President of Sony Pictures Television Studios Katherine Pope recently admitted that Hollywood Studios do indeed prop up shows that are money losers if they are deemed “relevant.”
Pope, who was announced as Sony Pictures Television Studios President back in July after being the Head of Original Content at Charter Communications, specifically oversees all of Sony’s domestic scripted productions.
As part of a press release Global Television Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment Corporate Development Chairman Ravi Ahuja explained Pope’s role, “Katherine has proven herself as a dynamic leader with impeccable taste and the ability to successfully develop and produce content that resonates with audiences. She is an excellent fit for this role and I’m delighted that she has chosen to join us at SPT.”
He added, “Katherine brings vast experience that will help us build on the overall strength of our global production capabilities at the studio. With Katherine leading our scripted production business in the U.S. and Wayne Garvie leading our international production business, we have an incredible leadership team dedicated to working with the industry’s top talent to produce undeniable content around the world.”
In a recent interview with Deadline, Pope confirmed what many critics of modern woke Hollywood have been saying for years: that major Hollywood studios are eating large losses in order to indoctrinate viewers with woke messaging.
When asked whether or not Sony not having its own streaming service makes the studio vulnerable among networks cutting their programming Pope answered, “I think this slimdown is hitting everyone, and I think it’s forcing all of us to raise our game. I don’t feel like we’re particularly vulnerable.”
She then revealed, “Sometimes mandates change, it’s heartbreaking and there’s really nothing you can do about it, and other times, something is so relevant that they couldn’t possibly make a bottom line, money decision against it because they just love the show so much.”
Pope then declared, ” I think we’ve got to continue to make the shows relevant and important and well produced.”
Not only did Pope reveal that Hollywood studios do indeed eat losses in order to push programming they deem “relevant,” but she also discussed Sony’s plans when it comes to developing IP.
When asked what her favorite IP was, she noted, “That’s always the challenge with adapting IP, I think people somehow think it’s an easier job to develop IP, but, in many ways, it’s harder than coming up with an original idea because you have to know what is core, the most incredibly foundational pieces of the source material.”
“And then you also have to know what isn’t going to work for an entertaining TV show, and you really have to allow it to become its own thing,” Pope asserted.
She specifically discussed the upcoming God of War adaptation saying it “is still in the early stages.”
She added, “I know the game pretty well, and I’m so impressed with what they’re already doing in terms of building out that world and expanding, keeping all the values of the game but also expanding it so that if you don’t know the game, it’s still going to be a really satisfying show on its own.”
Pope also indicated that Cobra Kai might continue in another form following the series’ sixth and final season.
When asked if the new Karate Kid movie is how the Cobra Kai universe expands, Pope replied, “They have some ideas in terms of expanding Cobra Kai and coming at the Karate Kid legacy in different ways. But yes, the movie is a good example too. It’s all of these.”
She continued, “I think we’ve all learned these worlds can exist together and they can feel cohesive and they can feel additive, especially for the fans, and feel like big, big worlds that exist on lots of different levels, they don’t necessarily all exist in the same plane.”
“Audiences are so savvy now and accepting multiple levels of the IP so the Cobra Kai universe lives on, that’s for sure,” she posited.
She also noted that The Boys franchise that airs on Prime Video will also be expanding “in multiple ways.”
The company previously produced an animated anthology series titled The Boys Presents: Diabolical. They also announced a spin-off series titled Gen V back in December at Brazil’s CCXP.
A press release explained the series is “set at America’s only college exclusively for young adult superheroes (run by Vought International), Gen V explores the lives of hormonal, competitive Supes as they put their physical, sexual, and moral boundaries to the test, competing for the school’s top ranking.”
The cast includes Jaz Sinclair, Chance Perdomo, Lizze Broadway, Shelley Conn, Maddie Phillips, London Thor, Derek Luh, Asa Germann, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Marco Pigossi. It also includes Clancy Brown, Alexander Calvert, and Jason Ritter,
The series will also feature guest appearances from Jessie T. Usher, Colby Minifie, and P.J. Byrne reprising their roles from The Boys.
Pope concluded the in-depth interview by revealing one of the biggest challenges she hopes to solve: the amount of time between releases of new seasons.
She explained, “The thing I’ve tasked myself and the teams with this year is examining the time — somebody was calling it slippage — the way in which these shows can be as much as two years in between seasons. They can take 16 months to two years for the entire production cycle for a season, and we’re talking about eight to 10 episodes.”
“These shows are big, some of them are giant, they might as well be blockbuster movies every episode, but at the same time, it’s not great for the fans to have that big period of time in between,” she asserted.
Pope went on, “It’s awkward because the platforms have to re-market a show two years after the previous season came out, and it’s not great for us as producers to have these shows that we can’t repeat in any kind of compressed timeline.”
“I don’t think it’s good for creators either because they end up spending so much time on each season. It’s all about making sure that we’re protecting the show, and for the creator it’s their time and effort and their ability to tell the stories over multiple seasons, which is the art and the beauty of TV, it’s a novelization of the characters’ stories. When we lose that, we start to lose a key foundational part of our medium,” she declared.
Pope concluded, “So that’s something we are focused on, trying to bring a little more production and timeline hustle to the whole process, just to make sure that these shows get to the fans as quickly as they can.”
Pope’s comments here also fly in the face of much of the narrative surrounding the failure of Disney’s Star Wars, where both Kathleen Kennedy and Bob Iger claimed the problem with Star Wars was they were releasing too many films, too quickly rather than examining their obvious poor quality.
Instead of wanting to spread the shows out as Kennedy and Iger previously indicated, Pope is making it abundantly clear here she wants the TV shows to have faster turnaround time so Sony doesn’t have to remarket the show after a two year or more break to let their audiences know the show has returned.
What do you make of Pope’s revelations about Hollywood?