Sony Pictures Television Inc. (SPT) is an American television production/distribution studio that operates internationally and is part of the Sony Pictures Entertainmentunit of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is based in Culver City, California.
In addition to the Sony Pictures Entertainment film library, SPT owns and distributes shows from Tandem Productions, ELP Communications, TeleVentures, Merv Griffin Enterprises, Four D Productions, Barris Industries, Barry & Enright Productions, Stewart Television, and 2waytraffic. It is a joint owner of Game Show Network with DirecTV, owns the Crackle digital service, and jointly owns the rights to most of the post-1947 Bob Hope film library with FremantleMedia.
SPT owns production or distribution rights in many comedies and dramas spanning over six decades, including titles like I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Gidget, The Monkees, the 1959 Dennis the Menace series, Who's the Boss?, Married... with Children, Designing Women, Seinfeld, The King of Queens, Community, Rules of Engagement, Breaking Bad and The Blacklist. The company also produces Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, the two longest-running and highest-rated game shows in syndication; two daytime talk shows, The Dr. Oz Show and The Queen Latifah Show; the reality shows Shark Tank and The Sing-Off; and two long-running soap operas, NBC's Days of Our Lives and CBS's The Young and the Restless.
In 2009, SPT collaborated with Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD) and Dr. Mehmet Oz on Sharecare, an online platform where users have their health and wellness-related questions answered by industry experts and such institutions as AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins University. Additional co-founders in Sharecare include Harpo Productions, Discovery Communications, and HSW International.
As of 2015, it's the world's largest television production company measured by library and revenue (along with Warner Bros. Television).
SPT's history goes back to 1947, when Pioneer Telefilms was founded by Ralph Cohn, whose father Jack and uncle Harry co-founded Columbia Pictures. Pioneer was bought by Columbia and renamed Screen Gems in 1948, reincorporated as Columbia Pictures Television on May 6, 1974, and merged with sister studio TriStar Television (formed in 1986 and relaunched in 1991) to form Columbia TriStar Television on February 21, 1994. The present name was given to reflect the Sony brand on September 16, 2002.
On November 24, 2004, Sony Pictures Television International formed a joint venture called Huaso with Hua Long Film Digital Production Co., Ltd. of the China Film Group in Beijing.
From 2005 to 2006, SPT was the distributor of MGM's TV and film library, due in part to the Sony-led consortium's purchase of MGM. In 2006, SPT joined forces with Program Partners to handle ad-sales and distribution rights to foreign television series in the U.S., mostly shows produced in Canada. The same year, SPT signed Embassy Row a 3-year deal with for new game shows, game show revivals, and scripted and non-scripted series.
In Summer 2007, SPT introduced The Minisode Network, a digital channel for MySpace airing shows from the 1960s to early 2000s from four to five minutes. In Winter 2007, The Minisode Network was also added to a few more sites like AOL TV, YouTube, and its sister site Crackle.
On March 27, 2008, SPT International acquired a minority stake in the new production company Gogglebox Entertainment, a production company founded by two former Lion Television executives, Matt Steiner and Adam Wood. On June 4, 2008, SPT bought Hilversum, Netherlands-based production company 2waytraffic, international holders of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise.
On January 14, 2009, SPT acquired Embassy Row, a television and digital production company by British television producer Michael Davies. Fourteen days later, SPTI acquired a 50% stake in Colombian independent TV production company Teleset. Three months later on April 1, Sony Pictures Entertainment consolidated its US and international television divisions into one roof. Sony Pictures Television International now operates in-name-only.
On June 23, 2011, SPT formed Victory Television, a London-based television production company jointly owned by Victoria Ashbourne, SPT's senior vice president of creative development for international production. (Not to be confused with Jim Victory Television, a defunct syndication company previously owned by MTM Enterprises.) On September 25, 2011, Andrea Wong was tapped to head the international television production division of Sony Pictures Television to oversee all international businesses for the studio.
On January 19, 2012, SPT acquired Dolphin Broadcast Services Ltd. and merged it into its existing UK networks business. SPT also took a majority stake in Dolphin's advertising sales business. On March 1, 2012, SPT acquired a majority stake in UK independent production company Silver River Productions. On May 31, SPT launched Sony Movie Channel and AXN in Canada in partnership with Hollywood Suite. Two of Hollywood Suite's networks: Hollywood Festival re-launched as Sony Movie Channel and Hollywood Storm as AXN Movies on September 4, 2012. On August 23, 2012, SPT acquired a majority stake in Left Bank Pictures, a UK production company founded by Andy Harries, Francis Hopkinson, and Marigo Kehoe.
On August 22, 2013, Sony Pictures Television acquired a majority stake in Simon Andrae's new production company Scarlet Media. However, two months later, Andrae dropped his plans for Scarlet and was tapped to become executive vice-president of alternative entertainment for Fox. On December 16, 2013, Tuvalu Media joined forces with financing firm Karmign and acquired SPT's 60% stakes to regain independence. SPT acquired 60% in Tuvalu in 2008.
On January 15, 2014, former BBC entertainment commissioner Karl Warner teamed up with SPT to launch Electric Ray, which will collaborate with SPT in the U.S. and abroad on development for entertainment and informative programming. All of Electric Ray's programming will be exported by SPT. The company's name comes from the nickname for Warner's father, who was an electrician. On March 20, 2014, SPT joined forces with execs Kieran Doherty and Matt Worthy to form Stellify Media. The new venture will be based in Northern Ireland. Just like Electric Ray, Stellify Media will collaborate with SPT's other production companies and UK shows and formats will be exported by SPT's distribution arm. On June 26, 2014, SPT announced to acquire CSC Media Group including 16 of its cable channels. The deal closed on August 15, 2014. On December 1, 2014, SPT acquired Australian drama production company, Playmaker Media.
On July 26, 2014, Liberty Global announced that it had put Film1 up for sale. Liberty Global agreed to sell Film1 to Sony Pictures Television on March 27, 2015. The sale was completed on July 21, 2015.
On May 28, 2015, TriStar Television was re-launched as a boutique production label for Sony Pictures Television. The revived studio will be ran by Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs after being in-name-only for 15 years. The first new series will be The Good Girls Revolt and is set to be piloted for Amazon. On September 28, 2015, Steve Mosko was promoted to chairman of SPT. He held the position as president of the television studio since 2000 when it was known as Columbia TriStar Television.
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