Sony Pictures Television (now called Sony Pictures Television Studios) is an American production/distribution studio founded on September 16, 2002. It is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment in Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune.
SPT owns and distributes the shows from Tandem Productions, ELP Communications (from T.A.T. to Embassy Pictures/Television to ELP Communications), TeleVentures, Merv Griffin Enterprises, Four D Productions, Barris Industries, Barry & Enright Productions, Stewart Television, and 2waytraffic. The company also operates the three SPE Networks: AXN, Animax, and Sony Entertainment Television.
SPT owns 58% of cable channel GSN (with DirecTV), owner of Crackle, a partner in FEARnet; the horror/thriller website and VOD service (with Lions Gate Entertainment and Comcast), and jointly owns the rights to most of the post-1947 Bob Hope film library such as My Favorite Brunette, The Lemon Drop Kid, The Seven Little Foys, The Great Lover, and Son of Paleface with FremantleMedia North America. Joining Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD) and Dr. Mehmet Oz, SPT co-founded the online QA platform Sharecare, where users have their health and wellness-related questions answered by industry experts and institutions such as AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Additional co-founders in Sharecare include Harpo Productions, Discovery Communications, and HSW International.
SPT was first known as Screen Gems in 1948, reincorporated as Columbia Pictures Television on May 6, 1974, and merged with sister studio TriStar Television (formed in 1986 and relaunched in 1991) to form Columbia TriStar Television on February 21, 1994. In June 1994, Merv Griffin, creator and executive producer of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, sold his company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, to Columbia TriStar Television in a deal that allowed him to remain executive producer until 2000. Columbia TriStar Television took over production starting in September 1994. On October 25, 2001, Columbia TriStar Television and Columbia TriStar Television Distribution merged to form Columbia TriStar Domestic Television. The company name was changed yet again to reflect the Sony brand on September 16, 2002.
On November 24, 2004, Sony Pictures Television International formed a joint venture called Huaso with Hua Long Film Digital Production Co., Ltd. of the China Film Group that's based in Beijing, China.
From 2005 until 2006, SPT also distributed MGM's TV shows and movie library (due in part to the Sony-led consortium's purchase of MGM). In 2006, SPT joined forces with Program Partners to handle ad-sales and distribution rights to foreign television series in the U.S., mostly shows produced in Canada. The same year, SPT signed Embassy Row a 3-year deal with for new game shows, game show revivals, and scripted and non-scripted series.
In Summer 2007, SPT introduced The Minisode Network; a digital channel for MySpace airing shows from the 1960s to the early 2000s from four to five minutes. In Winter 2007, The Minisode Network was also added to a few more sites like AOL TV, YouTube, and its sister site Crackle site.
On June 4, 2008, SPT bought Hilversum, Netherlands-based production company 2waytraffic, international holders of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? franchise.
On January 14, 2009, SPT acquired Embassy Row, a television and digital production company by British television producer Michael Davies. Fourteen days later, SPTI acquired a 50% stake in Colombian independent TV production company Tele-set. Three months later on April 1, Sony Pictures Entertainment consolidated its US and international television divisions into one roof. Sony Pictures Television International now operates in-name-only.
On June 23, 2011, SPT formed Victory Television (not to be confused to Jim Victory Television), a London-based television production company that's a joint venture with Victoria Ashbourne, who was the senior vice president of creative development for international production of SPT.
On January 19, 2012, SPT acquired Dolphin Broadcast Services Ltd. and Dolphin was merged into Sony Pictures Television’s existing UK networks business. SPT also took a majority stake in Dolphin’s advertising sales business. On March 1, 2012, SPT acquired a majority stake in UK independent production company Silver River Productions. On May 31, 2012 SPT launched the Sony Movie Channel and AXN in Canada in partnership with Hollywood Suite. Two of Hollywood Suite's networks: Hollywood Festival will re-launch as Sony Movie Channel and Hollywood Storm as AXN Movies on September 4, 2012. On August 23, 2012, SPT acquired a majority stake in Left Bank Pictures, a UK production company founded by Andy Harries and Marigo Kehoe.
As of 2013, in Australia, SPT has non-exclusive licensing deals to replay movie and television content from television broadcasters, the Seven Network.