For some time now, it’s been painfully clear that Apple has no idea what it’s doing in the TV space. Not only has this been plainly evident from Apple’s lack of action in the area, Hollywood sources have relayed that industry executives often leave meetings with Apple with no idea as to what the company’s ultimate goals really are. And while companies like Netflix, Amazon and even YouTube are doubling down on original content, Apple can’t even manage to release its own version of Carpool Karaoke on time.
In a development that may signal Apple’s desire to actually formulate a compelling strategy in the TV space — as it pertains to original programming — a new report from The Information relays that Apple executives are perhaps interested in bringing Michael Lombardo on board.
HBO’s former programming head Michael Lombardo met with Apple executives earlier this year to discuss Apple’s video programming strategy, says a person familiar with the talks. The talks suggest Mr. Lombardo could be a candidate to run Apple’s video efforts. Apple has been looking to fill that role, said another person briefed on those efforts.
Hiring a programming chief would signal to the entertainment community that Apple was serious about making its own shows and movies.
Though not a household name, Lombardo formerly served as HBO’s president of programming, and if there is one thing HBO has historically always been good at, it’s rolling out premium original shows that quickly become iconic and mainstream talking points, with The Sopranos and Game of Thrones being just two of many examples.
While nothing is official just yet, Apple talking to a figure as knowledgeable as Lombardo is encouraging, especially if Apple truly wants to embrace original content and reinvent the TV as has been previously rumored. While a show like Carpool Karaoke is certainly prone to going viral here and there, it’s really no match for long-form series capable of engaging viewers at an entirely different level.
Incidentally, Apple has clearly been exploring its media options more seriously over the past many months. Earlier this year, for example, word surfaced that Apple was previously in talks to acquire Imagine Entertainment, the iconic TV and movie production studio responsible for TV shows like Friday Night Lights and Empire and movies like Apollo 13 and 8 Mile.