Former veteran NBC executive Vernon Sanders has joined Amazon Studios as Co-Head of Television. He will work alongside Co-Head of Television, Albert Cheng, overseeing the creative and production units of the television operation for Amazon Prime Video, with both reporting to Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.
Sanders’ appointment comes a little over a month after new Amazon Studios head Salke restructured the studio’s TV operation, naming Amazon Studios COO Cheng, who had served as interim head of the studio following the ouster of Roy Price last fall, as co-head of television. He was to be partnered with another co-head of television coming from creative/programming background. Salke, who moved to Amazon this spring after a seven-year stint as president of entertainment for NBC, spent the last month meeting with potential candidates, with Sanders, who had worked with her at NBC, emerging as a leading contender early on.
“Vernon’s undeniable expertise in nurturing talent and creative material will be a huge asset to our studio,” said Salke. “Having worked side-by-side with him for seven years at NBC Entertainment, I can speak first-hand to his talents as a leader and creative force. I know Vernon and Albert Cheng will be a formidable team as we continue to build Amazon Studios.”
Sanders in November exited his post as NBC’s EVP Current Programming after a long tenure at the network to become a producer under an exclusive overall producing deal with NBC sibling Universal Television. He joined the Amazing Stories anthology series reboot for Apple, and executive produced the NBC drama pilot The Enemy Within, which was picked up to series earlier this month.
In his second stint as NBC head of Current Programming after a year break to run comedy from 2014-2015, Sanders oversaw such NBC series as This Is Us, The Blacklist, The Good Place, Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise, and the recent revival of Will & Grace. Previously, Sanders served as SVP Drama Programming, both the network and studio, overseeing such series as Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, as well as EVP Comedy Programming. From 2007-2008, he served as SVP Comedy Series for Uni TV predecessor Universal Media Studios, shepherding such series as the Emmy-winning 30 Rock and The Office. Sanders also led the first year of the studio’s Director in Training program.
“I am tremendously excited to be joining Jennifer Salke, Albert Cheng and the forward-thinking team at Amazon Studios as they build an incredible destination for high-quality, compelling content,” Sanders said. “My time as a producer has reaffirmed my passion for working closely with creators to champion shows which delight and surprise our audiences. I’m grateful to my family at NBCU for their support as I jump into this new challenge.”