Many in Hollywood were aware of Sony’s close relationship with Deadline founder Nikki Finke and studio co-chairman Amy Pascal. But the emails archived and released by WikiLeaks on Thursday confirmed another tight relationship that was previously unknown, Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko with Jay Penske, the owner of PMC, parent of Variety and Deadline.
The two executives go to lunch, have drinks, hang out and email between continents – “My very best from Mumbai!” writes Penske. The PMC chief introduces his pal Mosko to activist investor Dan Loeb, checks in on advertising campaigns and even tweaks his friend about news breaking on TheWrap. “You are a 10 in my book!!” Mosko enthuses.
The Dan Loeb connection was the most sensitive. Loeb is a minority investor in Penske’s purchase of Variety, as well as his neighbor. In January of 2014, Penske introduced Loeb to Mosko, suggesting he “thought it would be great if you two could connect.” When Loeb weighs in, Mosko defers to corporate counsel Nicole Seligman. The two never meet.
Meanwhile, a series of emails between the two buddies unfolded in July and August of last year:
On July 1, Mosko forwarded to Penske a breaking news alert from TheWrap about Sony producing shows for Telemundo. “We are on a bit of a role (sic),” he wrote.
Penske responded: “Looks like it, but you need to stop breaking news with theCrap J,” referring to TheWrap by Finke’s pet name.
“I want to do a meeting with your TV people,” wrote Mosko to Penske on July 2, 2014 about meeting with Variety and Deadline staff. “Pencils down, just discussing what we are up to, always good.”
July 8 Mosko enthused to Penske about coordinating a meeting with Nellie Andreeva at Deadline and Cynthia Littleton at Variety, adding: “You are a 10 in my book!!”
Penske insists: “Could you just get a junior guy to walk around Akash, he’s the marketing and live events lead at ZEE. Thanks and let me know if you’re around for a quick drink tonight Best, Jay”
A few weeks later Penske was on a trip to India and checked in with his buddy. “I can smell your clothes from here,” joked Mosko. Penske sent his “very best” from Mumbai, and then asked about Sony buying ads in his publication, saying that his sales team has not heard back.
“Sorry we are buying a 2 page ad in variety…. Exclusive… no (t]hr,” he wrote on August 27. “We are paying for half of AMC/breaking bad ad which will run in variety and hr.”
And not to worry, Hollywood Reporter was apparently cut out of Sony’s buy: “Expect big ads for breaking bad. Not buying hr. Steve,” he writes to Penske.
Penske replies: “Thanks Steve, and really appreciate you taking care of Akash and the India guys. Really was kind of you, let me know how I can return the favor. Best, Jay”
The love story went on before last summer and beyond: “For your lunch with Jay Penske on 5/23, his office suggesting you come by and see their new offices on SM Blvd and the 405 then walk over to Hamasaku…12:45 at his office and 1:15 lunch…can that work for you?