You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sagansky Delivers Declaration for TV Independents at IFTA

TV’s appetite for scripted product has the potential to yield “a golden age of independent television,” former CBS Entertainment chief Jeff Sagansky told attendees at the Independent Film & Television Alliance conference on Friday.

Sagansky, who is currently chairman of Hemisphere Film Capital, cited a confluence of events – including the 65-70 U.S. channels or platforms currently ordering scripted series, and the “explosion” of multichannel households globally – as drivers, saying, “The table has been set for the biggest revolution that the independent television production marketplace has ever seen.”

Sagansky noted that independents have acquired an advantage because of the cost pressures on the marketplace and the high overhead of the major studios. The tax credits offered by various states and countries are also a major boon to financing production efforts, he said.

Sagansky counseled producers to develop a broad range of network relationships, both in the U.S. and abroad. Still, he suggested there is particular demand for the experience of U.S. writers in producing series that can fulfill longer orders than the limited productions normally lensed in the U.K. and elsewhere. “Our writers have a lot of know-how. We have to use it,” Sagansky said, calling this “a unique moment.”

For many years, independent producers have been in decline, squeezed out of the scripted primetime production game by the decline of the TV movie business and the elimination in the 1990s of the financial interest and syndication rules (or fin-syn), which placed restrictions on how much of their programming networks could own and produce.

Several U.S. TV writers have turned to international co-productions to finance their work, and even the major networks have become more receptive to acquiring series originated abroad.

During a subsequent panel NBC Entertainment Prez of Program Planning Jeff Bader pointed to “Rookie Blue,” a Canadian series that’s been airing in the summer on his former network ABC, as an example, while referencing the networks’ need to “get shows that are at multiple price points” to help balance and reduce the cost of their schedules.

John Penney, exec VP of strategy & business development for Starz, also spoke of new digital distribution platforms such as Netflix providing “a unique shock absorber” to help underwrite TV costs, adding that even with roughly 140 scripted dramas currently being made, the market remains incredibly competitive.

More Biz

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

  • The Blacklist 100th Episode

    'The Blacklist' EP Sues for Wrongful Termination

    A former executive producer of the NBC show “The Blacklist” has filed suit against Sony, alleging he was fired after being wrongfully blamed for a workplace scuffle. Michael Watkins is a veteran TV director and cinematographer. He was an executive producer for several seasons of “The Blacklist,” the NBC crime show starring James Spader. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content