Apple programming executive leaves role for first look deal

Jennifer Aniston in "The Morning Show."

Apple’s head of current scripted and unscripted programming, Kim Rozenfeld, is leaving his role to participate in a first-look production deal with Apple TV+, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move is part of a management restructuring of the streaming platform, said the person, who was not authorized to comment. Rozenfeld was recruited to Apple in 2017 by fellow former Sony Pictures TV executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who are leading the tech giant’s programming strategy.

Due to the management change, Matt Cherniss, head of scripted development at Apple TV+, will add current scripted series to his oversight. Molly Thompson will continue as head of documentaries.

The departure comes after Apple TV+ launched earlier this month with nine programs, several of which received mixed reviews. The effort was Apple’s first big push into original shows and movies, with the company expected to initially spend $1 billion to $2 billion annually on original content. Many of its programs were led by well-known celebrities or directors, including Oprah Winfrey, “Game of Thrones” star Jason Momoa and “Friends” actress Jennifer Aniston.

As Apple built its library of shows, it experienced some growing pains, with some people in Hollywood criticizing the company for being overly cautious by avoiding programming with gratuitous violence, sex or anything that shows the nefarious side of technology. Van Amburg and Erlicht have said that they are focused on producing high-quality content.

Though it’s a newcomer to Hollywood, Apple enjoys key advantages in the entertainment business, including ample cash reserves and a loyal network of more than 900 million mobile phone users.

Rozenfeld is president of Half Full Productions. Before joining Apple in 2017, he was an executive vice president of current programs at Sony Pictures Television.


Rozenfeld’s departure was first reported by Deadline.