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Apple Adds to Video Team With Hire of Former WGN America Head

Former president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios Matt Cherniss has jointed Apple to help oversee the development of the company's worldwide video unit, reports Variety.

Cherniss will serve under Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two former Sony executives who joined Apple earlier this year to lead Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale. Erlicht and Amburg report to senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue.


Back in June, Cherniss stepped down from his role as president at WGN America and Tribune Studios after Tribune was acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Cherniss led WGN's own push into original content and away from re-runs, overseeing the launch of shows like "Salem," "Outsiders," "Underground," and "Manhattan," so he's well-positioned to help Apple make a deeper dive into original programming.

With the addition of Cherniss, Apple has a solid team, as its former two hires, Erlicht and Amburg, helped produce shows like "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," and "The Crown."

Over the course of the last several months, Apple has been experimenting with original content as a way to promote its Apple Music service. The company has launched two shows so far, including "Planet of the Apps," a series about app developers pitching ideas to investors, and "Carpool Karaoke," a music-based show developed from the Carpool Karaoke segment on "The Late Late Show with James Corden."

Apple is said to have bigger ambitions when it comes to original content, though, with rumors suggesting the company is pursuing deals with "triple-A-list" talent to create a roster of shows on par with Netflix and Amazon.



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27 weeks ago


The company has launched two shows so far, including "Planet of the Apps ('//www.macrumors.com/2017/06/06/planet-of-the-apps-launches-june-6/')," a series about app developers pitching ideas to investors, and "Carpool Karaoke ('//www.macrumors.com/2017/08/08/carpool-karaoke-the-series-officially-launches/')," a music-based show developed from the Carpool Karaoke segment on "The Late Late Show with James Corden."


Yeahhhhhh... gonna have to do better than that kind of advertainment if they want anybody to tune in here.
Rating: 5 Votes
27 weeks ago

What on earth is "triple-A-list" talent?...

Gwyneth Paltrow, obviously.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago

I won't claim to know him personally, but I've met him a few times and had drinks with him at various events and he's a good guy. I loved Underground, Outsiders, Salem, Manhattan, etc. But they were shows that had a very narrow audience and you had to be in the right mood for. A service that Apple is trying to build probably needs to be broader, not sure if his sensibilities fit that. . . . . .


Most good series right now stray way out of Apple's idea of PG-12 rating for everything. Violence and sex sells. What people tolerate in their iPhone apps is not what they will tolerate for their entertainment.
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago

Apple is first and foremost a software/hardware company. Content is not their forte, and it's one of the reasons they are struggling to get into the video business.


If you can’t do it right, don’t do it!
Rating: 2 Votes
27 weeks ago

Yes, and it makes me wonder why they're trying to get into that business in the first place.
I mean it's not like they don't have the cash to buy Disney & Co and a few more studios outright if they really want to create and distribute multiple types of content that EVERYONE wants to watch… and that should include live sports (ESPN anyone?) by the way.


Keep in mind that running a studio is entirely different than running a tech company. That alone is a huge risk for Apple, and probably one of the major factors they haven't even thought about buying them. Content is very expensive to make let alone to profit off of. Also, remember ESPN is suffering greatly right now, so I don't think that's the answer either (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-11/espn-s-surrender-to-grim-new-reality).

Let's recall from history (or rumors) when Apple was trying to sign content rights with various studios to build an EPG style video platform. They thought studios would bend over to their rules and pricing, and obviously it didn't work out for them.
Rating: 1 Votes
27 weeks ago
Carpool Karaoke? Pass.

Pitching apps? I'm a software engineer, and I'd pass on this.

Apple gets 2 thumbs down with originality. Maybe their future content will be better, but whatev

Wooof!

Hopefully they will stop making trash, and do something HBO-level. It’s what I expect from Apple.


Apple is first and foremost a software/hardware company. Content is not their forte, and it's one of the reasons they are struggling to get into the video business.
Rating: 1 Votes
27 weeks ago

Underground was one of the most amazing series and the only recent historical slave drama I can stomach. I hope he brings programming of that caliber to  music


They also had "Manhattan", a really good show about the Manhattan Project.

This does seem to be a good sign for their programming.
Rating: 1 Votes
27 weeks ago

Most good series right now stray way out of Apple's idea of PG-12 rating for everything. Violence and sex sells. What people tolerate in their iPhone apps is not what they will tolerate for their entertainment.


Here's the weird thing if people hadn't noticed. On the iTunes store, Apple has a huge backlog of R-rated movies and yet, when they produce their own content, they won't do anything that's beyond PG or PG-13. However, I heard rumors that Dr. Dre was supposedly going to do an R-rated show for them, I believe, on Apple TV or Apple Music. Nothing came out of it.

But you're right in that violence and sex does sell to the masses. Carpool Karaoke was put in Apple Music when it should've been on Apple TV.

So what does Apple want to be? A rebel or a wuss?
Rating: 1 Votes
27 weeks ago
These three guys need to get spun up really fast - they have an impressive resume. Hopefully Eddy Cue stays far away from them and lets them do their thing.
Rating: 1 Votes
27 weeks ago

Relevance. My guess is Apple needs to continue to be seen as hip and trendy by consumers and is trying to use media to ensure its relevance in today's media landscape.


And that right there is the BIGGEST problem with Apple. They should never, ever attempt to try too hard to be hip and trendy. It's NOT their job to be a fashion house. It was never one to begin with and isn't supposed to be. Their job is to provide hardware/software solutions, not what's the 'kewl' thing is at the moment. They've completely lost direction due to that line of thinking and attitude.

And it's nothing to do with relevance. They're trying too hard to re-invent television when the answer is right in their face all along. Apple TV should have been an online service, not a set top box.

Lastly, I think they're trying to expand out because they have expenses to deal with. And their Apple Park HQ is probably the most expensive one to maintain. Imagine how much revenue they're going to need every year to keep that place intact. I don't think bringing in this person from WGA America is going to solve their problem immediately. You'll have to wait at least 1-2 years to see some kind of change towards improvement or continue staleness that leads to failure.
Rating: 1 Votes

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