Sinclair Broadcast is reportedly in talks to hire former Sony Pictures Television chief Steve Mosko as Sinclair looks to boost its original programming.
According to the Financial Times, Mosko is being sought out as Sinclair pursues a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media, which will boost the group's broadcast TV footprint and give it control of cable networks including WGN.
Mosko left Sony last year after 24 years with the studio. With him at the helm, Sony helped craft marquee dramas including “Breaking Bad” on AMC and “Masters of Sex” on Showtime.
Sinclair last month officially announced its plans to acquire Tribune. The companies expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter after meeting regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Sinclair said that it may have to divest stations in markets where it currently owns stations in order to adhere to FCC ownership requirements and antitrust regulations.
Sinclair will be buying Tribune’s 42 television stations in 33 markets, cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV, minority stakes in the TV Food Network and CareerBuilder, and a variety of real estate assets. The group will also gain 14 Fox affiliates, 12 CW, six CBS, three ABC, two NBC, three MyNetworkTV affiliates and two independent stations.
For networks like WGN, the proposed Sinclair purchase will mean big changes in programming. The network recently canceled well-received drama “Underground” and, not long before that, its highest-rated drama, “The Outsiders.” According to The Washington Post, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said the ratings did not justify the high production costs. Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern offered some additional insight on the cancellations.
“As WGN America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape. This move is designed to deliver additional value for our advertising and distribution partners and offer viewers more original content across our air,” Kern said.