Photo via The Hollywood Reporter
As part of the tech giant’s attempt to boost scripted programming in the streaming market, a top executive at Amazon since 2013, Morgan Wandell, has been lured away by Apple. With the company ready to spend as much as $1 billion to develop original programming, they aim to become a major player in the industry.
Wandell moved to Amazon from ABC Studios, and he has an outstanding resume. He helped develop numerous series including Jack Ryan, The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Sneaky Pete. While at ABC, he worked different TV series such as Lost, Gray’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Desperate Housewives, Ghost Whisperer, and Criminal Minds.
The Hollywood Reporter remarks that Wandell joins a team that includes Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the co-heads of video programming who were poached only recently from Sony Pictures Television
The first few attempts of Apple at original programming such as Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, were underwhelming, to say the least. Recently, it got rid of plans for an Elvis Presley miniseries that is produced by the Weinstein Company, amid the fallout from allegations. of sexual harassment.
However, new moves at the executive level, indicate that as part of an attempt to make Apple Video a destination for shows and documentaries, Apple aims to place itself as a serious contender in streaming original series. According to the Wall Street Journal, they have partnered with the Amblin Studios of Stephen Spielberg for a reboot of Amazing Stories, an anthology series.
Although the said hire has been planned for months, it is still a blow to Amazon, who Jeff Bezos wishes to come up with “the next Game of Thrones.” Other tech giants want a piece of the pie as well. For example, Facebook may be spending a ton of money to develop the company’s own scripted series.
For comparison, HBO spends around $2 billion per annum on original programming, Netflix spends around $7 billion, and Amazon spends about $4.5 billion. The $1 billion of Apple could fund as many as ten television shows, with Van Amburg and Erlicht overseeing a cohesive strategy that the company has not yet developed so far.