Apple hires Amazon Studios exec Morgan Wandell in push for scripted programming

Brian Heater
Apple’s first few pieces of original programming, Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, felt more like stumbles out of the gate.

Apple’s first few pieces of original programming, Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, felt more like stumbles out of the gate. In this era of prestige television from cord cutting platforms like Netflix and Amazon, the shows weren’t exactly, say, House of Cards or Transparent. But a number of moves over the past several months find the company positioning itself as a serious contender in the world of scripted television.

The company has already built a team that includes a former WGN American president and a pair of executives from Sony Pictures Television -- and the company just made another key hire, according toThe Hollywood Reporter. Morgan Wandell, who most recently served as Amazon’s Head of International Series, is joining team Apple to help bring more scripted series to the table.

Wendell had been at Amazon since 2013, playing a role in the some of the company’s highest profile series like Man in the High Castle and the upcoming Tom Clancy adaptation, Jack Ryan. He’s exiting the company during a recent bit of turmoil, which found Amazon Studios cutting ties with  head Roy Price and dropping a Harvey Weinstein-produced series, both over sexual harassment allegations. Of course, Apple wasn’t immune the recent deluge of reports either -- the company cancelled a planned Elvis series over ties with Weinstein.

That series aside, however, Apple’s still got a lot in the works on the scripted front. The company reportedly recently struck a deal with Steven Spielberg to revive the 80s anthology series, Amazing Stories. According to another recent report, Apple’s planning to spend around $1 billion to ramp up its original series in its first year of production.

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