Sony Pictures Television Announces ‘Jeopardy!’ 60th Anniversary Celebration

Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the debut of quiz show “Jeopardy!” on March 30, 1964, show producer Sony Pictures Television is launching the “60th Diamond Celebration,” a marketing campaign featuring limited-edition merchandise and a nationwide road tour.

The campaign kicks off on March 30 with the launch of the “Why Not You? Campaign,” a new game show recruitment initiative intended to inspire more possible contestants to take the Jeopardy! Anytime Test. On this day, the best and brightest hopefuls will be invited to take the test for a chance to compete on the show.

A series of nationwide live events and activations curated for the show will take place from April through December, beginning in New York and then rolling out then in various cities across the U.S. The inaugural fan experience will take place on April 12, at Edge at Hudson Yards, and will feature a live taping of the “Inside Jeopardy!” podcast, and a live play-along game. The in-person, ticketed event will feature appearances by show host Ken Jennings and super-champs Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach and Austin Rogers.

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There will also be the rollout of a new Jeopardy! bar trivia game that will bow in major cities later this fall, among other initiatives that will be announced at a later date.

“For 60 years, ‘Jeopardy!’ has been America’s favorite sport of the mind, defying time and continuing to attract viewers of all generations,” Suzanne Prete, president of game shows for Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement.

The game show, which was created by Merv Griffin and his wife, Julann, aired in the daytime on NBC through 1979, hosted by Art Fleming. The show returned in 1984 as a five-day weekly first-run syndication program, hosted by the Alex Trebek.

The show has produced international editions, books, video games, as well as a “Classroom Jeopardy!” version for schools.

“It is only fitting to honor their creation, and the show’s enduring legacy, with a meaningful celebration that pays tribute to the show’s past and to its future,” said “Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2005 released Jeopardy! — An Inside Look at America’s Favorite Quiz Show DVD featuring five memorable episodes of the Trebek era, including the late host’s first episode, longtime winner and current host Ken Jennings’ losing episode, and three episodes involving the “Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions.” The DVD also included featurettes “21 Years of Answers and Questions,” which discusses the show’s history; and “Jeopardy!: Behind the Answers” and “What Does It Take to Get a Clue?,” both of which discuss the show’s question selection process.

Great American Media Completes Acquisition of Sony Pictures Television’s Pure Flix

Great American Media and Sony Pictures Television’s Pure Flix have completed the previously announced merger. The deal joins Great American Media’s family-friendly linear and FAST (free ad-supporting streaming TV) channels with the Pure Flix faith and family subscription video on demand service.

Bill Abbott

New York-based Great American Media retains a majority interest in the merged company and oversees day-to-day management of the independent organization under the leadership of Bill Abbott, who serves as CEO and reports to the company’s board of directors. Great American Media will build on the combined portfolio’s multi-faceted family and faith media brands and diversified content distribution capabilities to reach larger and broader audiences on each platform, according to the company.

“The merger marks a significant milestone for our company, our employees, our business partners and our fans as we take an important step in our mission to become the leader in trusted, faith and family entertainment for a large and under-served market,” Abbott said in a statement.

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Abbott previously was CEO of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries’ parent Crown Media Family Networks until 2021, when he abruptly left shortly after Hallmark ran an ad featuring a lesbian couple kissing.

The Pure Flix streaming service offers faith and family-friendly movies and series, while Great American Media’s flagship network Great American Family is currently in approximately 50 million homes and recently celebrated seven consecutive months as TV’s fastest-growing network.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sony Pictures Extends Viaplay Streaming Partnership in the Nordics

Forget Netflix and HBO Max, Sony Pictures Television April 28 announced it has agreed to extend a multiyear deal with Norway’s Viaplay subscription streaming platform. The agreement means Viaplay’s 4 million subscribers will have first access to Sony Pictures Entertainment movies and television series, including catalog titles and new TV series.

In addition to Spider-Man: No Way Home, Viaplay subs will have access to the screen debuts of new Marvel characters Kraven the Hunter, Madame Web and Morbius following their theatrical and home entertainment windows. The deal also includes franchises “Uncharted,” “Venom,” “Jumanji,” “Ghostbusters,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Bad Boys” and “Spider-Man,” as well as some of SPE’s upcoming and future slate.

“This renewal reflects the value that our partnership creates for both companies,” Filippa Wallestam, NENT Group Chief Content Officer, said in a statement.

Upcoming Sony movies include Bullet Train, with Brad Pitt headlining an ensemble cast of eclectic, diverse assassins; Where The Crawdads Sing, which is based upon the novel by Delia Owens; and Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar-winning “Spider-Verse” saga, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

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Viaplay will also be the Nordic home of an array of major new series from SPT’s upcoming slate, to be unveiled and presented at Sony’s LA Screenings event in May. The slate includes `Accused’ from Howard Gordon and Alex Ganza (`Homeland’), and the gripping four-part Vicky McLure psychological thriller, ‘Without Sin.’ Among the SPT series already available on Viaplay are hits such as ‘Outlander,’ ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘The Good Doctor,’ ‘S.W.A.T.’ and ‘L.A.’s Finest.’

The agreement also secures new SPE films and series for Viaplay’s V Film pay-TV channels, and a wide selection of new and library films for Viaplay’s Scandinavian TV channels.

“This deal also opens a treasure trove of classics from our phenomenally vast SPE feature film and TV series library for Viaplay’s audience to enjoy,” said Mark Young, EVP of distribution and networks for EMEA at Sony Pictures Television.

In addition, Viaplay and SPE have recently concluded long-term content deals that secure SPE content for Viaplay viewers in the Baltic countries, Poland and the Netherlands.

Viaplay is targeting about 12 million subscribers by the end of 2025, including 6 million in the Nordic region and 6 million internationally, including the United States.

Apple TV+ Picks Up Sci-Fi Series ‘Dark Matter’

Apple TV+ has landed “Dark Matter,” a nine-episode series based on the science-fiction novel by Blake Crouch.

Starring Joel Edgerton (“Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Boy Erased, Loving), who also serves as executive producer, the series will be written and showrun by Crouch and will be produced for Apple TV+ by Sony Pictures Television.

“Dark Matter” is a story about the road not taken. The series follows Jason Dessen (Edgerton), a physicist, professor and family man who — one night while walking home on the streets of Chicago — is abducted into an alternate version of his life. Wonder quickly turns to nightmare when he tries to return to his reality amid the multiverse of lives he could have lived. In this labyrinth of mind-bending realities, he embarks on a harrowing journey to get back to his true family and save them from the most terrifying, unbeatable foe imaginable: himself.

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Sony Canal FAST Service Available on LG Channels, Redbox; Launches New Series

Sony Canal, the free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) suite of channels from Sony Pictures Television for Spanish speaking viewers in the United States, announced its channels are now available on LG Channels and Redbox. Sony Canal also announced new series launched in December, along with special holiday programming.

Sony Canal channels also stream on Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Plex, Xumo and Vizio SmartCast.

New series that made their Sony Canal debut in December include “El Sexo Debil,” “Loco por vos” (Argentina) and “La Niñera” (Argentina). Special holiday marathons and programming include “Doña Barbara,” “Rosario Tijeras,” “La Niñera” (Mexico), “La Suegra,” “Ruleta Rusa” and “Escape Perfecto” (Colombia). 

Sony Canal Novelas, dedicated to the world’s most popular classic telenovelas and modern serial dramas, features several new series. “El Sexo Debil” (Mexico) follows the story of a father and his sons who, one day, are suddenly and inexplicably abandoned by all the women in their lives. “Zorro: La Espada y la Rosa,” based on Johnston McCulley’s characters, follows nobleman Diego de la Vega as he takes sword in hand as the masked hero, Zorro, to fight for justice and defend the poor against corrupt government officials​. “El Mariachi,” based on the Robert Rodriguez film of the same name, follows a young mariachi musician who is mistaken as a hired assassin and inadvertently thrown into a war with the cartels. “Verdad Oculta” is a Colombian action-packed police crime drama.

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Sony Canal Novelas holiday programming includes “Doña Bárbaram,” an action-packed drama taking place on isolated acres of land without any semblance of civilization, and “Rosario Tijeras,” a Mexican adaptation of the popular Colombian telenovela of the same name that brings forward topics of class, race and the impact of drug cartels in a Latino neighborhood.

The Sony Canal Comedias channel brings “Loco por vos,” an Argentinian adaptation of the highly popular American TV series “Mad About You” set in Buenos Aires, following the trials and tribulations of a young newlywed couple; “La Niñera,” an Argentinian adaptation of “The Nanny” following the misadventures of Flor Finkel, an extravagant woman who starts working as a nanny for a very wealthy family; “Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas​,” a character-driven, comedy-drama dealing with modern relationships in contemporary Latin America; “La Suegra” (Colombia), which follows Victoria Maldonado, a famous talk show host in the United States who is forced to return home to Colombia only to discover her children have driven her to bankruptcy and her old flame is in a relationship with her best friend; and “Casado Con Hijos,” a Chilean adaptation of the U.S. TV series “Married With Children.”

Sony Canal Competencias, dedicated to reality competition shows, features “Escape Perfecto,” the Colombian adaptation of the competition series “Raid the Cage,” and “Escape Perfecto,” the Mexican adaptation of “Raid the Cage.”

Sony Canal Competencias holiday programming includes “Ruleta Rusa” (“Russian Roulette,” Chile), a competition series hosted by Diana Bolocco that is the ultimate game of chance, where every question could cause a contestant to literally “drop out” of the game, and “Escape Perfecto” (Colombia).

Redbox Inks AVOD Deals With WarnerMedia, Sony Pictures Television

Redbox Nov. 9 announced it has signed separate ad-supported VOD license deals with WarnerMedia and Sony Pictures Television. The Sony deal includes streaming access to Resident Evil: RetributionUnderworld: EvolutionWe Own the Night and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.

WarnerMedia movies include The Astronaut’s WifeCollateral Damage and The Long Kiss Goodnight, among others. Additional Warner titles include TranscendenceArthur, Contact, No Reservations, The Upside of Anger, City By The Sea, Ready to Rumble, City of Angels, Pleasantville, The Postman, Boogie Nights, Forever Young, Doc Hollywood, JFK, Joe Versus the Volcano and Tango & Cash.

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“WarnerMedia and Sony Pictures both have amazing film catalogs, which our audience will enjoy for hours on end, and they will be completely free,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement. 

Redbox continues to aggressively scale its AVOD service to include thousands of films and television series in the past year while also growing to more than 120 FAST Channels available in its Free Live TV service, with plans to add more in the coming months.

Season 4 of Netflix Hit ‘The Crown’ Coming to DVD, Blu-ray Disc Nov. 2

Season four of the hit Netflix series “The Crown” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Nov. 2 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The  historical drama series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II was produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. Season 4 began airing on Netflix in November 2020.

The series was nominated for 24 2021 Emmy Awards and picked up four 2021 Golden Globe wins, including Best Drama Series.

Season four covers the late 1970s and 1980s, as the Queen and her family find themselves preoccupied with safeguarding the line of succession by securing an appropriate bride for Prince Charles, who is still unmarried at 30. As the nation begins to feel the impact of divisive policies introduced by Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, tensions arise between her and the Queen which only grow worse as Thatcher leads the country into the Falklands War. While Charles’ romance with a young Lady Diana Spencer provides a much-needed fairy tale to unite the British people, behind closed doors, the Royal Family is becoming increasingly divided.

The season four DVD and Blu-ray sets include several extras, including three mini-docs: “Triumph & Tragedy: Diana and Charles”;  “Three Groundbreaking Women”; and “Research, Costumes & More: The Making of Season 4.” Also included is a photo gallery.

Netflix Set to Stream ‘Seinfeld’ Reruns Beginning Oct. 1

Netflix will begin streaming perennial consumer favorite catalog series “Seinfeld” beginning Oct. 1. The former NBC primetime phenomenon has streamed on Hulu for the past six years. Netflix acquired five years of “Seinfeld” rights in a deal reportedly worth $500 million with show producer Sony Pictures Television.

The 180-episode series should plug the gaping hole Netflix suffered when ratings king “The Office” moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock.

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“Seinfeld,” which exited primetime TV in 1998 after nine seasons, moves to syndication on ViacomCBS carriage stations in October.

U.S. Spanish Channel Service Sony Canal Available on Xumo and Pluto TV

Sony Canal — the free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) suite of channels from Sony Pictures Television for Spanish-speaking viewers in the United States — is now available on Xumo’s free streaming platform with Sony Canal Competencias, and via Pluto TV in the en Español category with Sony Canal Comedias and Sony Canal Escape Perfecto.

The Sony Canal channels are also available to consumers via Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel, Plex and Vizio SmartCast.

Sony Canal Novelas is dedicated to popular classic telenovelas and modern serial dramas, including “Doña Barbara,” “Si Me Miran Tus Ojos,” “Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas​,” “Señorita Pólvora” (“Miss Dynamite”) and “Paraíso Travel.”

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The Sony Canal Comedias channel offers culturally relevant modern remakes, featuring sitcoms and comedy series including “Casados Con Hijos” (“Married With Children”), “Aqui No Hay Quien Viva,” “Quién Manda a Quien?” (“Who’s the Boss”) and “Mi Bella Genio” (“I Dream of Jeannie”).

Sony Canal Competencias is dedicated to reality competition shows from Latin America such as “Escape Perfecto” (“Raid the Cage”) and “Ruleta Rusa” (“Russian Roulette”).

Sony Canal Escape Perfecto, available on Pluto TV, is a channel dedicated entirely to competition series “Escape Perfecto” (“Raid the Cage”), which has been remade all around the world.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Acquires Full Ownership of Crackle Plus

Media company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Dec. 15 announced that it has acquired full ownership stake in Crackle Plus from co-owner Sony Pictures Television. The transaction come about when Sony exercised its option from a 2019 agreement to obtain $40 million of preferred stock in Chicken Soup in exchange for its stake in Crackle Plus. For the next 30 days, Chicken Soup has the right to pay Sony cash in lieu of some or all of the preferred stock. The company has already determined that it will give Sony some portion in preferred stock.

Sony Pictures acquired the service formerly called Grouper in 2006  and renamed the ad-supported streaming site Crackle. It was changed to Sony Crackle in 2018. Sony sold a majority stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup in March 2019, which renamed it Crackle.

“Sony has been an incredible partner for [us] and this transaction is the natural next step in our relationship,” CEO William Rouhana Jr. said in a statement. “We welcome Sony as a large shareholder and look forward to continuing to work closely with them.”

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Since acquiring Crackle, the Chicken Soup management has reduced the network’s cost structure, ramped up ad sales on its owned and operated networks and differentiated the network among other AVOD offerings (i.e. The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi, Shout! Factory TV, etc.) through its complement of original and exclusive content. The Crackle Plus pipeline now comprises more than 10,800 movies and 22,000 television episodes available for its AVOD networks.