×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Former WGN America Head Matt Cherniss Joins Apple

Matt Cherniss, the former president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios, has joined Apple to oversee development at their new worldwide video unit, Variety has confirmed.

He will serve under Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the former presidents of Sony Pictures Television who joined the tech giant back in June to oversee the company’s growing push into original content.

Cherniss left WGN America and Tribune after they were acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting, as Sinclair planned to shift focus away from producing original series. Peter Kern took over Tribune Media following the exit of CEO Peter Liguori, who announced his resignation in January. Cherniss had been with the network since March 2013. As Variety previously reported, Cherniss was a contender for vacant posts at both AMC and Sony Pictures Television. Sources say he was offered the chance to replace AMC’s president of original programming and development Joel Stillerman, who left AMC for a position at Hulu, but Cherniss turned the offer down.

During Cherniss’ tenure, WGN America debuted its first original series, “Salem,” which premiered to record ratings for the network. That was followed by the critically acclaimed drama “Manhattan,” which garnered the network’s first-ever Emmy Award. In 2016, WGN launched both “Underground” and “Outsiders,” which consistently ranked among the top 20 cable dramas on television.

The move is yet another high-profile executive hire for Apple’s newest venture. Both Van Amburg and Erlicht have built strong reputations in the television space throughout their careers, having shepherded projects for Sony that include “Breaking Bad,” “The Crown,” “The Blacklist,” and “The Goldbergs.”

Apple has already begun rolling out original content, having 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.

Debra Birnbaum contributed to this report.

More TV

  • Project Blue Book

    Mipcom Roundup: A+E Sells, Ovation Buys, Fremantle Dating Format Takes Off

    In Variety’s second Mipcom roundup Ovation announces a raft of series and TV movie pickups, Nelson Mandela’s autobiographical recordings will be developed into a docuseries by Zig Zag and Hipster Media, A+E sells “Project Blue Book” to Viasat World and RTL, All The Kids and El Cañonazo are set to team in Spain on new formats; “Property [...]

  • La jauría

    Lucia Puenzo Talks Fabula-Fremantle’s ‘The Pack’ - ‘La Jauria’

    CANNES —   Produced by Chile’s Fabula, headed by Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín, and Fremantle, and showrun by Lucía Puenzo (“The German Doctor”), “La Jauria” (The Pack) cuts excruciatingly to the chase. In its very first scene, a teen girl student sits down, back to the wall, before her male drama teacher who [...]

  • Stan Lee's Kindergarten Superhero

    Alibaba's Youku Boards 'Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten' With Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Youku, the video streaming platform of Alibaba Group, has signed a deal with Genius Brands International to co-produce “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” an animated series starring and executive produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The pact marks significant step in Alibaba/Youku building its footprint in the U.S. Aimed at preschoolers, the comedy adventure series “Stan Lee’s Superhero [...]

  • Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig'Jigsaw' film premiere,

    AGC Television Secures Spierig Brothers for ‘Ben Walker’ Series Adaptation

    Filmmaking brothers Michael and Peter Spierig have boarded the supernatural thriller series adaptation of the popular literary “Ben Walker” franchise, developed by Stuart Ford’s AGC Television. Rob Carlson at UTA negotiated the deal on behalf of the Spierig Brothers with AGC Television President Lourdes Diaz, AGC’s VP of Legal & Business Affairs Anant Tamirisa, and [...]

  • Trauma French TV Series

    French TV Series to Watch at Mipcom

    Streaming services are boosting French TV production. Pascal Breton, whose Paris-based company Federation Entertainment co-produced “Marseille” and most recently “Marianne,” said the biggest benefit of streaming services, and Netflix in particular, is the way in which it has created a world audience for French shows. “Netflix amplifies the appeal of French shows abroad, and we [...]

  • Wild Bunch TV Boards RubyRock’s Feminist

    Wild Bunch TV Boards RubyRock’s Feminist Horror Anthology Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Wild Bunch TV has joined “Her Horror,” the female-led anthology series from recently-minted drama shingle RubyRock Pictures and Clipper Media Capital. “Her Horror” is billed as a feminist anthology series that will examine the female experience through the prism of horror. Zoë Rocha, former COO of Stephen Fry’s Sprout Pictures and a business affairs exec [...]

  • Bear Grylls Teams With Banijay to

    Bear Grylls, Delbert Shoopman Team With Banijay to Launch The Natural Studios

    Bear Grylls, the face of survival and outdoor adventure television, and his longtime producing partner, Delbert Shoopman, have teamed with leading global production and distribution powerhouse Banijay Group to launch production company The Natural Studios, which will produce both non-scripted and scripted adventure content. The new company’s slate includes Emmy-nominated “Hostile Planet” (Nat Geo), “Eco-Challenge” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content