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Sony’s Wayne Garvie On Scripted TV Landscape As ‘The Crown’ & ‘Sex Education’ End: “We’re Going Back To The Future” — Series Mania

Sony Pictures Television’s President of International Production, Wayne Garvie, has said the scripted TV landscape in the post-peak TV era is like “going back to the future” — especially with his Netflix hits The Crown and Sex Education coming to an end.

During a keynote interview here at Series Mania in Lille, France, Garvie acknowledged that levels of global drama production had fallen, and that working with traditional networks and streamers on projects of all types would be critical going forwards.

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He added: “The ecology of TV production is a very fragile thing,” and said: “The future is going to be more about collaboration,” but refuted the idea the market is depressed. “Everyone knows that not as much drama is being commissioned as was being commissioned, but more drama is being commissioned now than at most times in human history.”

SPT itself is it gearing up for a slate that no longer contains new seasons of Netflix hits The Crown and Sex Education, and is gearing up to launch a new slate of dramas such as BBC crime series Dope Girls, from Doctor Who co-producer Bad Wolf, and Dear England, from Left Bank Pictures.

Garvie said that as economics change, SPT will begin branching out in Europe, especially in Spain where it has an office. He also cited Germany, Italy and France as territories of interest as he said: “We’ve had some near misses in Europe and we’re ready to experiment.”

To date, SPT’s international scripted efforts have focused on the UK, where it owns companies such as The Crown maker Left Bank Pictures and Sex Education producer Eleven Film, along with Australia, where it owns The Narrow Road to the Deep North producer Curio, and Latin America, where it makes the likes of La Reina del Flow and Rio Connection.

“We’re at a really interesting point with our labels, especially in the UK, because we have come to an end of The CrownSex Education and others that have been real era-defining shows,” said Garvey. “We’ve built ourselves up to a sizable British studio primarily through those shows, so as they come to an end you have to reflect on what the next turn of the screw looks like. And it comes at a time when there is a change in the buying market.”

Garvie detailed how international streaming services were commissioning more shows akin to traditional TV network fare, and challenged broadcasters to turn the tables.

“We had a period a few years ago when if you had an esoteric idea you’d take it to a streaming service and you’d take a broadcaster a more traditional idea,” he said. “Now we’re finding the streamers are actually commissioning lots of stuff that in the past would have traditionally been free to air.

“Now is the time for traditional buyers to think a little differently about the mix and think more about the esoteric and the different. That is what’s going to get you attention in crowded landscape.”

Garvie added SPT’s independence — it is the only one of the U.S. studios that is not aligned with a owned-and-operated platform — meant it was well positioned to work with all types of buyers, and that doing a wide variety of business was critical to its strategy.

“We need our stuff bought by the BBC as much as we need stuff bought by Netflix,” he said. “As an international studio we have to understand how to support traditional broadcasters.”

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