Amazon Studios Names Albert Cheng Co-Head of Television, Restructures Scripted Development Team


Several weeks after former NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke started her job as new head of Amazon Studios, the company has restructured its TV operation.

Amazon Studios COO Albert Cheng, who served as interim head of the studio following the ouster of Roy Price last fall until Salke’s appointment, has been named co-head of television.

Amazon Studios

Additionally, Sharon Tal Yguado, who had overseen all scripted TV programming for Amazon for the six months following the exits of Price and his top lieutenant Joe Lewis, will return to the role she was originally brought in for as Head of Genre. Marc Resteghini, who most recently oversaw current drama series, has been named Head of Drama (non-genre), replacing Nick Hall who has been named Head of Alternative. Gina Kwon and Ryan Andolina will continue as co-heads of comedy. Georgia Brown, Amazon’s director of original TV for Europe, has been named Head of UK-originated Scripted TV. Heather Schuster remains Head of Unscripted and Melissa Wolfe remains Head of Kids Programming.

Cheng will be partnered with another co-head of television who will be named in the coming months. The two will be jointly responsible for leading the television division with day-to-day oversight of the business, creative and production units, reporting to Salke. Cheng also retains the position as COO of all of Amazon Studios.

“I’m delighted that an opportunity for Albert to be elevated within the Television Studios has been created,” Salke said. “His business acumen, collaborative nature and clear goals toward continued success make him an invaluable team player as we move forward.”

Cheng comes from a business background, and the other co-head of Amazon TV is expected to be a high-level creative executive in a setup reminiscent to 20th Century Fox TV, which has been run for a long time by Dana Walden and Gary Newman. Salke likely will meet with potential candidates in the next few months. The pending Disney-Fox merger could put a number of top programming executives in play. ABC Studios president Patrick Moran, who had worked with Salke at 20th TV, had been mentioned as a possibility should he become available.

Cheng is an MIT graduate who worked as an engineer for Boeing before going to Harvard Business School. Prior to joining Amazon, he served as EVP and chief product officer of digital media at the Disney-ABC TV Group where his team launched the Watch ABC App.

Amazon Studios

Fox international TV veteran Tal Yguado joined Amazon Studios in January 2017 as Head of Event Series, tasked with the development and production of big scope, big event genre series — hourlong science fiction, action, fantasy and horror series. She put in development a slew of high-profile titles, including Ringworld, Lazarus and Snow Crash and spearheaded overall deals with The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman and Stranger Things’ Justin Doble.

Nine months into her job, Tal Yguado was named interim head of scripted programming for Amazon Studios. Working closely with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, she continued to aggressively buy projects, led by the blockbuster deal for a Lord of the Rings series.

There had been rumblings that Tal Yguado was contemplating an exit over the past two months but sources said that she was offered to stay and again focus on genre series where Amazon’s main programming push has been.

As Head of Genre, Tal Yguado will be in charge of hourlong event genre series in the areas of science fiction, fantasy and supernatural.

As Head of Drama, Resteghini will be the point for all non-genre one-hour programming.

As Co-Heads Comedy, Kwon and Andolina will continue to oversee both single and multi-camera series.

Hall’s responsibilities as Head of Alternative include YA, specialty series and supporting efforts to drive talent and new ventures to the service.

As Head of UK-originated Scripted TV, Brown will oversee includes sourcing, developing and producing the best available series originating out of the UK. Georgia will also retain her responsibilities for EU Originals (for Germany, France, Italy and Spain). Brown will co-report to Co-Heads of Television for UK-originated Scripted TV and to Brad Beale for EU Originals.

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