“Steve Mosko, the chairman of Sony Pictures Television, is leaving the company after 24 years,Variety has learned,” report Debra Birnbaum and Cynthia Littleton in a scoop for the entertainment publication.
The story continues, “Mosko had been in negotiations to extend his contract, which expires this year, but failed to come terms with the studio, according to three sources. The 60-year-old executive had just been promoted from president to chairman just last September.”
The story adds, “Sony officials were not immediately available for comment. The shakeup is a surprise given that the TV division is the most successful entity within Sony Pictures at present.”
Reports Brooks Barnes at The New York Times, “The departure of Mr. Mosko came a day after NBC Entertainment pushed out Bela Bajaria as president of Universal Television, which suffered a sharp decline in orders for the fall season, and four months after the ouster of Paul Lee as president of ABC, which has endured quick cancellations and aging hits.”
But Mosko and Sony’s TV story has been in marked contrast to those cases.
As the Times story notes, “Sony Television, which makes shows like ‘Bloodline,’ ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘The Goldbergs’ and ‘Jeopardy,’ has been considered a success, especially compared with Sony’s considerably larger film operation. In some recent years, Mr. Mosko’s unit — left for dead in a 2001 downsizing — has provided more than half of the overall studio’s annual operating income.
“But that imbalance has been a source of frustration for Mr. Mosko, who joined Sony in 1991 after working at local stations in Pennsylvania and Maryland. As a result, it became widely known in Hollywood that his relationship with the person he viewed as responsible for it — his boss, Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment — was increasingly strained.”
Kate Stanhope and Lesley Goldberg write in The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed blog, “The departure comes weeks after the broadcast upfronts, which saw Sony sell five studio shows to the networks, up one from last year. Those new sales include a ‘Blacklist’ spinoff, time-travel drama ‘Timeless’ from Shawn Ryan and Erik Kripke — both for NBC — and Kevin James’ new CBS multicamera comedy ‘Kevin Can Wait.’”
Adds THR, “It’s unclear who will take over Mosko’s post, though Sony Pictures Television presidents of programming and production Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg remain potential candidates.”