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Former Sony Pictures Television Chief Steve Mosko Nears Deal to Join Studio 8 (EXCLUSIVE)

Steve Mosko is in serious negotiations to become partners with Jeff Robinov in his Studio 8 venture and to head the company’s television division, Variety has learned.

A deal with Mosko has yet to be signed, but insiders describe the talks as nearing the final stages.

Studio 8 is looking to raise more capital, so plans call for the would-be partners to make presentations to investors as early as February. They may also approach potential new strategic partners, sources say. Mosko’s expected hire comes after Katherine Pope, the executive Robinov originally tapped to lead the television efforts, left Studio 8 this month to become head of original content at Charter Communications. However, Mosko will not simply be an employee of Studio 8, as Pope was for the past two and a half years, but an equal partner whose purview will be much more expansive, according to people familiar with the matter. While Mosko, a TV veteran, will focus on small screen projects, and Robinov on the movies, the two are expected to work collaboratively and run the company in tandem.

Mosko’s landing spot has been a topic of intense speculation since he was forced out at Sony Pictures TV in June 2016 after negotiations broke down about a contract extension. At one point, Mosko was in preliminary talks with Sinclair Broadcast Group about coming on board in a senior management capacity. He was introduced six months to Robinov, the former head of Warner Bros.’ film division by the Raine Group, an L.A.-based investment bank, and the two have been talking about joining forces. They believe that Mosko’s strong relationships in the creative community and track record of creating popular television shows will compliment Robinov’s deep bench of film contacts, and could help the company grow.

Mosko had an impressive 24-year run at Sony, where he rose to become the television division’s chairman. While there, Mosko rejuvenated the TV studio’s primetime production division, shepherding a number of major hits such as NBC’s “The Blacklist,” while also building up a pipeline of cable and streaming shows such as AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” and Netflix’s “Bloodline.”

Studio 8 was founded in 2014 and is backed by Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group. Its television efforts have been slow starting, and the company’s film efforts have been similarly paltry. It has yet to release a film that it has developed internally, though it did invest in the Ang Lee flop “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” Studio 8’s upcoming releases include the prehistoric action thriller “Alpha” and the Matthew McConaughey crime drama “White Boy Rick.”

Ironically, Sony, Mosko’s former home, distributes Studio 8’s films, but that pact expires this coming fall. Sony also maintains a small investment in the company. If the deal with Mosko comes to pass, the partners may look for a new distributor to replace Sony.

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