The Sinclair Original Programming division will develop entertainment programs, infomercials and direct response commercials, the Hunt Valley-based company said.
Arthur Hasson, general manager of Sinclair's CBS, CW and MyNet affiliates in Harrisburg, Pa., will also take on the role of chief operating officer of the new division. He will report to David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair, overseeing original content development and working with production companies and studios.
"Controlling our content and its development not only reduces our dependency on others, providing a hedge against network disruptions, but allows us greater economic upside potential," Smith said in the company's announcement. "The media landscape is evolving, and controlling distribution, as well as the content delivered through that platform, is even more imperative in order to remain competitive."
Sinclair already produces more than 1,800 hours of local news programs a week and Ring of Honor Wrestling programs. It has launched the American Sports Network, which airs college sports, and plans a cable news network linked to its recent acquisition of Washington-based cable news network, NewsChannel 8.
"This venture will provide opportunities for us to meet viewers' needs and to contribute to the company's bottom line," Hasson said in the announcement. "By developing original content in connection with talented program producers, we can provide cost effective, flexible projects."
The company also plans to distribute some of its shows to other broadcasters and channels.