Longtime Leaders Zack Van Amburg, Jamie Erlicht Exit Sony Pictures Television

Zack Van Amburg, Jamie Erlicht Exit Sony Pictures Television
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

Sony Pictures Television presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht are exiting the company, Variety has learned.

The two executives will leave Sony later this summer to pursue a new project. No replacement has yet been named. It’s unclear if Sony has an internal successor ready to take the helm of the production unit that is crucial to the studio’s bottom line.

Both Van Amburg and Erlicht are said to be out of the country on vacation this week.

Van Amburg and Erlicht, Sony veterans who have worked in tandem for years, exit the company one year after the departure of longtime television chief Steve Mosko. Van Amburg and Erlicht took over responsibility for all of Sony’s U.S. television production after Mosko’s departure, reporting directly to then-Sony Pictures Entertainment head Michael Lynton. The executives had served as co-presidents of U.S. programming and production since 2005.

Van Amburg and Erlicht are credited with building a roster of creative talent at the studio, including showrunners Vince Gilligan (“Better Call Saul,” “Breaking Bad”), Ronald Moore (“Outlander”), Shawn Ryan and David Shore, among others. They last renewed their contracts in 2014, believed to be a three-year deal at the time.

The pair have deftly grown Sony TV’s portfolio of shows by branching out into streaming series (Netflix’s “The Crown,” Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete”) and international productions such as the upcoming Channel 4 series “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” which will air in the U.S. on Amazon.

Van Amburg and Erlicht are well regarded for managing a mix of prestige shows and broadcast series such as CBS’ new action-drama “SWAT” and comedy “Kevin Can Wait” and the ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs.” Sony TV’s new broadcast series for the 2017-18 season include ABC comedy “Alex Inc.” and ABC drama “The Good Doctor.”

Unlike its largest competitors, Sony TV does not have the advantage of a vertically integrated broadcast network in the same corporate family, which makes the job of selling and maintaining shows tough in an environment where networks are increasingly focused on content ownership.

In recent years, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s profits have overwhelmingly been fueled by success on the television side, in contrast to red ink from the film division.

Van Amburg and Erlicht worked their way up the creative ranks since joining Sony Pictures TV’s predecessor, Columbia TriStar TV. Van Amburg has been with the studio since 1997 while Erlicht joined in 2002.

Van Amburg and Erlicht’s departure was announced Thursday in a memo from newly appointed Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who joined the company last month to replace Lynton.

Read Vinciquerra’s memo below:

Good afternoon:

I want to make you all aware that Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht will be leaving Sony Pictures Television later this summer to begin a new chapter in their extraordinary careers.

Zack and Jamie have been instrumental in the growth of Sony Pictures Television over the last several years – particularly over the last year as they took on a greater leadership role alongside Keith Le Goy, President of Distribution; Amy Carney, President, Advertiser Sales, Strategy & Research; and Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks.

Until a replacement is named for Zack and Jamie, I will be working closely with our existing leadership team to ensure a seamless transition.

I want to wish Zack and Jamie all the best. While we are sad to see them go, we are excited by the opportunity to work with them as partners in the future.