Tara Sorensen, the head of Amazon kids programming, will take on a similar role at Apple as the company pushes more into developing original content. She will report to Apple’s chief content officers Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, themselves former Sony TV executives. Along with Sorensen, international development executive Carina Walker and business affairs chief Tara Pietri will also depart Amazon for Apple, with Pietri leading Apple’s legal affairs division. Walker will again be an international creative executive, reporting to fellow Amazon alum Morgan Wandell.
Wandell, Apple’s head of international creative development for worldwide video, officially joined the company in October. He had been with Amazon since 2013. He ran the streaming service’s drama development before shifting last year to an internationally focused role similar to his new job at Apple. During his tenure, Wandell worked with Van Amburg and Erlicht on the development of “Sneaky Pete,” a busted Sony Pictures TV pilot for CBS that moved to Amazon.
Amazon has undergone tremendous changes in its executive ranks over the past few months, beginning with the ouster of Amazon Studios president Roy Price in October in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. Joe Lewis, Amazon’s top drama and comedy executive, left soon after along with unscripted head Conrad Riggs. Albert Cheng, who formerly served as COO of Amazon Studios, has taken over for Price on an interim basis. Sharon Tal Yguado has taken over all scripted programming.
Apple has been beefing up its executive ranks as it gears up to produce more originals. As Variety reported last week, former Hulu executive Philip Matthys started last month at Apple as head of business affairs for worldwide video. Jennifer Wang Grazier from Legendary Entertainment has also joined the business affairs team, reporting to Matthys and starting in January..
Apple recently gave a straight-to-series order to a sci-fi drama that hails from “Outlander” showrunner Ronald D. Moore in its continued push into the orignals space. The company has also ordered a reboot of “Amazing Stories” from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and executive producer Bryan Fuller, as well as a drama set in the world of a network morning show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
Apple previously launched the competition series “Planet of the Apps” in June. The series features judges Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, will.i.am, and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. In addition, James Corden turned his late-night segment “Carpool Karaoke” into an Apple original series, which launched on Aug. 8.