Mike Hopkins to Exit as Sony TV Chairman to Run Amazon’s Video Entertainment Business

Hopkins will have oversight of Amazon Studios

Last Updated: February 10, 2020 @ 12:29 PM

Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins will exit the studio and lead Amazon’s video entertainment business, including Amazon Studios.

Amazon Studios head Jen Salke will now report to Hopkins, who will report directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Hopkins had been with Sony since 2017, following four years as the CEO of Hulu. He will begin his new role later this month.

The move to Amazon puts Hopkins back in the streaming game after a little more than two years on the studio side.

Hopkins takes over for Jeff Blackburn, who is in the middle of a year-long sabbatical from the company this year, with plans to return in 2021. He could return in another capacity, an individual with knowledge tells TheWrap. Blackburn, a senior vice president and one of Bezos’s closest advisers, was in charge of Amazon’s entertainment, business development and advertising businesses. He joined Amazon in 1998 just a few years after the company was founded, and worked on product development and operations.

Salke had been reporting Blackburn.

During his time at Sony, Hopkins consolidated the studio’s TV operations, including merging its media networks, TV distribution and home entertainment businesses.

Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Tony Vinciquerra announced Hopkins’ departure in a memo to staff Monday: “I’m writing to make you aware that Mike Hopkins will be leaving Sony Pictures later this month to take on an exciting new challenge overseeing Amazon’s video entertainment businesses – including Prime Video and Amazon Studios, reporting directly to Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos. Obviously, this move represents a significant change for our senior leadership team and the studio, but we support Mike’s decision and look forward to the many opportunities to stay connected working together in the future.”

As part of the move, Keith LeGoy, Sony’s president of Worldwide Distribution, will now oversee Funimation and networks operations, programming and strategy group. Jeff Frost, president of U.S. production, will be in charge of first-run television, Embassy Row and Sony’s game show development team run by Mike Richards. Both will now report directly to Vinciquerra.

Here is Vinciquerra’s full memo below:

I’m writing to make you aware that Mike Hopkins will be leaving Sony Pictures later this month to take on an exciting new challenge overseeing Amazon’s video entertainment businesses – including Prime Video and Amazon Studios, reporting directly to Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos. Obviously, this move represents a significant change for our senior leadership team and the studio, but we support Mike’s decision and look forward to the many opportunities to stay connected working together in the future.

I want to thank Mike for his outstanding leadership since arriving at the studio in late 2017. From day one he was charged with rethinking the way we run our television businesses. Under his watch, SPT has been transformed into a stronger and more nimble organization, able to pivot and change course quickly in today’s rapidly evolving entertainment landscape. As part of our “Reimagine” efforts, SPT has undergone essential structural change and realignment – such as combining our networks operations with distribution/home entertainment into a new territory management model and refocusing our network portfolio. Additionally, SPT has made several significant deals on the M&A front and forged new relationships with top creators and talent. These were not small tasks and would not have been possible without the outstanding work of SPT’s excellent divisional leadership and their teams, who will continue to drive our business forward.

As a result of these efforts, our television business will thrive and grow in key priority areas, such as U.S. and international production, distribution, our already outstanding game show businesses, kids programming, our newly combined anime groups and our strong regional networks businesses – especially in India and Latin America.

Having accomplished the bulk of what we set out to do over the last couple years, and with much of the heavy lifting behind us, we will be taking the opportunity of Mike’s departure to realign our leadership structure at SPT. 

  • Keith LeGoy, our President of Worldwide Distribution, will now oversee Funimation and our Networks Operations, Programming and Strategy group. 
  • Jeff Frost, our President of U.S. Production will now oversee First Run Television, Embassy Row and our new game show development team run by Mike Richards. 

Keith and Jeff will now report directly to me. As will our International Production business, Silvergate, GSN, our India networks business, and Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!

Please join me in thanking Mike for his numerous contributions and wishing him continued success. If you have any questions, please reach out to me or your respective executive leaders or P&O partners.

Tony

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