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Apple hires TV execs behind 'Breaking Bad,' 'Better Call Saul' – New York Post


After dipping its toe into original programming only a week ago, Apple took the plunge Friday by hiring the TV execs behind “Better Call Saul,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Blacklist.”

Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg — presidents of Sony Pictures Television since 2005 — will oversee “all aspects of video programming,” Apple said in a statement.

The pair, who tendered their resignations to Sony on Thursday, will report to Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, once their contracts expire in August.

“Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” Cue said. “We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple.”

The additions mark a major commitment for Apple, which under Steve Jobs called TV a hobby.

Under Tim Cook, however, Apple has been inviting speculation about a deep dive into the business.

Cook told CNBC last month that, as cord-cutting accelerates, “it’s clear what the end story looks like here, and we’d like to play in this.”

Yet its only entry so far is “Planet of the Apps” — a “Shark Tank” rip-off about app developers competing for funding — which Apple Music made available June 6.

Before its April start date was pushed back to August, James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke,” based on “The Late Late Show’s” recurring segment, was slated to be Apple Music’s first original show.

Also in the development stage are documentaries about Sean Combs and Clive Davis, as well as a six-episode vehicle about Dr. Dre.

Many observers consider these offerings a modest beginning for a content provider that aims to compete with Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and others in an escalating battle for over-the-top viewers.

Still, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield believes Apple’s new hires might provide enough firepower to take Disney off the table as an Apple takeover target.

“Many investors thought Apple was going to buy Disney to gain access to Disney’s IP [intellectual property] and content creation engine (or buy Netflix),” Greenfield wrote in a Friday update. “We thought that was unlikely.”

If Apple’s new video hires deliver content, there will be plenty of devices to receive it.

The company announced in January 2016 that the number of active Apple devices exceeded 1 billion — then made the same claim, a half-year later, about iPhones.

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