Former HBO chief Richard Plepler signs production deal with Apple

Posted January 2, 2020 4:26 p.m. EST

— Richard Plepler, the executive who launched "Game of Thrones" and other hit series at HBO, has signed an exclusive production deal with Apple.

Under the five-year deal, the former HBO CEO and chairman will produce content for the tech giant's new streaming service, Apple TV+. That includes original TV series, feature films and documentaries. Plepler will produce the new content via his New York-based production company, Eden Productions.

"Apple is one of the most creative companies in the world, and the perfect home for my new production company and next chapter," Plepler said in a statement on Thursday.

Financial aspects of the deal were not disclosed. The New York Times was the first to report the news.

Plepler announced in February that he was leaving HBO after nearly 28 years at the company. Plepler's departure came days after an appeals court ruled in favor of AT&T's purchase of HBO's parent company, WarnerMedia, which was known at the time as Time Warner (CNN is also a unit of WarnerMedia).

"It has been the great joy of my professional life to share this ride with you over these many years. And the great honor of my professional life to be your CEO," Plepler wrote in his memo to staff at the time.

HBO's future was a matter of discussion in media circles at the time of Plepler's departure, with AT&T executives expressing a desire to ramp up production at the premium cable network.

WarnerMedia has announced plans for HBO to be a major part of its new streaming service, HBO Max, which will launch in May.

Apple TV+ is the tech company's first major leap in to the streaming world. The service, which launched in November, comes with a slate of a content from some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa and Oprah Winfrey. The service costs $4.99 per month or is free for a year with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV.

In his first interview since leaving HBO, Plepler told the New York Times on Thursday that the only serious talks he had after leaving HBO was with Apple.

"I thought that Apple was the right idea very quickly, just because it was embryonic enough that I thought maybe, you know, I could make a little contribution there," he said.

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