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Apple preps $1bn war chest, adds Cherniss

Apple is preparing a US$1bn programming war chest and has appointed the former president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios as it further expands its fledgling video division.

Matt Cherniss

Matt Cherniss has been drafted in to oversee development two months after the tech giant appointed ex-Sony Pictures Television (SPT) execs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to work across its programming worldwide.

Cherniss has reportedly been named head of domestic development at US-based Apple and will report to Amburg and Erlicht.

The former Fox and Warner Bros exec stepped down from his role at Tribune in July after four years with the company, after it was bought by Sinclair Broadcasting in June.

Cherniss, whose previous credits included Glee and Nip/Tuck, had been behind WGN originals including drama trio Salem, Manhattan and Outsiders.

Apple has been steadily ramping up its programming efforts over the past year and The Wall Street Journal today reported the company has a $1bn pot to acquire series and produce its own originals.

Coupled with the hires of Cherniss, following those of Van Amburg and Erlicht, it signals a further push into TV is imminent.

The former SPT execs, who report to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, arrived at Apple shortly after the launch of its competition reality show Planet of the Apps, from Howard Owens and Ben Silverman’s Propagate Content.

Apple’s Carpool Karaoke series, which emerged from James Corden’s late-night talkshow on CBS, launched earlier this month.

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