Apple Lands Ex-HBO Head Richard Plepler to Make Movies, Shows for TV+
Richard Plepler, chairman and chief executive officer of Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), speaks during an event in Los Angeles, California, U.S. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Apple Lands Ex-HBO Head Richard Plepler to Make Movies, Shows for TV+

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. has landed former HBO chief Richard Plepler, a respected entertainment industry executive, to make TV shows and movies for its new Apple TV+ streaming service.

Plepler and his new company, Eden Productions, will develop original programs exclusively for TV+, the Cupertino, California-based company said Thursday. Apple’s video service launched in November with a small number of original shows.

Landing Plepler is a sign of Apple’s growing investment in Hollywood, and its ability to attract top talent as it competes for viewers with Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. Plepler joins a list of notable names working with Apple TV+, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Apple’s video offering is part of a broader push beyond iPhones into digital services and subscriptions. The stock topped $300 on Thursday amid optimism about the company’s holiday sales and demand for wearables and services.

Plepler left HBO in February 2019 after nearly three decades at the premium cable network, a period in which HBO created a new standard for quality on television. Plepler was the company’s chief executive officer starting in 2013, overseeing the release of hit shows “Game of Thrones,” “Silicon Valley” and “Ballers.”

He left after AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of Time Warner Inc. While Plepler operated HBO as a separate business, AT&T has since brought the business into the same portfolio as other cable networks.

Plepler had a litany of interested suitors for his post-HBO career, but chose Apple. He has a long history working with the tech giant and in particular services chief Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s main ambassador in Hollywood alongside Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.

“I’m excited to work with Zack, Jamie and the standout team at Apple who have been deeply supportive of my vision for Eden from day one,” Plepler said in a statement. “The shows that Zack and Jamie produced, “The Crown” and “Breaking Bad,” are among those I most admired.”

Apple’s new streaming service has gotten off to an uneven start. Critics have been mixed or negative on many of its shows. However, “The Morning Show,” which stars Aniston, Witherspoon and Steve Carell, has been well-received by fans, and recently scored Apple its first Golden Globe nominations.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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