TV Exec in Charge of The Boys & The Last of Us "Examining" Time Between Seasons for Hit Shows

Katherine Pope, the Sony Pictures TV Studios president who has overseen hits like The Boys, The Last of Us, and Cobra Kai, says in a new interview that she is not happy about the amount of time that it takes to create seasons of prestige TV series. Pope said that waiting as much as two years in between seasons is not only frustrating for fans, but also causes logistical problems, as production and exhibition outlets have to spend a lot more time and money marketing them, since casual viewers have more or less forgotten about the shows in the intervening years.

Pope says she also thinks that the long delays in between seasons are bad for creators who want to tell multi-season arcs. But exactly how to fix it without sacrificing quality is not something she has an easy answer for.

"The thing I've tasked myself and the teams with this year is examining the time – somebody was calling it slippage – the way in which these shows can be as much as two years in between seasons," Pope told Deadline. "They can take 16 months to two years for the entire production cycle for a season, and we're talking about eight to 10 episodes. These shows are big, some of them are giant, they might as well be blockbuster movies every episode, but at the same time, it's not great for the fans to have that big period of time in between. It's awkward because the platforms have to re-market a show two years after the previous season came out, and it's not great for us as producers to have these shows that we can't repeat in any kind of compressed timeline."

"I don't think it's good for creators either because they end up spending so much time on each season," Pope added. "It's all about making sure that we're protecting the show, and for the creator it's their time and effort and their ability to tell the stories over multiple seasons, which is the art and the beauty of TV, it's a novelization of the characters' stories. When we lose that, we start to lose a key foundational part of our medium. So that's something we are focused on, trying to bring a little more production and timeline hustle to the whole process, just to make sure that these shows get to the fans as quickly as they can."

Pope, who was promoted into her position last summer, is stepping up at an interesting, challenging time. While the end of a number of long-running series from Sony Pictures Television (including Cobra Kai, The Blacklist, and Outlander) would appear to give her a lot of creative control of the direction Sony will take in the next few years, she is also taking on these responsibilities in the middle of an industry-wide slowdown, with streamers looking to cut costs.