Apple’s TV shows: Titles, stars, release dates, and more
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.
January 16, 2018: Apple bidding on J.J. Abrams sci-fi series
J.J. Abrams, the creative force behind Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Fringe — as well as the recent Star Trek reboot and Star Wars sequels — is heading back to television. And it might just be with Apple.
According to Variety:
J.J. Abrams has written a new sci-fi drama television series that is currently the subject of a bidding war between Apple and HBO, Variety has confirmed with sources.
Details of the project are being kept under tight wraps, but it would reportedly deal with a world’s battle against a monstrous, oppressive force. Should the project move forward, it would be Abrams’ first TV writing gig since “Fringe” in 2008.
Abrams would also executive produce, with Ben Stephenson–head of television for Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions–also serving as an executive producer. Warner Bros. Television would produce. While HBO and Apple are the top contenders for the project, Warner Bros. is said to be open to other bidders.
Some of those series didn’t exactly go out with a bang but all of them started with one. And that’s the kind of attention and quality that’ll help make Apple into must-see TV.
What’s the latest on Apple’s original content plans?
Apple has ordered a so-called “world-building” drama, Seer. The futuristic show will be written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence, previously known for directing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, among other projects. As with Apple’s other shows, no release date has been announced.
Apple’s producing it’s own TV shows?
Indeed they are. Of course, you may have already watched a couple of them. Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke both debuted in 2017, though there’s been no word at this time on continuation on either of those series.
As for future content, Apple has been hiring executives and ordering shows over the last year to offer a solid, if seemingly-modest, slate of content to customers.
Does Apple have a team for producing new shows, or is it just kind of winging it?
Apple has hired a number of executives from the world of television to help jumpstart its own efforts. One of its biggest moves came in mid-2017 when it hiredJamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, both formerly of Sony. The duo has helped shepherd projects like Breaking Bad, Justified, and The Crown.
At the end of 2017, Apple hired three high-profile entertainment executives away from Amazon Studios. Tara Sorensen, the head of Amazon’s children’s programming, has made the move to Cupertino, along with international development exec Carina Walker and business affairs head Tara Pietri.
What kinds of TV projects are being developed? Are they all kid-friendly?
While we don’t know the exact nature of every project that Apple’s ordered, we can infer some things about what their content offers will look like.
There were some rumors towards the end of last year that Apple would focus on more family-friendly programming, and the hiring of Sorensen from Amazon certainly suggests that they want to develop those kind of shows. But looking at some of the other shows that the company has ordered, it seems a likely that there will also be shows geared more towards adults.
For instance, Apple has ordered two seasons of a new drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston set in the highly competitive and cutthroat world morning TV news and lifestyle programs. That doesn’t exactly seem like children’s fare. There’s also the upcoming sci-fi drama series from Ronald D. Moore, currently the show runner of Starz’s Outlander. Before Outlander, Moore developed and ran the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Both shows certainly contain their share of adult content.
So if you’re worried that Apple’s just going to market their service towards one type of customers, it’s okay to calm down.
Do we have any details on specific shows?
Here are the shows that Apple has ordered:
Untitled morning show drama
Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon will start in this drama set behind the scenes of the highly competitive morning show industry. Apple has given this show a two-season order.
Untitled sci-fi drama
Coming from Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, almost nothing is known about this series so far. Apple has given this show a straight-to-series order as well.
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.
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.
Are You Sleeping
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.
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.
Is Apple going to start a Netflix competitor?
At this stage, we know so little about Apple’s distribution plans that everything is pure speculation. While it would seem likely that Apple would offer a new service, the company has so far distributed its original shows, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, using Apple Music. Subscribers to that service are able to watch every episode of both shows at no additional cost.
But could they create a standalone video service, like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video? Apple has the infrastructure but, at least right now, the company is a little light on content, though that’s bound to change. It also has a vast library of video content with the shows and movies on iTunes, but the company would have to cut deals to offer unlimited streaming on that content, rather than selling it all à la carte.
The most likely option, at least in the short term, is for Apple to keep doing what it’s doing and associate its streaming video efforts with Apple Music. The company could bundle it in with the service, or even treat it as a paid add-on.
Where will we be able to watch these shows?
Again, this is an area that’s a little fuzzy. That being said, if these shows to appear in the TV app on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad, I would personally be shocked. It comes pre-installed on all of those devices, and now that it has notifications, Apple can alert you whenever one of its original shows premieres or adds a new episode.
Any questions about Apple’s upcoming original TV content?
If you have any questions about Apple’s original content efforts, kindly leave a comment. Also keep coming back to this page, which we’ll be updating over time as more information comes in.
Apple’s TV shows: Titles, stars, release dates, and more