EXCLUSIVE: New Sony Pictures Television President Katherine Pope has made several hires and promotions as she continues to build her executive team.
Lauren Miller and Craig Kurland are joining the studios as Heads of Business Affairs, effective today.
Miller previously worked with Pope at Spectrum Originals as Head of Business Affairs and Strategic Planning, and at Studio 8 as SVP, Business & Legal Affairs. Kurland was most recently Head of Business Affairs at Quibi and has network/studio BA experience from his stints at Fox Broadcasting Co., Twentieth Century Fox and NBC Universal Television.
The two succeed Karen Tatevosian, who exited as EVP and Head of BA in the executive shakeup at the studio last month when Pope made her first personnel moves.
“Both are respected leaders, with a breadth of experience across platforms, studios, international co-productions, and short-form content, and I couldn’t be more confident that they will help lead our studio into a bright future,” Pope said about Miller and Kurland in an internal memo announcing the staffing updates. (You can read it in full below.)
Lauren Grossman, who has been at SPT for five years, has been promoted to SVP, Talent Relations and Publicity, succeeding Jennifer Solari, whose pending departure also was revealed last month.
As Deadline reported at the time, Marie Jacobson joined Jeffrey Glaser as Co-Head of Current Programming after SPT’s Gemstone label she was heading folded its slate into the larger studio.
Pope also noted other recent promotions, including Frank Ochoa to VP, Head of Animation, Jackie Wertheimer to Manager in Comedy, Lisa Dracolakis to VP, Content Insights, and Nicole Norwood to TriStar Television. (Wayne Goldstein, Sony’s longtime Head of Global Research, left last month in the executive changeover.)
Still vacant are the top posts in SPT’s comedy department following the departure of longtime head of comedy, EVP Glenn Adilman, and his No. 2, SVP Scott Landsman. Sony Pictures TV Studios co-president Jason Clodfelter is overseeing the department in the interim, until replacements are found.
Here is Pope’s note:
As we head into the Holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the time you’ve already shared with me and for your focus and dedication to making our studio as strong as it can be. While some of this work has been challenging, there have been so many bright spots, and today I wanted to share some pretty exciting changes in our group.
I’m very happy to announce our new Heads of Business Affairs, Lauren Miller and Craig Kurland, who are starting today. Both are respected leaders, with a breadth of experience across platforms, studios, international co-productions, and short-form content, and I couldn’t be more confident that they will help lead our studio into a bright future.
Lauren and Craig will work closely with me, the BA team, the Creative, Programming, and Production groups. They will be important strategic advisors to me, and the larger groups across SPE, bringing their experience and critical thinking to bear on the issues facing all of us in this changing marketplace. Having worked closely with both of them over the years, I’ve seen what incredible collaborators they are, and I know they will bring that spirit to SPT, and to all of you.
Lauren joins us from Spectrum Originals, where, as Head of Business Affairs and Strategic Planning, she managed all television business affairs matters for Spectrum’s slate of premium scripted series. She worked across all studios, both in the U.S. and globally, to create bespoke templates that drove the programming foundation for the new platform. Prior to that, she was SVP, Business & Legal Affairs at Studio 8, working across both film and television.
Craig was most recently Head of Business Affairs at Quibi, where he was a member of the company’s founding corporate leadership team. He created their innovative templates and shepherded studios across the business into the short-form space in record speed. Prior to that, Craig was EVP of Business Affairs at Fox Broadcasting Company and also held leadership roles in Business Affairs at Twentieth Century Fox and NBC Universal Television.
I also want to officially announce that Lauren Grossman has been promoted to SVP, Talent Relations and Publicity. Lauren will be directing all of our talent and publicity efforts for the studio, with an eye on consumer press, awards, talent outreach, and management. She will also work closely with Stacy Weitz and her team in creating a cohesive press strategy and messaging within the larger SPE framework. I know all of us admire and value Lauren’s professionalism, expertise, and her incredible grace under pressure. She has been a key member of the team since joining SPT nearly five years ago, and I know we are all cheering for her as she takes a much-deserved leadership role.
As many of you already know, Marie Jacobson has joined Jeffrey Glaser as Co-Head of Current Programming. Most recently, Marie created and brilliantly led our Gemstone group, and I know her passion and dedication will be invaluable to all of us as we redouble our resources toward our most valuable asset – our shows.
I’d also like to recognize some other recently announced promotions across the studio. Frank Ochoa has been promoted to VP, Head of Animation and will be spearheading our growing animation business in both comedy and drama. Frank’s dedicated fandom is infectious, and I know he will continue to bring that energy to this new role. Jackie Wertheimer has been promoted to Manager in Comedy. She has been essential to the team since her arrival last year, and she will be an important part of the next exciting chapter of team comedy. Additionally, we recently welcomed Lisa Dracolakis to SPT in the new role of VP, Content Insights. She is expertly leading many areas of insights innovation in our research group. And, just last week, we welcomed Nicole Norwood to TriStar Television. Nicole is a brilliant, versatile, and adventurous executive, and we’re lucky to have her at SPT.
As I think about this new team, I can see how each and every one of us, working together, will make all of us more successful. We are stronger as an organization when we share our experience, taste and expertise with each other and execute from this foundation. Our partners, our talent, our shows and our studio all benefit from this collective strength.
Let’s welcome Lauren, Craig, Lisa and Nicole. Let’s congratulate Lauren, Marie, Frank, and Jackie, and let’s get to work – together!