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Former HBO Chief Richard Plepler Close to Signing Apple TV Plus Production Pact

Former HBO chief Richard Plepler is close to signing an exclusive production pact with Apple TV Plus.

Apple declined to comment and Plepler could not immediately be reached for comment. It’s understood that Plepler plans to launch a boutique production company designed to focus on a handful of high-profile projects. Among his advisors in pulling together the company and Apple TV Plus deal is investment advisor Paul Wachter and attorney Lawrence Shire.

Plepler is said to be planning to build out a small team of executives to help run the company, to be based in New York.

Plepler has been in talks with Apple worldwide video chiefs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht for the past several months. The deal encompasses Plepler’s projects in a range of genres, from scripted series to documentaries. It’s unclear if Plepler’s deal was shopped widely. The former HBO chief is also known to be friendly with Eddy Cue, the Apple senior VP whose portfolio includes Apple TV Plus, after the two worked together in 2014 on the launch of the HBO Now streaming service, which was exclusive to Apple in its first three months after launch.

Apple TV Plus debuted Nov. 1 with a slate of four scripted series and an assortment of children’s programs. The service plans to steadily beef up that roster in the coming months. Apple has signed a handful of exclusive production pacts to date with notable creatives including director-producer Alfonso Cuaron, Oprah Winfrey, Jason Katims and Kerry Ehrin, showrunner of Apple’s marquee series “The Morning Show.”

Plepler left HBO in late February after nearly 30 years amid management shakeups at the former Time Warner companies, which were acquired in 2018 by AT&T.

Plepler spent seven years as CEO of HBO. He was named co-president of HBO in 2007, rising from communications chief. The executive is known for helping to forge HBO’s image as TV’s most prestigious player. He was instrumental in rebuilding HBO after the end of “The Sopranos” era with such shows as “Game of Thrones,” “True Blood,” “Westworld,” “Big Love” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”

News of Plepler’s move was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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