Sony Shuts Down Entire TV Division With Multiple Fan-Favorite Shows

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

Sony TV

Sony is shutting down an entire TV division, TriStar Television. The TriStar label created several fan-favorite shows over the past nine years but is being closed down nonetheless. The division will be absorbed into Sony Pictures Television as part of an ongoing restructuring for the company. 

TriStar Television Shutting Down

Sony TV

Created in 1986, TriStar was in its second relaunch as part of Sony’s TV production strategy. The label has had a fraught history. It was created as a joint venture between Columbia Pictures, CBS, and HBO before being shuttered in 1988, only to be revived in 1991 under Sony. That version was dissolved in 1999 before being brought back again in 2015. 

The most recent version of TriStar was a boutique production division in Sony’s TV operations initially led by Suzzane Patmore Gibbs.

Under Gibbs, the division had become focused on giving actresses and female creators a place where they could get their shows made. After the death of Gibbs in 2018 the division suffered from leadership turnover with long stretches without a head executive. 

Sony Pictures Television Taking Over

Sony TV

TrStar has no active projects, and Sony Pictures Television will take over projects in development. This should minimize the production disruption caused by the label’s dissolution, making it an optimal time for the restructuring.

What is less certain is whether the company will continue TriStar’s trend of making TV that prioritizes underrepresented groups. 

Most Shows Appeared On Streaming Platforms

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The dissolving of TriStar is just one part of an active attempt to restructure TV production. This centralization process began shortly after Katherine Pope became the President of Sony Pictures Television in 2022.

Another boutique label, Gemstone, was similarly dissolved in November of 2022, as the company is moving away from separate production labels. 

TriStar produced six TV shows for Sony over the last nine years, across five platforms. Most of those shows appeared on streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Apple TV+. However TriStar also had shows on the cable channels AMC and Showtime, allowing the company to diversify their releases. 

The Last Tycoon And Others

Tristar’s shows included both dramas and comedies, with the label moving more towards comedy recently. Some of the label’s drama series included the period piece Good Girls Revolt and an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon.

But the Sony division’s most notable TV shows were recent comedies like the Kirsten Dunst dark comedy On Becoming A God in Central Florida and the anthology series The Afterparty. 

Lucky Hank

bob odenkirk lucky hank

The biggest shame of TriStar being dissolved is that the division seemed to be finding its stride, with recent shows gaining fan followings and critical praise. The 2023 comedy-drama Lucky Hank, starring Bob Odenkirk, was a hit with critics earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

On Becoming A God in Central Florida was another lauded show, canceled prematurely because of the pandemic despite having a dedicated fanbase. 

Sony’s Plans

tiffany haddish

Whether Sony’s TV strategy will pay off remains to be seen, but the dissolving of TriStar and Gemstone sends a clear message about the company’s plans.

It’s a tumultuous time in the entertainment industry, so it’s unsurprising to see companies shaking up their production structures.

Hopefully, the change doesn’t prevent shows like The Afterparty and Lucky Hank from being made.

Source: Deadline