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Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Apologizes For ‘Doctor Who’ Leaks; eOne Buys Paperny; More

Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Apologizes For ‘Doctor Who’ Leaks; eOne Buys Paperny; MoreBBC Worldwide has apologized for recent leaks of scripts and footage from the new series of Doctor Who. The commercial arm of the broadcaster said a damaging “mistake” resulted in the exposure of five scripts and the first six unfinished episodes from Series 8 on a publicly accessible FTP site. It thanked fans for their efforts at helping to contain the leaks and said it has put in place a plan using new technology and internal manpower to limit any illegal activity. “BBC Worldwide has taken this issue extremely seriously and disciplinary action has been implemented as a result of the incident,” it added, and offered “sincere apologies” to showrunner Steven Moffat, the cast and the production team. Doctor Who returns on August 23 with Peter Capaldi as the latest incarnation of the Time Lord.

EOne logoEntertainment One has acquired Canadian factual programming producer Paperny Entertainment from partners David Paperny, Cal Shumiatcher and Audrey Mehler. With the acquisition, Canadian giant eOne says it intends to ramp up its activity in unscripted television production across North America. Vancouver-based Paperny also has operations in Toronto and New York. It has produced over 500 hours of programming since its inception in 1994. The company is expected to deliver a further 80 hours of original programming this year. Its recent and returning shows include Timber Kings (HGTV), Cold Water Cowboys (Discovery Channel Canada), Yukon Read More »

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Telemundo and Sony Pictures TV Strike Three-Series Deal

By | Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 12:01pm PDT

Telemundo and Sony Pictures TV Strike Three-Series DealTelemundo and Sony Pictures Television today announced a three-year agreement, under terms of which which SPT will produce one primetime series per year for Telemundo in the U.S.  The Telemundo international sales division, Telemundo Internacional, will distribute the series worldwide. As part of the agreement, Sony Pictures Television’s production company Teleset will produce the series in México in association with Telemundo Studios.  Production of the first series will begin in early 2015.

“We are very proud to enter this agreement with Sony Pictures Television to produce scripted content with the highest quality standards and talent selection,” said Marcos Santana, president, Telemundo International.  “This agreement will provide us with appealing and attractive content at the level our international clients have come to expect from Telemundo Internacional.”

“We look forward to working with Telemundo in the coming years to bring these three new primetime series to life,” said Angélica Guerra, senior vice president and managing director of production for Latin America and U.S. Hispanic for Sony Pictures Television.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: CBC To Lay Off 20% Of Staff By 2020; Sony Pictures TV Acquires UK’s CSC Media Group; More

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

CBC To Lay Off 20% Of Workforce By 2020
CBC_Radio-CanadaThe CBC will trim its staff by 20% in the next five years. The cuts will include sharp reductions during the next year as it segues to a mobile-first strategy aimed at cutting costs. The plan calls for cutting 1,000-1,500 job cuts by 2020, scaling back some local evening newscasts from 90 minutes to 30, and shifting more resources from TV and radio to web broadcasting. The Canadian pubcaster’s President and CEO, Hubert Lacroix, announced the layoffs Thursday during a heated town hall with employees in Toronto. Read More »

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Sony Pictures Television Launches Diverse Directors Program

SPT Diverse Directors ProgramThe new Los Angeles-based initiative will provide an opportunity for candidates to shadow established TV directors on episodes of various hour and half-hour scripted Sony Pictures TV series. “The Diverse Directors Program will provide access and training to promising future directors and at the same time provide us with new, emerging talent behind the camera with various points of view,” SPT President Steve Mosko said. Submissions are being accepted online from May 23-June 6, or until 500 applications are received. Candidates must submit one completed example of a past directing project, letters of recommendation from entertainment industry professionals and an interview. Twenty semi-finalists will take part in an episodic directing workshop and attend networking events. The workshop will begin in June on Sony’s Culver City lot, and the curriculum will consist of six evenings of discussion and instruction from working directors and production personnel. Starting in August, three finalists will have an opportunity to shadow participating TV directors on various series and receive a weekly stipend. Participants be invited back to direct an episode of a scripted SPT series the following season. “Diversity on all levels is a central focus to many of our programs,” said Paul Martin, SVP and Chief Diversity Officer at Sony Pictures Entertainment, “and we fully believe that the Diverse Directors Program will not only provide access and experience to a diverse group of potential directors but will also become a key component … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Breakthrough Entertainment Acquires Joker Films; ‘The Young And The Restless’, ‘Days Of Our Lives’ Renewed In Canada

Breakthrough Entertainment Acquires Joker Films
Toronto-based Breakthrough Entertainment has acquired sales, packaging, and production company Joker Breakthrough-Entertainment__140508045342-275x183Films. Joker’s lineup of family films, thrillers, comedies and docus will be folded into Breakthrough’s catalog including Kristen Bell starrer The Lifeguard; That Burning Feeling, starring John Cho and Paulo Costanzo; Daydream Nation, starring Josh Lucas and Andie MacDowell; and Step Dogs. As part of the deal, Joker founder Tim J. Brown will join Breakthrough as EVP Feature Films, overseeing film acquisition, sales and marketing, and development and production. He’ll report to Breakthrough President of Distribution Nat Abraham and work out of the company’s Vancouver office. Before founding Joker Films in 2009, Brown was President of Distribution at Insight Releasing and VP Worldwide Sales at Keystone Distribution.

‘The Young And The Restless’, ‘Days Of Our Lives’ Renewed In Canada
Days-of-our-Lives-cropThe_Young_and_the_Restless_logo_on_CBS_(1973)Sony Pictures Television and Shaw Media have inked a deal to extend the Canadian run of veteran daytime dramas The Young And The Restless and Days Of Our Lives on Shaw-owned Global Television through the 2015-16 TV season. Now in its 41st year on air, The Young And The Restless has amassed 123 Daytime Emmy Awards and leads this year nominees with 26. It is produced by Bell Dramatic Serial Company in association with Sony Pictures Television. Days of our Lives, in its 49th year, has garnered 36 Daytime Emmy Awards … Read More »

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MIPTV: MTG, Sony Pictures Television In Content Deal For Scandinavia That Addresses Region’s Scheduling Issues

By | Sunday April 6, 2014 @ 11:59pm PDT

mip tv logo 2With the proliferation of content coming from Hollywood, Scandinavia has been facing a linear scheduling issue, exacerbated over the past couple of years under volume deals with the studios. In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Modern Times Group and Sony Pictures Television are looking to address the situation with an exclusive multi-year content cooperation deal. The agreement will give MTG’s 10 Nordic free-TV channels, Viasat movie channels and Viaplay online platform the ability to offer Sony movies and TV series across the region. Read More »

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Sony Pictures Television Launches Northern Ireland Production Company Stellify Media

Sony_Pictures_Television_p__121119113410In a further move to increase its position in the booming UK production sector, Sony Pictures Television is teaming with execs Kieran Doherty and Matt Worthy to launch Stellify Media. The Belfast-based joint venture is SPT’s first move into production in Northern Ireland which has been the focus of increased attention ever since HBO’s Game Of Thrones set up shop there. Stellify will produce entertainment content for UK broadcasters and international export. It will also collaborate with SPT’s other production companies on development. UK shows and formats will be exported by SPT’s distribution arm. Doherty and Worthy created the international quiz format Secret Fortune (BBC One) and the reality gameshow format Take The Money And Run, which aired on ABC in the States. Most recently, they developed quiz pilots You Against The Nation for BBC One and Divide & Conquer for Channel 4. SPT’s chief creative officer of international production, Wayne Garvie, said, “Northern Ireland is fast becoming a hotspot for international production and at Sony we’re really excited about becoming part of the region’s creative community and launching exciting, global hits.” SPT’s UK production business also includes Victory Television, Gogglebox Entertainment, Silver River Productions, Left Bank Pictures and the recently announced joint venture with Karl Warner, Electric Ray. The addition of Stellify brings SPT’s stable of international production companies to 18 in 12 countries.

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Comedy Writer Erik Sommers Inks Overall Deal With Sony TV

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 1:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

sommersErik Sommers, co-creator of CBS’ multi-camera odd couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros, has signed an overall deal with the studio behind it, Sony Pictures TV. Cuz-Bros, which Sommers co-wrote with Happy Endings creator David Caspe, stars Geoff Stults as a successful, suave ladies man whose perfect life gets turned upside down when his mess of a cousin needs a place to stay. Sommers and Caspe executive produce with Fanfare’s Jamie Tarses. This marks the first overall pact with Sommers, a rising star at Sony TV, which has been impressed by his stints as a co-executive producer on the studio’s comedy series Happy Endings and Community as well as his development. This season, Sommers sold two comedies, Cuz-Bros to CBS and a medical half-hour to ABC with Will Gluck producing. UTA-repped Sommers started his career in animation with stints on Drawn Together and American Dad!

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ITV Orders Full Series Of Horror-Themed Game Show ‘Release The Hounds’

Release-The-HoundsHorror/game show hybrid Release The Hounds debuted as a Halloween special on the UK’s ITV2 last year. The one-off episode received positive notices for the premise, and an outpouring of interest on Twitter. ITV has now commissioned a six-episode series to be produced by Sony Pictures Television‘s UK production joint venture Gogglebox. Production starts on the hourlong show this spring. It will be fronted by UK TV personality Reggie Yates. Release The Hounds mixes two genres by sending unsuspecting contestants into a forest at dusk as they seek out chests full of prize money. In order to win big after a series of challenges, they must outrun a pack of hounds trained to guard the cash. Gogglebox created the series with Sony Pictures Television distributing the format internationally; it’s currently in discussions with other territories. Executive producers are Gogglebox founders Adam Wood and Mat Steiner.

Related: Collective Digital Studio To ‘Release The Hounds’ On The World For Halloween

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Kyle Chandler To Star In Netflix’s Thriller Drama Series From Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, Glenn Kessler & Sony TV

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 4:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Kyle ChandlerEXCLUSIVE: Sought-after TV leading man Kyle Chandler is off the market for this coming pilot season. I’ve learned that the Friday Night Lights alum, who already had received a ton of pilot offers, has signed on to star in Netflix‘s 13-episode psychological thriller from Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler and Sony Pictures TV. Written and executive produced by the Kessler brothers and Zelman in their follow-up to the acclaimed FX/DirecTV legal thriller starring Glenn Close, the untitled series centers on a family of adult siblings whose secrets and scars are revealed when the black sheep oldest brother returns home. Netflix and Sony would not comment, but I hear Chandler will play the married middle brother who takes care of the family. The deal comes after a lengthy courtship, with the project landing Chandler for the role that he had been considered the prototype for. Filming is slated to begin in late March in the Florida Keys.

Related: Netflix Orders Series ‘Marco Polo’ From Weinstein Co.
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Sony Pictures Television, Karl Warner Launch UK Production Outfit Electric Ray

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 2:15am PST

sptFormer BBC entertainment commissioner Karl Warner and Sony Pictures Television are partnering to create London-based production company, Electric Ray. Warner will run the new venture as managing director. The plan is for Electric Ray to produce content for UK broadcasters and international export across the factual entertainment and entertainment genres. Electric Ray will also collaborate with SPT’s U.S. and international production companies on development. SPT’s distribution arm will handle sales of Electric Ray’s slate. The UK is a hotbed of TV production these days with the studios backing local companies to access talent and new content. SPT’s UK production business also includes Victory Television, Gogglebox Entertainment, Silver River Productions and Left Bank Pictures. Warner was the BBC’s youngest ever commissioning editor, and greenlit and executive produced such shows as Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, game show Reflex, Junior Doctors, World’s Craziest Fools and The Undercover Princes. He resigned from the BBC last summer. The development team at Electric Ray will be run by Thomas O’Brien who helped create E4′s Party House and ITV2′s The Magaluf Weekender in his previous roles at Room 414 and Two Four. The company name is taken from the nickname given to Karl’s father, Raymond, who was an electrician.

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Mike Sikowitz Signs New Overall Deal With Sony TV

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 6:22pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

mikesijowitz_20110412061752-241x300EXCLUSIVE: Comedy writer-producer Mike Sikowitz is staying at Sony Pictures Television with a new overall deal. Under the rich seven-figure pact, which I hear is for three years, he will continue to develop projects for the studio. Sikowitz was among Sony’s most prolific writers last development season, landing two pilot orders, for Welcome To The Family at NBC and Divorce at ABC. The first went to series that aired on Thursday last fall, and the second came close to a series pickup, with ABC keeping it in contention past May and Sony extending the options on the cast. Sikowitz, repped by ICM Partners and attorney Michael Gendler, previously served as an executive producer on Sony’s long-running CBS comedy series Rules Of Engagement. His credits also include CBS’ The Class, Fox’s Grounded for Life and NBC’s Friends.

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‘The Queen Latifah Show’ Officially Renewed For Second Season

By | Monday January 6, 2014 @ 10:09am PST
Nellie Andreeva

queenlatifahWith NATPE fast approaching, syndicators are firming up plans for next fall. Like Katie last season, Sony Pictures Television‘s freshman talk show The Queen Latifah Show had a two-year deal, so its renewal was considered a formality. It is now official, with the talker renewed by the CBS Station Group for a second season and cleared across 97% of the country through 2015. “We are proud to have the CBS stations as our partners as we continue to build The Queen Latifah Show into a franchise brand,” said John Weiser, SPT’s President, U.S. Distribution. The Queen Latifah Show, produced by Flavor Unit, Overbrook Entertainment and SPT, has not been a breakout, and its ratings have been so-so, but it still ranks as this season’s #1 new talk show. It has improved its time period in New York where Queen Latifah delivered the best 9 AM time period rating  in adults 25-54 on WCBS in 14 years this November. Read More »

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From Pariah To Company MVP: The Quiet Rise Of Sony’s TV Division

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 5:40pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

In October 2001, then-Sony Corp of America CEO Howard Stringer declared that the network production business “doesn’t make any sense anymore,” effectively closing the studio’s primetime TV division, Columbia TriStar Television. Overall deals were dissolved, executives were let go, and the development slate was trashed in a move Sony projected would save it more that $100 million a year. Sony‘s syndication TV chief Steve Mosko was tapped to head a stripped-down TV unit, Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (renamed Sony Pictures TV in 2002), which consisted primarily of syndication/daytime and modest international operations.

Related: Sony Pictures To Shift Emphasis From Movies To TV

Today, 12 years later, Stringer’s successor Michael Lynton announced that the company will make “a significant shift in emphasis from motion pictures to higher-margin television.” This is Sony’s biggest public acknowledgement to date of the growing significance of its TV business, which has been rapidly expanding during the past decade, mainly under the radar. Sony does not separate its movie and TV revenues, but it has been well known that TV has contributed well over 50% of Sony Entertainment’s operating income for the past couple of years, with some indicating that the TV group’s contribution may be over 60%, especially with the film division going through a rough time. While there have been profit stalwarts, like Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Days Of Our Lives, The Young & The Restless and the Seinfeld off-network rights, there also have been new areas of growth. The biggest revenue driver has been Sony’s international TV networks, which have expanded to 127 channels in 150 countries, up from 78 and 83 a decade ago.

Related:
Sony TV Execs Talk Up Global Opportunities
Sony Pictures TV, Simon Andreae Launch UK Prod’n Outfit Scarlet Media

As the biggest profit generator likely for the entire Sony Entertainment, the international network group is likely to get the lion’s share of the additional resources the company will be committing to its TV operations, to go toward new investments and growing the existing channels. But TV production also is expected to get a boost. After the bloodbath of 2001, it took awhile for Sony to get back in the network business. The studio took a different approach than the one that got it into financial trouble in the first place — signing a lot of pricey overall deals and spending a ton on development and pilots to support them with little to show for it in terms of on-air series. Burned by the volume network business, Sony forged its way into the then-uncharted world of basic cable original programming with FX’s The Shield, which it distributed internationally, Rescue Me, Damages and Justified and AMC’s Breaking Bad. It gradually returned to network TV with modest hits such as Rules Of Engagement and Community.

Related: Sony CEO: Entertainment Is “Crucial” To Company
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Sony TV Execs Talk Up Global Opportunities

Sony has its eye on television, telling investors that it will become more central to its entertainment strategy. That’s a change from a few years ago, Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko says: The Japanese company couldn’t buy television stations in the U.S. and had “no cohesive global strategy.” But he says Sony has turned that around and now benefits from its freedom to produce TV shows for anyone, and seize opportunities in growing overseas economies. Echoing the theme of the day, Mosko says that his operation “will keep a close eye on controlling costs.” That shouldn’t affect its ability to attract talent: People know that “we will make the success of their show our top prioritiy,” says Zack Van Amburg U.S. programming and production chief. For example, Breaking Bad likely will generate 10 times the revenues originally expected. Production has already begun on a sequel for AMC, Better Call Saul, and “it will be profitable from year one.” Execs also say that The Blacklist is the No. 1 show worldwide, including in Australia, Canada, Latin America, and the UK. To underscore the range of opportunities, the company pointed to direct-to-series orders from Netflix (for a family murder mystery series), Starz (for Outlander, created by Ron Moore), SyFy (Helix, also from Moore), and CBS (Battle Creek from David Shore … Read More »

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Fox Buys Parents Comedy From Greg Malins & Marcus Wiley

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 6:38pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Friends and How I Met Your Mother alum Greg Malins has teamed with former Fox co-head of comedy Marcus Wiley for Odd Couple Families, a half-hour project that has sold to Fox with penalty. The comedy — produced by Sony Pictures TV, where Malins is under an overall deal — landed at Fox as part of Wiley’s first-look development deal at the network where he was an executive for more than five years until departing in July to segue to producing. Written and exec produced by Malins, Odd Couple Families explores the reality of people spending the most time with the parents of their kids’ friends whether they like it or not. It revolves around two couples and two divorced parents who are forced together, inextricably linked by the connection created by their kids. This marks the most significant sale thus far for Wiley’s new production company, which has set up several broadcast comedy and drama projects. It represents Malins’ third sale this season, joining comedies The Worst Best Thing at Fox and Half at NBC. He is is repped by WME and Hansen, Jacobson. While at Fox, Wiley was instrumental in the development of New Girl, The Mindy Project, Raising Hope, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Bob’s Burgers. Read More »

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Hot TV Teaser: ‘Release The Hounds’ Horror-Themed Game Show

By | Wednesday October 16, 2013 @ 7:36am PDT

ITV has dropped the first teaser for its horror/game show hybrid Release The Hounds. Created by Sony Pictures Television‘s Gogglebox, the one-hour show mixes the two genres by sending unsuspecting contestants into a forest at dusk as they seek out chests full of prize money. Among the scary challenges they face is reading bedtime stories in the “nursery from hell” which the clip below depicts. The ultimate challenge is to outrun a pack of hounds who are trained to guard the cash. Sony played up the show during the recent Mipcom TV market in Cannes where every evening at 5 PM the sound of hounds barking blared over the loudspeaker system at its beachside pavillion. A U.S. broadcaster has yet to board Release The Hounds, but it gets moving on the UK’s ITV2 on October 28th at 10 PM local.

Related: SonyTV Launches Horror Game Show ‘Release The Hounds’

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ABC Buys Paul Scheer Relationship Comedy

By | Friday September 20, 2013 @ 4:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ABC has put in development an untitled single-camera comedy from NTSF:SD:SUV:: creator/executive producer/star Paul Scheer. Written by Scheer and produced by Sony Pictures TV and Will Gluck‘s studio-based Olive Bridge, the project centers on a couple trying to keep their relationship together while juggling the dynamics of multiple sets of parents, their spouses and their children. Scheer is executive producing with Olive Bridge’s Gluck and Richie Schwartz as well as former 30 Rock writer-producers Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan who are under an overall deal at Sony TV. Scheer, repped by UTA and Principato Young, is a cast member and writer on FXX’s The League and creator of web series ArScheerio Paul.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Wind Rises’ No. 1 Again In Japan; Syfy Bringing ‘The Originals’ To UK; More

‘The Wind Rises’ Makes It Eight Straight Weeks At No. 1 In Japan
Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises is still No. 1 at the Japanese box office after eight consecutive weekends. The Studio Ghibli release was up 13.6% this weekend after the director made his retirement official at a press conference in Tokyo last week. Per FilmBizAsia, the movie has taken in $97.2M to date. The website says that the last domestic movie to stay atop the box office for more than seven weeks in a row was Bayside Shakedown 2 in 2003. Miyazaki’s Oscar winner Spirited Away was tops for 16 consecutive weeks in 2001. Disney said Wednesday that it will open the film February 21 in North America after an Oscar-qualifying run in November. Read More »

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