Cherniss, a respected veteran network development executive, had been in demand since he recently stepped down as president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios. He had been approached for multiple jobs though, after stints at Fox, Warner Bros., FX and WGNA, I hear he had indicated his interest in pursuing opportunities outside of the traditional Hollywood system.
At Apple, Cherniss’ title is believed to be head of domestic creative development, reporting to Erlicht and Van Amburg. He is one of a series of high-level executive appointments Erlicht and Van Amburg are expected to make as they build TV development and production operation from scratch.
Cherniss served as president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios for the past four years, overseeing WGNA’s transformation from a superstation to a cable network and home of high-end original drama series with series like Salem, Manhattan, Outsiders and Underground. He exited last month as the network is changing programming strategy in light of parent Tribune’s pending acquisition by Sinclair away from high-end homegrown dramas toward low-cost international acquisitions.
Before joining WGNA in 2013, Cherniss spent two years on the feature side, working as SVP Production for Warner Bros. where he oversaw the development and production of such movies as 300: Rise Of An Empire. Prior to that, Cherniss was EVP Programming and the No. 2 programming executive for Fox Broadcasting Co, where he shepherded the development of such series as Glee, Raising Hope, and Bob’s Burgers. As SVP Original Programming at FX, Cherniss played an integral role in the development of Damage, Nip/Tuck, as well as Rescue Me and Sons Of Anarchy.