Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Sinclair Broadcast Group building in Hunt Valley. (File photo)

Sinclair launches two partnerships to expand content

Looking to expand its original content offerings and develop more distribution platforms, Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., announced partnerships with The Tornante Co. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on Monday to create first-run original programming and a 24-hour science fiction-themed multi-channel network.

The new company formed with Tornante, Tornante-Sinclair LLC, will be co-owned by Tornante and the Sinclair Television Group, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, and is aimed at creating syndicated television programming.

The new venture seeks to guide the entirety of the creation process: acquiring, developing, producing and distributing new programming. It will “bring a unique take to talk shows, game shows, and court shows as well as comedy,” according to a press release announcing the partnership.

The two companies have worked together previously on “Judge Faith,” a reality court show co-produced by Tornante that airs on Sinclair’s stations. Tornante is best known for its Netflix animation comedy “BoJack Horseman,” whose second season premiers next month.

“Our intent is to pair our expertise in developing content with their distribution capabilities to create tremendous new opportunities for both parties,” said Michael Eisner, Tornante’s owner and former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in the press release.

The partnership with Tornante is the latest in a series of moves by Sinclair to expand its network and production.

Earlier Monday, Sinclair Television Group and MGM announced a partnership to jointly create, develop, distribute and air a 24-hour science fiction multi-channel network which will feature more than 1,500 hours of premium MGM content.  Under the ownership of Sinclair Television Group, MGM will handle certain operations of the network, including programming, and Sinclair Television Group Co-Chief Operating Officer Steve Pruett, will oversee the venture for Sinclair.

“We are excited to be partnering with MGM on the launch of the first ever science fiction multi-channel network,” Sinclair Broadcast Group Chief Operating Officer David Amy said. “MGM has an extensive collection of science fiction films and television movies that appeal to a vast audience who will now be able to access that content through broadcast television.”

John Bryan, the president of domestic television distribution at MGM, said the market is there for this type of programming.

“As a producer of some of the genre’s greatest films and television series, MGM knows how passionate and loyal fans are about Sci-Fi,” Bryan said.

The science fiction multi-channel network will initially debut in the fourth quarter of 2015 across approximately 30 percent of the country with Sinclair and MGM anticipating to enter into distribution deals with other broadcasters prior to launch. The network will feature a mix of science fiction, fantasy and adventure fan-favorite titles from MGM including television series such as “Stargate,” “Poltergeist,” “Outer Limits” and “Dead Like Me,” among others.

In July 2014, Sinclair launched the American Sports Network, which telecasts college games from mid-major conferences, minor-league baseball and other sporting events, and formed Sinclair Original Programming in August, a division focused on entertainment and commercial content. The company owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 162 television stations in 79 markets, according to its website.

Sinclair’s net income rose from $73.5 million in 2013 to $212.3 million in 2014, and total revenues increased by 45 percent over the year from $1.363 billion to $1.977 billion.

Tornante-Sinclair LLC will be based in Los Angeles and plans to develop projects for the 2016 broadcast season, according to the press release.