“Apple Inc. has poached two top Hollywood television executives from Sony Corp. to spearhead an ambitious push into the original-programming business,” Tripp Mickle and Joe Flint report for The Wall Street Journal. “Jamie Ehrlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who oversaw Sony Pictures Television productions such as ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Crown,’ will join Apple in new positions as co-heads of video programming world-wide, Apple said. They will report to Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, who oversees Apple’s $24 billion services business, which includes iTunes and its $10-a-month streaming-music service.”
“Original content has skyrocketed over the past five years as Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc., CBS Corp. and others vie for viewers who are increasingly dropping cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services,” Mickle and Flint report. “The departures of Mr. Erlicht and Mr. Van Amburg represent a major blow for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which wrote down $1 billion in February due to its movie-studio woes. The two executives are well-regarded for their ability to identify TV programs and played a critical role in turning Sony’s television business into a formidable Hollywood player by developing shows like NBC’s ‘The Blacklist’ and FX’s ‘Rescue Me.'”
To date, “Apple’s limited programming and its decision to put it on a music service rather than building a TV service sowed confusion in Hollywood,” Mickle and Flint report. “The executives will have to sort through questions including whether Apple will launch a new TV-subscription service, as it has long desired. If that happens, they also will have to determine if subscribers could buy both music and TV services at a discounted price.”
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MacDailyNews Take: Better late, than never.
Apple’s press release, verbatim:
Apple today announced that Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two of television’s most creative and successful executives, are joining Apple in newly created positions overseeing all aspects of video programming. Erlicht and Van Amburg will lead video programming worldwide, reporting to Eddy Cue. They join Apple from Sony Pictures Television where they have served as presidents since 2005, and have been responsible for some of the most popular and widely acclaimed programming of the past decade, including favorites such as Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, The Crown, Rescue Me and many more.
“Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple — there is much more to come.”
“It will be an honor to be part of the Apple team,” said Jamie Erlicht. “We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products — unparalleled quality.”
“Apple has a relentless focus on delighting customers with their products,” said Zack Van Amburg. “We will bring that same intention to Apple’s programming and we could not be more excited about what lies ahead.”
Erlicht and Van Amburg have served as presidents of Sony Pictures Television since 2005. Under their leadership, the studio’s slate of original primetime series more than tripled, growing to include many of TV’s most acclaimed shows. They have extensive expertise producing television for global audiences and creating programming for a wide range of services including shows for Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Their incredible roster of programs — which have won 36 Emmys and dozens of Golden Globes, AFI and WGA awards — have included fan favorites such as Better Call Saul, The Blacklist, Bloodline, Breaking Bad, The Crown, Damages, The Goldbergs, Justified, Preacher, Rescue Me, The Shield, Sneaky Pete and many more.
Source: Apple Inc.