: LA — a spinoff from a proven off-network procedural, NCIS — which sold to USA seven weeks into its run, and Hawaii Five-0, also a recognizable title being a remake of a popular cop drama, which was sold to TNT in April of the series’ first season.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic
CNBC announced today its New Year’s Day marathon of off-net Shark Tank repeats drew its largest average audience in the news demo in six years — something you’d think CNBC would scarcely admit unless it knew it could be provided against it. And yet, there CNBC was, boasting its New Year’s Day marathon had drawn more than 4.2 million unique viewers, averaging more than 540,000 total viewers and 240,000 adults 25-54 from 8PM-2AM ET. During its peak hours, CNBC said with pride, it averaged nearly 700,000 total viewers and 300,000 adults 25-54, ranking No. 1 during the 10 PM hour among all cable news networks in 18-49, 25-54 and 35-64 demos. The 10 PM telecast was CNBC’s most-watched program in three years, while the 9 PM telecast was CNBC’s highest-rated among adults 25-54 in three years, the network bragged.
EXCLUSIVE: Besides being a comedy star, Community and The Hangover standout Ken Jeong is a licensed physician. His life before going into comedy will be the subject of Dr. Ken, a multi-camera comedy that has landed at NBC with a significant penalty. Feature comedy writer Jared Stern (The Internship) is writing the project, from Community producer Sony Pictures TV and John Davis and John Fox’s studio-based Davis Entertainment. Stern, Davis and Fox executive produce, with Jeong co-executive producing. Jeong is a regular on Community, whose upcoming fifth season is rumored to be the cult comedy’s last — but that is never certain as Community has defied the odds before. But even if Community continues for another season and Dr. Ken goes to series, things could be worked out as both shows are with NBC and Sony TV.
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy’s hot summer continues with another very big commitment for a half-hour project. In a competitive situation with multiple networks bidding, Sony TV/Peter Tolan‘s pitch Irreversible, based on the Israeli series Bilti Hafich, landed at ABC. The network has greenlighted a pilot with a big, seven-figure penalty behind it off of a pitch — a rare feat for any pitch and a first for an Israeli format. In another first for a format originating from the Middle Eastern country, Irreversible will be written solely by the Israeli co-creator of the original series Segahl Avin, who also will direct the U.S. pilot. Avin is executive producing with Fedora’s Tolan and Michael Wimer and Reshet TV, the Israeli broadcaster behind the original series. Irreversible centers on Andy and Sarah, a somewhat eccentric, self-absorbed couple, and their trials and tribulations — most of which they bring upon themselves. Bilti Hafich became an instant hit when it launched in January. It ranks as the No.1 original comedy on Israeli broadcast TV and has already been renewed for a second season. Irreversible reunites ABC, Sony TV and Reshet. Last development season, they teamed to adapt another 2013 Reshet comedy format, Divorce, which went to pilot and remains in contention at ABC after the cast’s options were extended.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline reported this week that Sony TV will produce an El Mariachi series based on the 1992 Robert Rodriguez film. Now …
The wandering music man of Mexico is returning to the screen – the small screen not the big one this time. Sony Pictures Television and Teleset announced today that they are adapting El Mariachi for the Latin …
Relationship Comedy From David Caspe, Seth Gordon & Jamie Tarses Lands At NBC With Pilot Production Commitment
EXCLUSIVE: In what is believed to be the biggest commitment for a comedy project so far this development season, Marry Me, a single-camera half-hour from Happy Endings creator David Caspe, just landed at NBC. The Sony Pictures TV project — which has Seth Gordon, who exited Horrible Bosses 2 today, attached to direct and executive produce and Jamie Tarses to executive produce — sparked a bidding war when it was taken out two weeks ago. It ultimately commanded a pilot production commitment in a deal which I hear also includes a full license fee and series penalty. Last summer, NBC nabbed another Sony TV single-camera comedy project with a big commitment, giving a 22-episode order to The Michael J. Fox Show, one of four new Sony series on the NBC schedule next season along with fall drama The Blacklist, fall comedy Welcome To The Family and midseason drama The Night Shift.