Sandra Stern is Chief Operating Officer of Television for Lionsgate and co-runs the TV division with Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. Responsible for running all business, legal, administrative and operational aspects of the division, she spearheads its strategy, transactions, negotiations and business development, exploring innovative production, distribution and new media options to grow the television unit.
Stern’s contributions have been pivotal to Lionsgate’s emergence as a leading supplier of content to cable and broadcast networks. One of the industry’s most forward-thinking strategists and creative dealmakers, she has been instrumental in forging new relationships and business models that have paved the way for such Lionsgate productions as the critically-acclaimed series NASHVILLE, starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, which returned to ABC for its second season in September and has already generated two hit soundtracks; the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe-winning AMC series MAD MEN, now in production on its seventh season; the Charlie Sheen comedy ANGER MANAGEMENT, which returned to FX in Jan. 2013 with an unprecedented 90-episode order following its initial 10-episode run; the acclaimed Showtime comedy NURSE JACKIE starring Edie Falco, which is currently shooting its sixth season; WEEDS creator Jenji Kohan’s breakout Netflix series ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, which is now in production on season two; the new 10/90 half-hour FX sitcom SAINT GEORGE starring George Lopez, and the new ABC Family series CHASING LIFE, both of which are currently in production to air in 2014; and the History miniseries HOUDINI, starring Oscar winner Adrien Brody, which is now in production. Lionsgate is also producing the new untitled 10/90 sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence for FX; the new comedy series DEADBEAT for Hulu; and the new drama series MANHATTAN for WGN America.
Stern’s innovative deal-making has allowed Lionsgate to bypass the pilot stage and go straight to series on several projects, including the studio’s acclaimed series BOSS which ran for two seasons; its previous Starz drama CRASH, for which she was able to adapt a complex indie film and financing model involving nine producers to the more limited constraints of a TV structure; and the 8-episode limited series THE KILL POINT for Spike TV. More recently, she was the key architect in the WEEDS syndication deal with TV Guide Network, the MAD MEN syndication deal with Netflix, as well as the deal with Netflix for ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.
Stern has expanded Lionsgate’s cost-efficient production opportunities by developing and managing relationships with the governments of New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois and Canada. She also helped guide Lionsgate into the emerging area of international format production, with PARIS HILTON BFF formats in the U.K. and Middle East, and was instrumental in launching Lionsgate’s first foray into the area of live theater with the stage production of DIRTY DANCING. After sold-out performances in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, The Netherlands and on London’s West End, the show began its U.S. tour in Chicago and made its West Coast premiere in Los Angeles in the spring of 2009.
Stern joined Lionsgate in 2003 as Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, and in 2005, was promoted to her current post. She previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Artists Television Group, where she helped create and structure the company and directed its business affairs, legal, finance, administrative and production operations. Prior to that, she worked for eight years, first as Senior Vice President, then Executive Vice President of the Columbia TriStar Television Group at Sony Pictures Entertainment, working closely with Columbia TriStar Television Group head Jon Feltheimer.
From 1986 through 1991, Stern was senior vice president in charge of business affairs and international development at New World Entertainment, where she put together the first ever international co-production for a U.S. broadcast network.
A graduate of UCLA Law School, Stern began her career in the Columbia Pictures Television legal department, followed by a stint as a television attorney with the law firm that is now Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klein.