Rozenfield, a TV veteran quickly recruited to Apple TV+ by heads of programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, is departing his role as head of current scripted programming and documentary and unscripted content as the streaming service restructures its executive ranks, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He’ll still be affiliated with the company via a first-look agreement with his firm, Half Full Productions. Deadline reported that the reshuffle will put head of scripted development Matt Cherniss in charge of current scripted series, while Head of Documentaries Molly Thompson will “continue to oversee documentary film and series programming, development and current.”
News of Rozenfield’s decision to leave comes just 10 days after Apple debuted four scripted shows (Dickinson, For All Mankind, The Morning Show and See) as well as Oprah’s Book Club and some children’s programming, the Reporter noted. The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, was reportedly outlandishly expensive – perhaps exceeding the final season of Game of Thrones’ $15-million-per-episode budget – and received largely unflattering reviews for a project of that magnitude. See, which reportedly had a similarly massive budget, scored just 41 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregation of critics’ reviews. (For All Mankind and Dickinson have fared somewhat better, with both getting 72 per cent.)
On the other hand, all four originals had much better user reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (See and For All Mankind in the 80s, and Dickinson and The Morning Show in the 90s). They’ve all been renewed and the Hollywood Reporter previously reported that sources said each received “millions” of viewers, with Apple “thrilled” at the level of engagement and viewership growing by “triple digits” day to day on the first weekend of November.
However, the first weekend of Apple TV+ was free, and Disney’s own streaming service with a much more robust library debuts on Tuesday, so it will be facing stiff competition. Gizmodo took Apple TV+ for a spin and also found it rife with technical issues, many of which will doubtlessly be resolved but could hurt the streaming service as it gets out the gate.