Former WGN America president Matt Cherniss joins Apple’s global video team

As news broke that Apple is poised to become a major player in Hollywood by spending a cool $1 billion on original TV shows and movies in the next year, Variety reports that Matt Cherniss, who was a president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios, has joined the Cupertino technology giant’s growing worldwide video team.

Having left WGN America and Tribune after they were acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting, Cherniss will now serve under Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the former high-profile Sony Pictures Television executives who joined Apple in June.

Cherniss previously worked with Erlicht and Van Amburg to bring Sony’s hit shows “Underground” and “Outsiders” to WGN. During his tenure at WGN America, Cherniss helped develop their first original series, called “Salem.”

He also has movie experience, having worked as a production executive at Warner Bros.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Cherniss will assist Van Amburg and Erlicht with finding Hollywood shows Apple could acquire.

As we mentioned earlier this morning, the iPhone maker is bringing a billion dollar checkbook to Hollywood and wants to buy or produce as many as ten television shows in the next year.

The budget is half of what HBO spent on content last year and on par with what Amazon spent in 2013, the year after it announced its move into original programming.