Sanders will work alongside Albert Cheng, who was named co-head of TV in a reorganization of Amazon’s entertainment division under new top executive Jennifer Salke in April. At the time, sources told Variety that Salke was in the process of looking for another executive with a creative background to lead the digital company’s television efforts with Cheng, who also serves as Amazon Studios COO.
“I’m thrilled to announce Vernon Sanders’ appointment to Co-Head of Television for Amazon Studios,” said Salke. “Vernon’s undeniable expertise in nurturing talent and creative material will be a huge asset to our studio. Having worked side-by-side with him for seven years at NBC Entertainment, I can speak first-hand to his talents as a leader and creative force. I know Vernon and Albert Cheng will be a formidable team as we continue to build Amazon Studios.”
Like Salke, Sanders is a veteran of NBC, where he held posts as executive vice president of current programming and executive vice president of comedy. He also has experience in drama-series development, having been senior VP of drama at the network and sister studio Universal Television.
“I am tremendously excited to be joining Jennifer Salke, Albert Cheng and the forward-thinking team at Amazon Studios as they build an incredible destination for high-quality, compelling content,” Sanders said. “My time as a producer has reaffirmed my passion for working closely with creators to champion shows which delight and surprise our audiences. I’m grateful to my family at NBCU for their support as I jump into this new challenge.”
Among the series Sanders worked on while at NBC are “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Friday Night Lights,” “This is Us,” “The Blacklist,” “The Good Place,” and the revival of “Will and Grace.” He left his post as head of current programming at NBC in November and signed a production deal with Universal TV.
Under his Universal deal, Sanders had been set to serve as an executive producer on the studios upcoming revival of Steven Spielberg’s anthology “Amazing Stories” with Amblin Television for Apple. But a source tells Variety that with Sanders having left that deal for the Amazon job, he will no longer be attached to the project.
Salke, formerly president of NBC entertainment, joined Amazon in February, following a lengthy search to replace former entertainment chief Roy Price, who was ousted last year amid sexual-harassment allegations.