Ex-HBO Boss and Apple Producer Richard Plepler Looks To Hire Vice News Chief

Date : 01/31/2020 @ 8:22PM
Source : Dow Jones News
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Ex-HBO Boss and Apple Producer Richard Plepler Looks To Hire Vice News Chief

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By Benjamin Mullin and Joe Flint 

Former HBO boss Richard Plepler is seeking to recruit Vice Media veteran Josh Tyrangiel to his new production company, Eden Productions, people familiar with the situation said, a move that would add an executive with news experience as his outfit prepares to make shows for Apple Inc.

Mr. Tyrangiel's role would include helping build the documentary wing of Eden Productions, which Mr. Plepler founded last year after stepping down as chief executive of AT&T Inc.'s HBO, the people said.

New York-based Eden Productions said earlier this year that it signed a five-year deal to produce content exclusively for Apple TV+, Apple's new streaming service.

Mr. Plepler and Mr. Tyrangiel haven't reached an agreement and talks could break down. The production portfolio of Eden Productions hasn't yet been fully defined, and it is possible Mr. Tyrangiel's role could change if he is hired, one of the people said.

Apple declined to comment.

Mr. Tyrangiel is a media veteran whose résumé includes awards for his work in print, digital and TV news. Until last year, he was the executive producer of "Vice News Tonight," a half-hour daily newscast produced by Vice Media LLC for HBO. In September, Vice Media said that "Vice News Tonight" won 10 Emmys and garnered 33 nominations during its nearly four-year run.

HBO canceled "Vice News Tonight" last year. Vice Media is putting a version of the show on Viceland, a network it jointly owns with A&E Networks.

Mr. Plepler left HBO last year after a long career at the cable network, including a six-year stint in the top job. He played a major role in such programming successes as the shows "Game of Thrones" and "Veep." On his watch, HBO launched its foray into direct-to-consumer streaming. As a key producer for Apple, he will be competing against a raft of streaming services, including Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Walt Disney Co.'s Disney+ and AT&T's forthcoming HBO Max, among others.

Apple TV+ -- which costs $4.99 a month, but comes free for a year with new Apple devices -- has a slim roster of programming compared to its rivals. It has focused on high end, pricey productions thus far. Its first batch of shows includes "The Morning Show," starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and space drama "For All Mankind."

Apple hired industry veteran Molly Thompson last year as head of documentaries. The company's early programming plans include several documentaries such as "The Elephant Queen," about an elephant leading her herd across Africa, and "Visible: Out on Television," a five-part series that delves into the history of the LGBTQ movement through TV.

Mr. Tyrangiel had a high-profile brush with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook earlier in his career. Mr. Cook announced he was gay in a first-person essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, a story he pitched to Mr. Tyrangiel in 2014 when he was the top editor of that publication. Before joining Bloomberg LP, Mr. Tyrangiel was deputy managing editor of Time magazine.

Tripp Mickle contributed to this article.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 31, 2020 15:07 ET (20:07 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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