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Facetime with Sony's Steve Mosko

May 13, 2010 |  9:06 am

Over the last year, Steve Mosko has probably booked more frequent flier miles than Ryan Bingham, the corporate hatchet man played by George Clooney in "Up in the Air." He had to take a crash course in Sony's various international operations, which includes 122 channels in 140 countries.

MOSKO Back home, Mosko has been busy getting cozy with Oprah Winfrey and her Harpo Productions. Sony has become Winfrey's partner of choice for her spinoff shows including freshman "Dr. Oz" and the upcoming "Nate Berkus."

Cable has also become one of Sony TV's biggest assets as the company produces many critically acclaimed dramas including AMC's "Breaking Bad" and FX's "Damages."

In an interview with us, Mosko talked about death threats from obsessive soap opera fans, why he thinks the Emmy Awards need a little competition and one of the goofy things he had to do to close a deal back when he was a local salesman at WMAR-TV Baltimore.

Here are some snippets. For the full interview, you can click here.

You have two long-surviving soap operas, "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless." How long can they keep going?

The great ones will be around forever, and the good news is we've seen growth in both soaps. I learned the hard way how passionate the audience is about these shows. We were in contract negotiation with ["The Young and the Restless" star] Eric Braden and there was some disagreement over it — and the show's fans were up in arms. Some people were kind of getting angry with me. I had death threats based on not getting the Eric Braden deal done.

The TV industry is struggling with how to make money from people watching TV online. What are your thoughts?

Anybody who tells you they know is wrong. Over the next six to 12 months a lot of this is going to shake out. With [Sony's online video site] Crackle we've had great success using it as an advertiser-supported business to highlight our movie and television library.

So you're not convinced that people will be willing to pay to watch TV online?

How much are consumers really willing to pay for content? If they can get it now by watching existing channels, how much are they really willing to pay to get it on a subscription basis somewhere else? I don't know the answer to that.

-- Joe Flint 

Photo: Steve Mosko. Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times.