The other day I was lucky enough to attend a preview event for the launch of Sony Entertainment Television; a brand new flagship network that also marks Sony’s first foray into the UK tv market. Click through to get the scoop on Sony’s new face for television and why I think it may hold a few surprises…
Kicking off with a celebrity-filled video promo (which seemed to be a few years old; Playstation Portable and Spiderman references galore), the night showcased both Sony’s successful history in home entertainment, gaming and moviemaking and it’s new future in television broadcasting.
Kate Marsh, Senior Vice President at EMEA Networks, lead the proceedings with a presentation on the network’s upcoming line-up, which includes new premiere shows such as Jada Pinkett Smith’s Hawthorne (the big showcase of the night), ‘Til Death, Huff and My Boys as well as old classics such as Dawson’s Creek and Crossing Jordan. To further appeal to the UK market, the channel will also be highlighting classic British shows such as Hotel Babylon and HUSTLE.
To further the high quality serial line-up, Sony Entertainment Television will also draw on Sony Picture’s vast library of movies every night Thursday to Monday from 9pm, in a block of programming dubbed the ‘Long Weekend of Movies’. Films highlighted during it’s launch months include: Marie Antoinette, The Da Vinci Code, All the King’s Men and Philedelphia.
The main attraction of the evening was a screening of a special ‘Producer’s Pick’ episode of the network’s feature show Hawthorne, a hospital drama centered around the nurses of Richmond Trinity Hospital which is entering it’s third season in the US but sees it’s premiere here with the launch of SET on April 7.
Following that was a Q&A with the star and producer Jada Pinkett Smith in which she answered questions on the themes of the show, the pressure of producing an episode within seven days as opposed to the months given for feature films, and a few inquiries on her burgeoning superstar daughter Willow.
Luckily I got to ask two questions: one concerning the multicultural angle of the show and if she felt any particular responsibility to present the struggles of ethnic minority workers in the health industry, to which she replied “absolutely” and that hospitals are such melting pots of different ethnicities that representing it is unavoidable. This is particularly interesting because she states it’s very unusual for an African American to have their own television drama, let alone an African American woman, and together with the ethnically diverse supporting cast centred mostly around women, Hawthorne does present itself as a unique twist on the medical drama format.
The second question I asked was if she had adapted to all the medical technical jargon yet. She threw up her hands and said “I just thank God I’m not a real doctor!”
Sony Entertainment Television launches on April 7 on Sky 157 with the UK broadcast premiere of Hawthorne.
Full press release here.