Apple has spent the last couple of years filling out an executive team and buying up shows in an effort to build a slate of original content that it can offer customers. The people include executives from entertainment giants like Sony and Amazon. The shows include a drama that goes behind the scenes of morning shows and a sci-fi series from the creator of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.
That’s actually all we know for sure. Apple has said very little about its recent original content efforts outside the launches of Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. The company has said nothing about how these new shows will be distributed, when they’ll premiere, or how much it will cost to watch them.
In an effort to keep you up to date on Apple’s continuing original content efforts, here’s everything you need to know about them.
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What’s new with Apple TV shows and original content?
February 14, 2019: Apple’s streaming service to be unveiled March 25, launch in following months
Following reports that Apple would hold an event to unveil its new video streaming service on March 25, Variety reports that while the service would first see the light of day at the event, it’s not actually set to launch until this summer or fall.
Apple is going to give the world a first glimpse at its marquee video content at a press event in Cupertino, Calif., at the end of next month, where the iPhone maker is expected to show clips of its original series. However, sources familiar with the company’s plans told Variety that original series on the service may not launch until the summer, or even fall.
It makes sense that Apple would want to launch the service in the fall as the 2019-2020 TV season is getting started.
January 28, 2019: Apple buys Jada Pinkett Smith’s ‘Hala’ at Sundance
Apple has made a purchase at the Sundance film festival, snapping up the coming-of-age drama, Hala. The film, directed by Jada Pinkett Smith is expected to run on Apple’s upcoming streaming service. From Variety:
Baig’s project centers on 17-year-old Hala, who’s navigating the conflicting worlds of her traditional Muslim household and her modern high school. As she struggles with her identity, she uncovers a secret that threatens to destroy her nuclear family.
Apple’s streaming service is expected to debut later this year. It’s unknown whether Hala will be available immediately at the launch of the service.
List of Announced Apple TV Shows
Untitled morning show drama with Jennifer Anniston and Resse Witherspoon
Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon will star in an as-yet untitled drama set behind the scenes of the highly competitive morning show industry. Apple has given this show a two-season order.
The untitled Aniston-Witherspoon drama hails from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res studio, Aniston’s Echo Films and Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner. The starry project was highly sought after by a number of outlets and landed a two-season order (10 episodes per season) from Apple. Media Res, Aniston and Witherspoon are the principle owners of the show.
The series is based on an idea from Ellenberg and will draw background material from CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter’s 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which recounted the recent rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Jay Carson (“House of Cards”) is writing the pilot and will serve as showrunner. Stelter is serving as a consultant.
The cast is also set to include Steve Carell, Billy Crudup, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw among its cast.
Given how many of Apple’s current projects seem to be in the science fiction genre, picking up this show should really help round out the programming.
For All Mankind
Coming from Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, For All Mankind wonders what would have happened without
Ronald D. Moore is heading back to space. Apple has given a straight-to-series order to a space drama from the Battlestar Galactica developer. The untitled project hails from Sony Pictures Television and Moore’s studio-based Tall Ship Productions.
Created and written by Moore, along with Fargo co-executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, the untitled series explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended. Tall Ship Prods.’ Moore and Maril Davis executive produce with Wolpert and Nedivi.
A terrific concept from a terrific team. This could be the type of show that gets people to sign up and stay signed up.
Amazing Stories reboot
Exciting, right? In a deal with Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Television, Apple will produce at least 10 episodes of this sci-fi/fantasy anthology series. This is a reboot of a series produced by Spielberg in the mid-1980s.
“Amazing Stories” hails from Universal Television and Amblin Television. Spielberg, Fuller, Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and “Bones” creator Hart Hanson are exec producers. Spielberg spearheaded an earlier edition of “Amazing Stories” that ran from 1985 to 1987 on NBC.
The Apple iteration aims to enlist notable filmmakers and creative talent for each episode.
Amazing Stories occupies an almost Indiana Jones-style place in the hearts of many who came of age during the original series. Nostalgia, especially when it’s linked to so influential a creator, can be a powerful attractor.
See (from the creators o Peaky Blinders)
It is. Another straight-to-series order, this world-building drama set in the future will be written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence.
In a competitive situation, Apple has landed the hot TV package See with a straight-to-series order. An epic, world-building drama set in the future, the project is written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2). It comes from the recently launched scripted drama venture between Peter Chernin’s Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content.
Peaky Blinders is grim but captivating. Another distopian future show among several, it’s the quality of the writing and acting that’ll have to stand out.
Are You Sleeping, starring Octavia Spencer
Based on the novel of the same name, this series starring Octavia Spencer follows a how the reopening of a murder case impacts the victim’s daughter and starts to reshape how the world sees the victim.
Created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, the series will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Chernin Ent/Endeavor Content.
The series is based on Kathleen Barber’s novel of the same name, which gives a glimpse into the obsession with true crime podcasts and “challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.” Sarah Koenig, the creator and producer behind true crime podcast “Serial,” will consult on the series.)
Crime stories, especially when given the room to really breathe, are proven commodities.
The first documentary series from Apple, Home will consist of a 10-episode first season exploring extraordinary homes around the world and talk to the people who built them.
The series will offer viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary homes, and delves into the minds of the people who built them. Apple has ordered 10, one-hour episodes of the new series.
“Home” hails from executive producers Matt Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser of Altimeter Films, Matthew Weaver, Ian Orefice and Bruce Gersh from Time Inc. Productions, and Joe Poulin, CEO of Luxury Retreats. Tyrnauer also directs the docuseries. Altimeter Films, Time Inc. Productions, and Media Weaver Entertainment produce.
Even if it’s only Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous reimagined for the 2020s, the combination of wealth and reality TV should draw an audience.
Untitled half-hour comedy, starring Kristen Wiig
The first comedy series greenlit by Apple will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company and star Kristen Wiig.
The 10-episode, half-hour comedy is inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short story collection “You Think It, I’ll Say It.” It marks Wiig’s first regular television role since she left “Saturday Night Live” in 2012. She will also serve as an executive producer on the show.
Colleen McGuinness created the series and will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Witherspoon will executive produce via her Hello Sunshine banner along with Lauren Neustadter and Wiig. Sittenfeld will serve as a consulting producer. This also marks Apple’s first half-hour scripted comedy order.
People love to laugh, and it’s good to see a comedy on Apple’s production slate.
Untitled drama from La La Land’s Damien Chazelle
Apple has given another straight-to-series order, this time for a drama from La La Land writer/director Damien Chazelle. Little is known about the plot of the series at this time.
Details of the series’ plot are being kept under wraps, but Chazelle will write and direct every episode of the series, as well as serving as executive producer. In addition to Chazelle, the series will be executive produced by Jordan Horowitz via his Original Headquarters banner, and Fred Berger for Automatik Entertainment. Media Rights Capital is the studio.
This scripted drama series is inspired by the early life of Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors. From Variety:
Titled “Swagger,” the series is inspired by Durant’s youth basketball experiences. It will explore the world of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball and the lives of the players, their families, and coaches.
The series will be produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Television along with Durant’s Thirty Five Media. Durant and Grazer will executive produce, along with Imagine’s Francie Calfo and Thirty Five Media’s Rich Kleiman.
Reggie Rock Bythewood will write and direct. Bythewood previously collaborated with Imagine on the Fox limited series “Shots Fired,” which he created. His past credits include co-writing the screenplay for the Notorious BIG biopic “Notorious.”
Untitled thriller from M. Night Shyamalan
This psychological thriller will be Shyamalan’s second TV series, though beyond the genre and the fact that Shyamalan will direct the first episode, little is known about the show at the moment. From Variety:
The streaming service has given a straight-to-series order to a psychological thriller series from writer Tony Basgallop that Shyamalan will executive produce. Plot details for the series are being kept under wraps. The half-hour series has received a 10-episode order, with Shyamalan also set to direct the first episode.
Central Park (animated comedy)
Apple has ordered two seasons of this animated comedy from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard. From Variety:
The digital giant has given a two-season series order to “Central Park,” a musical comedy from “Bob’s Burgers” creator Loren Bouchard and 20th Century Fox Television. Written by Bouchard, Josh Gad, and Nora Smith, the series is described as telling the story of how a family of caretakers, who live and work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the world……Read more>>