Three Amazon video content development executives jump ship for fledgling Apple production effort
Apple is further growing its stable of video streaming executives, poaching three high-level staffers from Amazon with one who will retain focused on children's programming development.
Confirmed by Variety on Thursday afternoon, Amazon Video Business Affairs executive Tara Pietri will head up legal affairs for Apple. The lead of Amazon's child-centric video program, Tara Sorensen, is moving laterally at Apple and will have substantively the same role.
International development executive Carina Walker will also hold a similar position at Apple.
Erlicht and Van Amburg are said to be tasked with securing "around a dozen" original TV shows, with four of them known. Sorensen's hire is the first indication that Apple is looking at developing children's programming.
A recent move by Apple in sourcing unique content is a new morning show-related drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Also, Apple has reportedly given a blank check to Drake to produce whatever shows or movies he wants.
In October, Apple signed a deal with Amblin Television and NBCUniversal to revive "Amazing Stories," an anthology science fiction series created by Steven Spielberg that ran for two seasons in the 1980s. Apple is expected to air 10 episodes, spending over $5 million on each show.
More recently, Apple signed a deal with "Star Trek" and "Battlestar Galactica" reboot alum Ronald D. Moore to pen a new space drama.
All four ventures are believed to be part of a broader $1 billion investment in original video programming, concentrating on big-budget dramas similar to "Breaking Bad" or "Game of Thrones." Those efforts are reportedly being led by the June hiring of former Sony Pictures Television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, as well as development head Matt Cherniss.