Apple has hired two business affairs execs — Philip Matthys from Hulu and Jennifer Wang Grazier from Legendary Entertainment — for key roles on its expanding original entertainment team, Variety has learned.
Matthys, previously Hulu’s head of business affairs, started last month at Apple as head of business affairs, Worldwide Video. He reports to Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the former co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, who joined Apple this summer to head up the tech giant’s push into original programming.
Wang Grazier will join Apple’s L.A.-based Worldwide Video group on the business affairs team, reporting to Matthys, starting in January.
Apple, reportedly prepped to spend upwards of $1 billion on original content in the next year, has been on a hiring tear under Van Amburg and Erlicht. Recent hires include Matt Cherniss, formerly president and GM of WGN America and Tribune Studios, as head of development; Amazon Studios exec Morgan Wandell, head of international development; and creative executive Michelle Lee, formerly producing partner to Jason Katims at Universal Television-based True Jack Productions.
Apple’s first two scripted series under the new leadership team are a revival of Steve Spielberg’s anthology series “Amazing Stories” and a morning talk-show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
Matthys joined Hulu in August 2015, overseeing dealmaking and policy for Hulu’s originals, including all scripted development deals, pilot and series production, original documentaries, international co-productions and specials. While at Hulu, he worked on series including “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Marvel’s Runaways,” “The Looming Tower,” and “The First,” starring Sean Penn and produced by Beau Willimon’s independent studio Westward Productions; and “Castle Rock” from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King.
Matthys’ departure from Hulu comes as some higher-level execs have left the ranks. Those include Mike Hopkins, who exited as CEO in October to join Sony Pictures Television; former CTO Tian Lim, who is now VP of product and user experience for Google Play; and Noah Heller, Hulu’s VP of virtual reality, who left last month to launch an early-stage technology venture capital firm.
Prior to Hulu, Matthys spent nearly 13 years with NBCUniversal, most recently as senior VP of business affairs for NBCU Cable Entertainment, leading business affairs for USA Network, Syfy and Universal Cable Prods. Before joining NBCU, he worked for law firm Irell & Manella, specializing in entertainment and intellectual property issues.
Wang Grazier previously served for two years as EVP, Business and Legal Affairs at Legendary where she oversaw all business and legal aspects relating to its TV and digital studios development, production, and distribution strategies. While at Legendary, she worked on series including “Colony” for USA, “Love” and “Lost in Space” for Netflix, “The Looming Tower” for Hulu, and “Carnival Row” for Amazon.
Before joining Legendary, Wang Grazier also was was at NBCU, as VP of business affairs, where she negotiated talent, co-production and license deals. She began her legal career at O’Melveny & Myers.