Apple TV+ poaches senior Sony exec Chris Parnell for originals

Sony Pictures Television co-president Chris Parnell will leave the company later this month to take on a role at Apple TV+.

Parnell, who has been with Sony for more than 16 years, will take on a senior programming role at the streamer and help to drive development of Apple’s original series. He will report to Matt Cherniss, Apple’s head of scripted development.

In a leaked memo, Sony Pictures Television Studios president Jeff Frost said that the studio has “multiple projects” lined up with Apple and that he looks forward to working with Parnell in his new role.

Apple has been steadily expanding its slate of originals in recent weeks, including two co-pros with Israeli production companies; psychological thriller Losing Alice with Dori Media and Tehran with Donna Productions and Shula Spiegel Productions.

It has also recently ordered high school comedy The Afterparty, the Gal Gadot-starring biopic Hedy Lamarr and a reboot of popular children’s series Fraggle Rock.

Parnell joined Sony Pictures Television in 2003, during his tenure he led development on numerous high-profile Sony series, including Breaking Bad, Outlander and the upcoming Wheel Of Time.

“He has been an innovator and champion of bold new ideas, committed to finding and shining the spotlight on fresh voices and has never shied away from stories that pushed the boundaries,” Frost said of Parnell in the memo announcing his departure to staff.

With Parnell’s departure, Jason Clodfeter will become solo co-president at the company, responsible for overseeing the studio’s US drama and comedy development and US scripted and current programming, movies and miniseries, talent and casting, as well as TriStar Television, Affirm Television and Gemstone Studios.

Parnell isn’t the only top exec to be lured away from Sony Pictures Television this year. In February, the company’s then chairman Mike Hopkins joined Amazon to oversee its video entertainment businesses — including Prime Video and its movie and television unit Amazon Studios.

Meanwhile, at the start of the year, Apple TV+ inked production deals with both outgoing Starz president of programming Carmi Zlotnik and former HBO chief Richard Plepler, and hired BBC factual chief Alison Kirkham to oversee unscripted originals and features for its UK-based operations.

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