×

Sony makes a deal for gameshow libraries

Sony Pictures Entertainment has taken the lead in its race with the Family Channel to launch an interactive cable gameshow channel next year, striking deals with gameshow producers Mark Goodson Prods. and Barry & Enright Prods. for rights to their programming libraries.

Under the agreement announced yesterday at the California Cable TV Assn.’s Western Cable Show in Anaheim, Goodson is receiving an undisclosed equity stake and partnership interest in the Game Show Channel. Goodson topper Jonathan Goodson would not specify the company’s interest in the new venture. He described it as “not a majority, but significant.”

The Game Show Channel, expected to start operations in 1993, is being launched in association with United Video. SPE TV Group president Mel Harris said it is also talking to other “strategic, interested parties” about investment.

Key element in the Goodson agreement is a 10-year, exclusive licensing deal granting the new channel rights to more than 20,000 episodes of programming, including “What’s My Line,””The Price Is Right,””To Tell the Truth” and “Family Feud,” among others. The company described it as “the largest number of programming hours ever licensed to any single broadcast or cable outlet from a single production source in the history of the medium.”

The deal also calls for Goodson to produce new, original gameshows for the channel. It has begun developing some, but the company would not share specifics.

In a separate deal, Sony said it has an agreement to acquire Barry & Enight’s gameshow library. That will bring more than 4,000 episodes to SPE’s library. Included in the B&E library are “The Joker’s Wild” and “Tic Tac Dough.” Pact’s pricetag wasn’t disclosed.

The deals had been in the works for some time. More than two months ago, sources close to the negotiations said Sony had agreements in principle with the two producers (Daily Variety, Sept. 16).

But the negotiations dragged on, reportedly because of Goodson’s conviction that it would not strike an agreement without an equity stake. In addition, the situation was further complicated by the death of Barry & Enright principal Dan Enright.

The Game Show Channel now has a programming library of more than 35,000 episodes from which to start. Sources in the cable industry describe it as a significant advantage for Sony in getting its new channel on cable systems.

Harris said the Game Show Channel will be interactive, to some degree, from day one. But it has not committed to any specific technology. It may use 800- and 900-phone numbers to start, but the company wants to move past that quickly.

So far, Sony has not signed up any cable operators to carry its proposed service, since it has not started pitching it in earnest. Harris said it will begin that process after the first of the year.

Since Sony and the Family Channel announced plans to launch gameshow channels at the National Cable Television Assn. convention in Dallas in May, many observers have said there is only room in the market for one such channel (Daily Variety, May 1 2).

The Family Channel is continuing its efforts to sell the industry on its Game Channel at the Western Cable Show. In an inducement to operators, it’s offering what it terms a “no-cost” licensee guarantee for charter affiliates. MSOs that sign an affiliate agreement before the launch, expected to be at the end of the first quarter 1993, will be eligible to receive reduced fees and increased phone revenues.

More TV

  • Harlots

    ITV Takes Majority Stake in ‘Harlots’ Producer Monumental Television

    ITV Studios now has a controlling stake in Monumental Television, the production company that makes Hulu series “Harlots” and which was founded by Oscar nominated film producers Alison Owen and Debra Hayward. ITV first bought into the company in 2015 and has upped its stake from 26% to 51%. Julian Bellamy, managing director, ITV Studios, [...]

  • Fremantle Owner RTL Group Forms New

    Fremantle Owner RTL Group Forms New Unscripted Formats Unit

    RTL has created a new unit that will work up unscripted formats exclusively for broadcasters and streaming services in the group. Fremantle, which is a major force in unscripted, is part of the RTL Group, and makes shows for RTL and third parties. The new Format Creation Group will develop ideas exclusively for in-house outlets. [...]

  • Pennyworth

    TV Review: 'Pennyworth'

    Is there a law that says there must always be a certain number of Batman properties on air at all times? Just as Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films germinated a fandom that seemed to demand not merely a Ben Affleck Batman but also two different Joker-based franchise, so too did the conclusion of Fox’s “Gotham” [...]

  • She's Gotta Have It Review

    'She's Gotta Have It' Canceled After Two Seasons at Netflix

    Netflix has canceled Spike Lee’s series adaptation of “She’s Gotta Have It.” The show ran for two seasons at the streamer. Lee is expected to shop the series to other outlets. The news comes less than two months after the release of Season 2 back in May. “Spike Lee is one of the greatest filmmakers [...]

  • David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

    'Game of Thrones' Showrunners Will No Longer Attend Comic-Con Panel

    “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with some beloved “Thrones” actors, have canceled their scheduled appearances at San Diego International Comic-Con. Actors Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei of Naath), director Miguel Sapochnik, and dual writer-producers Benioff and Weiss are no longer attending, HBO revealed in a revised panel lineup [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Mr. Robot' Drops

    TV News Roundup: 'Mr. Robot' Drops Season 4 Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, USA releases a trailer for the final season of “Mr. Robot,” Apple plans a “Snoopy in Space” series and Variety has an exclusive clip from Season 3 of Netflix’s “The Epic Tale of Captain Underpants.” CASTING Golden Globe-winner Ian McShane will guest star in the season premiere of “Law & Order: SVU.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content