Apple has announced its original content service, dubbed Apple TV+.
You shouldn’t think of this as a Netflix alternative, not exactly. Apple doesn’t have anywhere near the level of original content, or a licensed back catalogue of TV shows and movies to pull that off. At least not yet.
It has remained tight-lipped about its line-up until today’s big event, but here’s what we know about what the company is bringing to its streaming platform later year.
Clearly Apple thinks Oprah is one of the main drawcards. She is working on two heavy-hitting documentaries for the service — one exploring sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and another focusing on mental health and addiction.
“If we do our jobs right, we’re going to replace shame and stigma with wisdom, compassion and honesty,” she said this morning.
Her Book Club is also coming to Apple, with Oprah expected to interview authors for a new show.
THE MORNING SHOW
A drama about a morning TV show featuring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell called The Morning Show will be a flagship program in Apple’s library. Apple has already committed to a two-season, 20-episode order.
The series will be a behind-the-scenes look at the production of a morning show exploring issues like gender in the workplace, based on CNN presenter and former New York Times media writer Brian Stelter’s book, Top of the Morning.
Witherspoon and Aniston are producing and starring, while Steve Carell, Billy Crudup, and Mark Duplass are also slated to star.
A revival of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories that briefly ran in the 1980s will be coming to the platform. The reboot of the a sci-fi anthology series will have a new name and has reportedly had issues during filming.
SHOW FROM ALWAYS SUNNY CREATOR
Fans of cult classic sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will be pleased as creator Rob McElhenney and co-star Charlie Day are said to be producing a comedy series about a video game company for the Apple platform.
The half-hour series is the first collaboration for McElhenney and Day since It’s Always Sunny, which is heading into its 14th season.
The show will be co-produced by video game producer Ubisoft.
The couple behind indie film The Big Sick, husband-and-wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, are set to produce a series about immigrants called Little America.
The half-hour series will be an anthology show based on true stories from Epic Magazine, exploring the experiences of immigrants a new land, stories that could be heartfelt, funny, inspiring or something else altogether.
It is inspired by Nanjiani’s own move to the US from Pakistan and landing in Iowa to a very different country to the one he saw portrayed in TV and movies.
Little America will be produced by Master of None co-creator Alan Yang.
ARE YOU SLEEPING
Apple productions is set to adapt the true crime best-selling book of the same name by Kathleen Barber.
The story is about a popular podcast that puts a cold case murder back in the public eye and unravels the life of the protagonist.
The screen adaptation is being written by Nichelle D. Tramble who has worked on The Good Wife and Justified and is attached to the upcoming HBO series Confederate. The series, which has also been called Truth Be Told, is being produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine.
Starring Jason Momoa from Aquaman, this show “takes place in a world devastated by a virus that left only a few million survivors who emerged blind”.
The series actually takes place centuries after the horrible event when if people could ever see in the first place becomes a point of contention.
Momoa will play a warrior while Alfre Woodard is set to portray a priestess.
It is directed by Francis Lawrence who helmed three of The Hunger Games movies and was written by Steven Knight, the scribe behind Taboo and Peaky Blinders.
FOR ALL MANKIND
Apple is hoping to tap into the frenzy for big-scale sci-fi and fantasy shows with For All Mankind, created by Ronald D. Moore, the man behind Battlestar Galactica and Outlander. The show’s premise is “what happens if the space race had never ended” and stars Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon), Kiwi actor Michael Dorman (Patriot, The Secret Life of Us) and Sarah Jones (Alcatraz).
ON THE ROCKS
Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola and star Bill Murray will reunite in this feature film about a young mother (Rashida Jones) who reconnects with her eccentric playboy father (Murray).
On the Rocks swaps out Tokyo for New York City as the pair head off on an adventure around the metropolis.
Coppola and Murray has previously reunited on Murray’s Netflix Christmas special.
The movie is the first project of a deal between Apple and indie film producers A24 who released Moonlight, Hereditary, Ex Machina and Room.
As unlikely as this sounds, Dickinson is a comedy about famed 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson. This will be a much younger version of Dickinson that was recently portrayed by Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion.
This Emily will be played by True Grit and Bumblebee star Hailee Steinfeld.
The coming-of-age story was written by Alena Smith (The Newsroom, The Affair).
According to Variety, the show is “a comedic look into Dickinson’s world, exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view”.
THE ELEPHANT QUEEN
Apple has been snapping up rights to exclusive content, including The Elephant Queen, a wildlife documentary from acclaimed filmmakers that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. It follows the struggle of a mother elephant as she protects her family during a difficult journey.
“Athena is a mother who will do everything in her power to protect her herd when they are forced to leave their waterhole and embark on an epic journey across the African savannah in a tale of love, loss and coming home,” according to the movie’s logline.
In August last year, The New York Times Magazine published an epic 30,000 word feature article titled, Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change. It took up an entire issue of the magazine and earned widespread critical acclaim.
Apple is set to have a “series” inspired by the article, The New York Times reported.
The long-form piece looked at the decade from 1979 to 1989, when humans first learned about the climate change risk and a small team of scientists, politicians and activists set about trying to protect the planet before it was too late.
Apple has also bought the rights to Hala, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
The film by American directed by Minhal Baig follows Hala, 17-year-old girl raised in a conservative Muslim family who is discovering herself sexually and struggling to balance two cultures.
When Hala meets a classmate named Jesse, a fellow skateboarder, she’s up against her family’s desire for an arranged marriage with someone from her own culture.
Jada Pinkett Smith is an executive producer on the project.
Australian actor Geraldine Viswanathan (Miracle Workers, Blockers) stars in the title role, alongside Gabriel Luna and Anna Chlumsky.
A adaptation of the hugely popular and sprawling Shantaram book is coming, courtesy of Apple TV+.
The 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts, follows a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from a Victorian prison and flees to India. The novel has been praised for its vivid portrayal of tumultuous life in Bombay, and is inspired by true events.
The Eric Warren SInger, co-writer of American Hustle, is reportedly on board.
Previous attemps to adapt Shantaram has seen Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Forrest Gump writer Eric Roth and Bend it Like Beckham director Mira Nair attached at various points.
A NEW SHYAMALAN THRILLER
A super secretive project from M. Night Shyamalan, the American director behind horror flicks The Sixth Sense and Signs, is on board with Apple. Not much is known about this other than it has a 10-episode, half-hour, straight-to-series order and it stars Rupert Grint, Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell and Nell Tiger Free.
The life of basketball player Kevin Durant who plays for the championship winning team the Golden State Warriors provides the inspiration for this drama.
Swagger will follow Durant’s early years in the sport as a young player in the world AAU basketball in Washington DC, according to Variety.
Reggie Rock Blythwood (Notorious, Shots Fired) will serve as showrunner.
Chris Evans will headline this miniseries based on William Landy’s best-selling novel about a father dealing with the unthinkable accusation that his teenage son is a murderer.
Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell will also star.
The series was created by Mark Bomback (Outlaw King, The Wolverine) while Oscar nominee Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) has been attached as a director.
MY GLORY WAS I HAD SUCH FRIENDS
Jennifer Garner is re-teaming up with director JJ Abrams in this miniseries adapted from Amy Silverstein’s 2017 memoir of the same name.
The drama is about a woman awaiting heart surgery and the group of people who supported her.
Abrams wrote the part of Sidney Bristow for Garner in the five-season Alias after she guest-starred on his series, Felicity.
Apple has struck a deal with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind the iconic Sesame Street kids program. It won’t include the well-known show but instead will involve original live-action and animated content.
There are a handful of other shows reportedly in the works over at Apple studios. But the company remains tight-lipped about its programming and wouldn’t be drawn on it at today’s event.
Apple has already released two original video series on Apple Music, a reality competition Planet Of The Apps and a Carpool Karaoke spin-off, that will help it build out its library.
However, both shows were not particularly well received by critics.
Planet of the Apps, which is like Shark Tank but for app designers featuring celebrity judges, failed to inspire, and the Carpool Karaoke show that originated on British comedian James Cordon’s late-night show didn’t translate well to a longer format.
The author travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Apple.