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Apple original TV programming: What’s it producing and why?

By reviews / 14. June 2018

Apple has been said to be investing in its original programming to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon for some time now, but we’ve yet to see any truly compelling TV shows or movies. 

The tech giant was originally said to be producing TV shows starring Dr Dre and Will.i.am, but they never came to fruition. Instead, Apple currently produces Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series, which is a spin-off of the popular segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden in the US. 

That could finally be set to change as a report from The New York Times has recently claimed that the tech giant is investing $1 billion in original content, with the aim to begin streaming from March 2019 and some big names signed on to star. 


So what exactly has Apple got in the pipeline? We’ve done our research and laid out the company’s plans below.

Apple original content: Why is Apple producing TV?

The Street reported all the way back in 2015 that Apple had met with Hollywood studios and executives about developing original TV shows, so the idea for Apple to get into original content isn’t new.

It was thought at first that this original content could spearhead Apple’s oft-rumoured streaming TV service, which has been repeatedly delayed due to the company’s inability to secure content deals with CBS, ABC, Fox, Disney, Viacom, etc. 

iTunes chief Eddy Cue began leading discussions with Hollywood, with the idea that any content Apple produced could be made available for rent or purchase on iTunes. However, some conflicting reports suggests Apple’s content would be restricted to the Apple Music streaming service. 

Netflix, which has disrupted Hollywood in recent years, produces original shows like Daredevil, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black. It was believed for some time that Apple would adopt a similar strategy to Netflix, and launch its own dedicated streaming service, accessible only through Apple TV, Mac, and iOS devices, which could then lead to bolster sales of its products. 

News surrounding a dedicated streaming service has died down ever since Apple launched Apple Music. Its current shows, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, are available to stream though that service. We’d wager that any future content will come to the Apple Music platform as well. 

Apple original content: Current TV shows

Planet of the Apps

Planet of the Apps has been streaming since 6 June 2017. The show is presented by Beats 1 radio DJ Zane Lowe and sees app developers given 60 seconds to pitch their new app ideas to judges Jessica Alba, Gwenyth Paltrow, Will.i.am and Gary Vaynerchuk. So far there has only been one season of the show, but you can still watch all 10 episodes on Apple Music. 

There is currently no word on when a second season will debut.

Carpool Karaoke: The Series

Apple acquired the rights to Carpool Karaoke from The Late Late Show with James Coren, and began streaming it through Apple Music on 9 August 2017. The first season comprises 19 episodes, with a second season due to go into production. 

In each episode, James Corden either rides along with a celebrity or celebrities in his car, or a couple of celebrities will drive around together. They will then singalong to various songs and stop off in places of sentimental meaning, giving the public a nice surprise, and a insight into their lives. 

Apple original content: What TV shows are planned?

Apple has ordered 12 new TV shows and has paid a reported $1 billion so far. Nine of the 12 series are due to go into production very soon, with the other three still in development. 

Amazing Stories

Apple is rebooting the Amazing Stories TV series, created by Steven Spielberg, that was broadcast in the US from 1985 – 1987. Spielberg has signed on to be executive producer of the show, along with Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, who work for Spielberg’s Amblin Television production company also coming on to executive produce. Bryan Fuller was originally signed on to direct, but he has since left the project. The first season of the Amazing Stories reboot will comprise 10 episodes.

Central Park

Central Park will be an animated musical comedy TV series created by Loren Bouchard, creator of Bob’s Burgers. Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Titus Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Digs and Kathryn Hahn are all due to star. The series will tell the story of “a family of caretakers, who live and work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the world.”


Home will be a documentary series that travels around the world to to show the audience some of the most extraordinary homes. A single season of 10 episodes has been ordered so far and it will be directed by Matt Tynauer. Netflix already has a similar series called “The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes”.


See will be a drama television series, but filming won’t begin until summer 2018. See will be an “epic, world-building drama” according to a report from Deadline and has been created by Steven Knight (responsible for Peaky Blinders) and will be directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2).

Damien Chazelle project

Damien Chazelle, director of La La Land, has signed on to direct a drama series. Details surrounding the as yet unnamed series are thin on the ground, but Chazelle is said to be directing, writing and producing every episode.

Kristen Wiig project

Kristen Wiig will star in a 10 episode comedy TV series based on the short story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfield. Kristen Wiig, Reese Witherspoon, Colleen McGuinness and Lauren Neustadter are set to executive produce. 

M. Night Shyamalan project

Apple has also ordered a thriller series, which is set to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The first series will be comprise 10 half-hour episodes, but the plot is being kept a closely guarded secret. 

Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston project

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, two of Hollywood’s leading ladies, will star in an upcoming TV drama series that will focus on the lives of people working in morning television. 20 episodes have been ordered across two seasons, with both ladies set to act as producers as well. 

Ronald D. Moore project

Ronald D. Moore, who is a showrunner on Outlander – a popular Starz series that is available through Amazon Prime – and creator of the rebooted version of Battlestar Galactica, will direct a new sci-fi drama series that takes place “in a world in which the global space race never ended”. One season has been ordered so far.

Are You Sleeping?

Are You Sleeping? is a TV drama series that is still in development. It will be based on the novel of the same name, written by Kathleen Barber and will be adapted for television by Nichelle Tramble Spellman. Octavia Spencer is set to star in and executive produce the series, which will provide “a unique glimpse into Americas obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.”

The series has recently acquired the acting talents of Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, who will star in the show alongside Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us), Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Michael Beach (Sons of Anarchy), Tracie Thoms (UnREAL), and Haneefah Wood (Nurse Jackie). 

Little America

Little America will be a 30-minute anthology series, created by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who are both responsible for The Big Sick, Lee Eisenberg and Alan Yang of SMILF and Master of None fame, respectively. The show will be based on true stories published in Epic Magainze, focusing on the lives of immigrants in America and how they contribute to America’s overall portrait. 


Swagger will be a TV drama series based on the early life and career of NBA and Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant. The series will not only focus on his early life, but will also delve into the world of Amateur Athletic Union basketball and the lives of families, coaches and players. 


Apple original content: Music videos

When Apple Music first launched, it debuted a new music video by Drake called Energy. Prior to that, Apple had exclusively debuted videos for Pharrell’s Freedom and Eminem’s Phenomenal. 

Since then, Apple has posted exclusive musical video content. While not necessarily music videos in the traditional sense, content includes exclusive performances from some of the world’s biggest artists, including Pink and Harry Styles and you can even stream Taylor Swift’s 1989 world tour.

Apple original content: Want to know more?

Stay tuned to Pocket-lint’s Apple hub for related news and analysis.

Original source: https://www.pocket-lint.com/tv/news/apple/137161-apple-original-tv-programming-what-s-it-producing-and-why

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