Apple hires former WGN America chief to bolster video team


Matt Cherniss
Matt Cherniss will oversee Apple's new worldwide video unit.
Photo: WGN America

Apple has hired former WGN America and Tribune Studios chief Matt Cherniss as it looks to bolster its original video efforts.

Cherniss will reportedly oversee the company’s new worldwide video unit, serving under Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the former presidents of Sony Pictures Television, who joined Apple back in June.

Apple has been making a big push into original video with shows like Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, which hope to attract new subscribers to Apple Music. It’s thought the company has much bigger video plans, and it has been hiring experts who can help.

Cherniss joins the Cupertino company after leaving WGN America and Tribune when they were acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting. He had been with the network since 2013 and was responsible for developing critically-acclaimed shows like Salem and Manhattan.

Cherniss, who has previously held roles at Fox, FX, and Warner Bros., is said to have turned down an offer to replace AMC’s president of original programming. It’s not clear what role he will play at Apple, but Variety reports he will report to Van Amburg and Erlicht.

The rapid expansion of Apple’s video team shows just how much of a focus original programming has become for the company. Apple clearly wants Apple Music to compete not only with the likes of Spotify, but also Netflix and Amazon, too.