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Sony Pictures Television Launches New Boutique Production Unit (EXCLUSIVE)

In an effort to produce quality shows on a leaner budget, Sony Pictures Television is launching a yet-to-be-named boutique TV production label inspired by independent film, Variety has learned exclusively.

Leading the team as head of creative is Marie Jacobson, who was most recently executive vice president of programming and production for the company’s networks group. She will report to Sony Pictures TV Studios president Jeff Frost.

“Think of it as: how do we do independent television?” Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins told Variety in an in-depth interview about the new direction of the studio that included details about the new production unit. “The ethos of it is [that] we’re going to create new TV shows that are high quality but we’re not going to make them the same way we make every other show around here.” 

The idea originated from Sony’s media networks team, which wanted to create original programming for regions such as Central Europe and Latin America, but couldn’t pay the per-episode costs that premium U.S. programmers do.

Instead, the group re-redesigned the production process, taking inspiration from indie film productions and creating templates that incur far lower hourly episodic costs.

The team has already been successful, said Hopkins, ticking off several shows using a similar model that are profitable.

There’s “Absentia,” which was produced for Sony’s international networks; Amazon later bought the U.S. rights for the series, and has renewed it for a second season. Then there’s “Carter,” also produced for

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