These are interesting times at Sony Corp., especially when it comes to TV programming.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is under new management, after the grueling process of recovery from the hacking incident led to Michael Lynton being eventually replaced last month by Tony Vinciquerra. Two of his key TV deputies recently decamped for Apple and longtime ex-TV chief Steve Mosko, who left in 2016, has reportedly been in talks with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
In a different wing of the multinational giant, PlayStation is trying to clarify its TV programming game plan in the wake of the fizzling of Powers, a show it envisioned as the tip of an original content platform spear. The game platform's latest gambit? The Emerging Filmmakers Program, which, as Engadget reported, is asking members of the public to submit ideas for the next great TV series.
The open pitching competition will enable anyone to contribute ideas for Sony's next "Breaking Bad." Pitches are due by Aug. 1. The top 50 ideas will win $250 each. The top 10 concepts will earn their creators $1,000 prizes and the chance to pitch a panel of PlayStation judges in sunny Southern California. From that group, five concepts will be turned into pilot episodes and let loose on the PlayStation community, which will render its verdict a la the Amazon pilot program.
Rules for the contest prohibit anyone who is a member of an established screenwriters union, and the ideas will ultimately become the property of Sony. It looks as if your ideas will also be owned by Sony, which will pay $250 to each of the "top 50" submissions. Although the 10 finalists will get $1,000, those that are taken to pilot receive $5,000.
The fact that two sides of the same corporation are so keenly interested in developing original ideas is not lost on many. At the same time PlayStation is driving toward that goal, Sony Pictures Television is behind hits like NBC's "The Blacklist," AMC's "Better Call Saul," CBS's "Kevin Can Wait," syndicated staple "Jeopardy" and many others. Consolidation would seem to be inevitable, but logic hasn't always applied in Culver City.