EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Pope takes over the reins of a major television studio. Pope, who served as head of original content at Charter Communications for the past four and a half years, joins Sony Pictures Television as president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, overseeing all domestic scripted productions. She’s in a rare company of a few other women who have held high-profile positions at the independent television studio, including Barbara Corday, who was president of Columbia Pictures Television in the 1980s, and Helene Michaels, who made a brief stint as President of Network Production for Columbia TriStar TV in 1999-2000. Pope, who takes office on August 22, will succeed Jeff Frost, who announced last month that he would step down after five years in the role.
Pope, who has extensive studio, network and production company experience and ran NBC Universal TV Studios (now Universal Television) 15 years ago, has become an early favorite for the Sony TV Studios job. when Frost was announced for release in early June. The search went through several rounds, and other seasoned executives were considered – the vast majority of them women from what I heard – with Pope remaining at or near the top of the top all the time. the list of candidates.
In his new role, Pope will report to Ravi Ahuja, President, Global Television Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment Corporate Development. She joins the studio just as it has hit an all-time high of over 50 series in production, including hits such as Better Call Saul, The Good Doctor, The Boys, Cobra Kai, The Blacklist, The Goldbergs, Outlander, The Afterparty and The wheel of timebut also faces challenges, as well as opportunities, as an independent studio not affiliated with a linear network or streamer.
“Katherine has proven herself as a dynamic leader with impeccable taste and the ability to successfully develop and produce content that resonates with audiences,” Ahuja said. “She is a perfect fit for this role and I am delighted that she has chosen to join us at SPT.”
Sony TV head of development Jason Clodfelter, co-president of SPT Studios, who recently renewed his contract to continue in his role, will report to Pope. Pope and Clodfelter have known each other for a long time and are said to have a close working relationship.
Sony TV helped put Spectrum Originals on the map with The best of LA after Pope joined Charter in launching the platform. Originally developed for NBC, the Sony TV-produced drama starring Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union marked Pope’s first series commissioned for Spectrum Originals and helped establish a business model for other studios to sell to the new original programming player. Moreover to LA’s Finest, which ran for two seasons, Sony TV also produced the Crazy of you rebirth for the channel and is behind the upcoming high-profile Spectrum Originals limited series A spy among friends, with Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce and Sleevewith Luke Kirby.
Other original series Pope has commissioned from Spectrum include Angela Blackwhich became Spectrum Originals’ most-watched show, as well as the next Tag 23with Lena Headey and Stephan James, and George and Tammy, with Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon.
Prior to joining Charter, Pope ran the TV division of Sony-based Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8. Previously, Pope started the television division of Peter Chernin’s 20th Century Fox-based production company and oversaw all creative development and production and produced series such as new girlwhich ran on Fox for seven seasons.
new girl launched a collaboration between series creator/executive producer Liz Meriwether and Pope. Along with the executive roles she’s held, Pope has served as executive producer on every Liz Meriwether series since. new girl, most recently Hulu The Stall, which has just won five Emmy Award nominations, notably for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series.
Earlier in his career, Pope spent 10 years at NBC Universal. She joined NBC Studios as a primetime series associate, then rose through the ranks to become executive vice president of NBC and president of NBC Universal Television Studios, a position she held for a year and a half. . Among the shows she directed at NBC and NBC Uni TV Studios were Heroes, Friday Night Lights, Home, The Office and 30 Rock. Pope began his career in network news at CBS and ABC News, producing documentaries and specials.
“Katherine brings a wealth of experience that will help us leverage the overall strength of our global production capabilities at the studio. With Katherine leading our scripted production business in the US and Wayne Garvie leading our international production business, we have an incredible management team dedicated to working with the best talent in the industry to produce content undeniable all over the world,” Ahuja said.
At Sony TV, Pope will reunite with the top TV writer-producers she’s worked with in the past, like Accommodation creator David Shore, now developer/executive producer of Sony TV’s hit medical drama the good doctorAmy Lippman and Alex Cary.
“I am thrilled to join the incredibly talented team that Tony and Ravi have assembled at SPT – a studio with the strength, expertise and independence to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing market,” Pope said. “I have long admired the creativity and high quality work that SPT consistently produces and look forward to exploring any opportunities that come our way. I’m excited to get on the court and get started!