Former HBO CEO Richard Plepler Inks Five-Year Apple TV+ Production Deal
Under the terms of the deal, Plepler's newly formed company, Eden Productions, will make TV shows, documentaries, and films exclusively for the Apple TV+ streaming service.
Plepler worked at HBO for 27 years before leaving in February 2019, eight months after AT&T became its owner, and under his leadership, HBO had hits like "Game of Thrones" and "Big Little Lies."
Rumors of talks between Plepler and Apple first surfaced in November, with Plepler making it clear at the time that he did not want to return to TV as an executive, but instead wanted to take on a new role as a producer.
In today's article from The New York Times, Plepler explained why he didn't want to continue working as a TV executive:
"It was instantaneously clear to me that I had a wonderful and very privileged run at HBO and I wasn't going to be able to duplicate that again," Mr. Plepler said in his first interview since leaving the network. "And I didn't want to try to duplicate that again. It felt very clear to me that I just wanted to do my own thing."
Plepler was drawn to Apple because he has been a "longtime admirer" of Eddy Cue, who runs Apple's software and services, including overseeing Apple's TV division. Cue got in touch right after Plepler left HBO and invited Plepler to "talk" when things settled after his departure.
According to Plepler, he had conversations with multiple people about his next step, but his only "serious" talks were with Apple. Apple TV+ is new enough, said Plepler, that he felt he could "make a little contribution there."
Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the two Eddy Cue hires who run Apple's TV business, will work with Plepler. Van Amburg said that he's looking forward to seeing Plepler "thrive" at Apple.
Along with Plepler, Apple has signed production deals with multiple companies, including A24, Imagine Documentaries, and Oprah Winfrey, plus it has established deals with producers and directors like Jason Katims, Alfonso Cuaron, and Justin Lin.