Schwartz back at Sony as head of int'l TV prod'n

Will oversee local-language efforts

Tasked with leading a global programming expansion, production veteran Sander Schwartz on Wednesday was named president of production at Sony Pictures Television International.

The appointment to head SPTI's worldwide production group comes in the wake of a significant expansion across the globe of the division's local- language production efforts, which have resulted in more than 9,000 hours of programming in more than 30 countries in 13 languages.

Schwartz's new post marks his return to Sony, where he spent 12 years in several executive positions. He became president of Warner Bros. Animation in 2001 and was responsible for the development, production and distribution of family entertainment films, television programs, home video and online content.

SPTI is the unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment that is responsible for all television, mobile and digital distribution businesses outside of the U.S. Schwartz will relocate from Los Angeles to SPTI's European headquarters in London and report to SPTI president Michael Grindon. He also is charged with the creation of character-based franchise properties for use across Sony's multiple lines of business.

Schwartz has a mandate to lead the international production group into a new phase of growth, according to Wednesday's announcement. SPTI has production offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Miami (producing for Latin America), China, Russia, Spain and the U.K. SPTI produces a wide range of programs in these markets, including original series, telenovelas, game shows, light entertainment and productions based on successful U.S. formats.

"Sander brings with him his significant production experience, great management skills and a thorough understanding of international television markets," Grindon said. "We are very fortunate to have him back at Sony, where he will devote his efforts to accelerating our growth in the international production business."

From 1995-99, Schwartz established and oversaw Sony Pictures children's television programming as executive vp and GM of children's programming at Columbia TriStar Television (now Sony Pictures Television) in Los Angeles. Under Schwartz, the division produced 11 series with more than 450 half-hours of syndicated and network programming.

"I have had the privilege of working with Michael and his team before, and I am very pleased to be joining them in this new role," Schwartz said. "I believe that SPTI is the pre-eminent international production and distribution company with great potential for further growth in all genres of programming for audiences worldwide."

Steve Kent previously led the international production group out of Culver City before he moved to Sony's domestic TV arm, SPT, where he is senior executive vp programming.