Apple poaches Sony TV execs to beef up video ambitions

Apple has lured away Sony Pictures Television co-presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to head up video programming.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
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Apple recently released its "Shark Tank"-style show "Planet of the Apps" on Apple Music with Will.i.am as one its celebrity judges.  

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

In a sign that Apple is getting even more serious about creating its own TV shows and movies, the company has hired highly respected Sony Pictures Television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to run video programming. 

The duo, co-presidents at Sony who helped create AMC's "Breaking Bad" and ABC's "Shark Tank," will report to Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

Apple has long been expected to make a big push into creating original video content. Earlier this year, Apple execs said the company would become more aggressive about creating original video to help distinguish Apple Music from competitors such as Spotify.

A push toward creating TV shows and movies marks a break from Apple's traditional business of selling iPhones and Macs. The company is increasingly looking to take on Netflix and Amazon, both of which have a growing roster of original programming, including full-length movies and award-winning series. Apple potentially sees its content as another way to tie you into its growing universe of products and services. 

It has two shows in development: "Carpool Karaoke" and "Planet of the Apps," which recently made its debut. 

"Carpool Karaoke," a spinoff of a segment from "The Late Late Show with James Corden," was supposed to arrive in April but has now been rescheduled for August. (Full disclosure: CNET is owned by CBS, which is also producing the series.)

"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," Cue said in a statement. "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."

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