Apple in Search for Programming Chief

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. While the company has taken on a few projects like reality competition show “Planet of the Apps” and the “Carpool Karaoke” series, many in Hollywood have been flummoxed by what exactly Apple wants to do with video. Questions include how far Apple wants to go in making its own shows and whether it wants to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. 

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Other tech companies have hired from Hollywood to lead programming efforts. In 2015, YouTube hired former MTV executive Susanne Daniels to be its chief of content and help develop original shows as part of its subscription service, YouTube Red. A former Disney executive, Roy Price, runs Amazon Studios.

—Amir Efrati contributed to this report

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Aware of the executive search, some Hollywood agents have suggested names of clients to fill the job, said one television executive.