Hollywood Goes to Moscow: Sony Pictures Television and the Creation of the Modern Russian Television Industry

Presentation given March 26th, 2015 on the Russian Television industry at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference at the Hotel The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, Quebec.

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Hollywood Goes to Moscow: Sony Pictures Television and the Creation of the Modern Russian Television Industry

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Presentation given March 26th, 2015 on the Russian Television industry at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference at the Hotel The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, Quebec.
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Slide Content
  1. Sony Pictures Television and the creation of the Modern Russian television industry

    Slide 1 - Sony Pictures Television and the creation of the Modern Russian television industry

    • Jeffrey Brassard. University of Alberta. jrbrassard@ualberta.ca
    • Presented March
    • 26th, 2015 at SCMS
    • 2015 in Montreal, PQ
  2. Why Sony went into Russia

    Slide 2 - Why Sony went into Russia

    • Making pilots for the American market was expensive & risky
    • Best opportunity to monetize existing intellectual property was outside the U.S
    • All of the U.S Major studios attempted some form of local language production
    • Sony brought production experience from U.S and elsewhere to Russia
    • Mark Lorber
    • Former Sony format consultant
  3. Investing in the market

    Slide 3 - Investing in the market

    • “If they think that you’re just there to make money and to bugger off then I don’t think they’re going to be interested in you. “
    • – Simon Tucker
    • Sony entered the market first
    • They have been willing to re-invest profits
    • Purchased LEAN-M in 2006
  4. Sony’s Role in Training Russian writers

    Slide 4 - Sony’s Role in Training Russian writers

    • “They make the classic mistakes of, you know, every writer in a sitcom faces the, ‘This joke is hilarious, but it's not really in character.’ The pro says, ‘Well, we can't use the joke.’ Those guys, they'll go for one joke, that'll kill the character.”
    • -International Format Consultant
    • Not enough skilled Russian writers
    • Often working on many productions at once
    • Lacked familiarity with international conventions and genres
  5. Why Sony succeeded: The Consultants

    Slide 5 - Why Sony succeeded: The Consultants

    • It’s very simple: consultants...American writers, American producers on the ground. Not just, “Oh, we’re coming for two weeks” as most other people do
    • - Russian Creative Director
    • "It's the consultants. That's why this is working." – International Format Consultant
    • Sony sent consultants for years
    • Hollywood veterans with years of experience
    • Longer term commitment than other U.S Studios
    • Sony kept tight creative control
  6. Russian Sitcoms based on formats

    Slide 6 - Russian Sitcoms based on formats

    • All of a sudden – Adaptation of Suddenly Susan (2007) 40 episodes – STS
    • The Humanoids in Star City –Adaptation of Third Rock from the Sun (2008) 40 episodes –TNT
    • Collapsing House – Adaptation of Full House (2009) 40 episodes – STS
    • How I met your Mother – Adaptation of How I Met Your Mother – 2010 – 40 episodes – STS
    • Who’s The Boss –Adaptation of Who’s the Boss – 2006 to 2008 – 150 episodes – STS
    • My Fair Nanny – Adaptation of the Nanny – 2004-2009 – 173 episodes (original ran 146)
    • Lyuba, Children and the Factory – Adaptation of Grace Under Fire – September 2005 – March 2006 - 70 episodes - STS
    • Newlyweds – Adaptation of King of Queens – November 2011 to April 2012 – 40 episodes – STS
    • Dad of all trades – Adaptation of Home Improvement – November 2006 to February 2007 – 40 episodes – STS
    • Happy together – Adaptation of Married with Children 2006 to 2013 – 364 episodes (original ran 259 episodes) -TNT
    • Three in Komi – Adaptation of Hot in Cleveland – 2013 – 20 episodes – Channel 1
    • Voronini – Adaptation of Everybody Loves Raymond (2009 –present) 316 episodes Original ran 210 episodes – STS
  7. Russia

    Slide 7 - Russia

    • Pepper
    • (Male focused)
    • Russia
    • Home
    • (Female Focused)
    • International
    • Satellite Channel
    • Moldova
    • Channel 31
    • Kazakhstan
    • Parent Company (Nasdaq Listed)
    • Russia (Flagship channel)
    • STS Media
  8. 57 other series for 3 national networks

    Slide 8 - 57 other series for 3 national networks

    • Poor Anastasia
    • Sony’s First Hit
    • My Fair Nanny
    • First successful sitcom
    • Ugly Betty
    • Adaptation
    • Who’s the Boss
    • Adaptation
  9. Voronini – 326

    Slide 9 - Voronini – 326

    • Episodes Top Rated STS show for 3 years
    • The Eighties –
    • #4 in ratings on
    • STS for 4 seasons
    • Phys. Ed
    • Currently #1 on TNT through 2 seasons
    • Real Guys
    • Currently #2 on TNT
    • 6 seasons
    • Purchased by TNT
    • In 2014 for $50
    • Million U.S
  10. The Nanny: From Hollywood

    Slide 10 - The Nanny: From Hollywood

    • to Moscow
  11. Evolving the adaptation model

    Slide 11 - Evolving the adaptation model

    • 210
    • Episodes
    • 326
    • Episodes
    • 259
    • Episodes
    • 365
    • Episodes
  12. Russian/American Hybrid

    Slide 12 - Russian/American Hybrid

    • The Eighties: Russian series produced as a collaboration between Russian and Hollywood writers.
  13. Conclusion

    Slide 13 - Conclusion

    • Sony’s future in Russia is somewhat unclear
    • Sitcoms remain popular, but networks now prefer originals to adaptations
    • The Eighties points to a possible future, making American led original Russian series
    • Russians are increasingly interested in exporting their products
    • Sony may find a way to create Russian products that can be exported globally.
  14. Thank You!

    Slide 14 - Thank You!

    • Please feel free to contact me with any questions of comments
    • jrbrassard@ualberta.ca