Jeff Lerner, the executive who shaped Sony Pictures Television’s scripted remakes business, bringing “Everybody Loves Raymond” to Russia and “Mad About You” to Argentina, is leaving the studio, Variety has learned.
The outgoing executive is well-regarded in international drama circles, notably in the scripted formats business. In Sony’s case, that effort has led to foreign broadcasters making local versions of “Breaking Bad” and a host of other U.S. drama and sitcoms.
“Everybody Loves Raymond” got the remake treatment in India, Israel, the Middle East, and Poland, among other territories, during Lerner’s tenure. He was also instrumental in launching SPT’s Russian business and its Moscow office, landing a host of Russian deals and often bringing in U.S. writing talent to help shape the local series.
Russia’s version of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” titled “The Voronins,” has run to more than 400 episodes and 20 seasons. Other U.S. sitcoms receiving local makeovers on Lerner’s watch include “Married With Children,” and “Mad About You,” which was remade in Argentina, and in China for local streamer Youku. However, in recent times, local broadcasters and platforms have moved toward locally originated content instead of remakes of U.S. and international shows.
Lerner is leaving Sony to focus on production. He joined the Culver City-based studio in 1998 as a production VP, rising to EVP for scripted programming and international production at SPT.
Sony confirmed Lerner’s departure. Wayne Garvie, president of international production for SPT, told Variety: “Jeff has been a much-respected member of the Sony International Production team, and he leaves with our best wishes and hope that he will join us on projects in the future.”
Before joining Sony, Lerner was a story editor on MTV reality series “The Real World” and, prior to that, produced NBC shows “The Other Side” and “Santa Barbara.” He cut his teeth internationally as head of development at French producer Tele Images.
Sony rejigged its international production team earlier this year in a shakeup that saw Richard Parsons become EVP of operations, Brendan Fitzgerald rejoin Sony as SVP of international co-productions, and Cheryl Lynch upped to EVP of international business affairs.