Ben Silverman, Will.i.am Producing Unscripted Series for Apple

Ben Silverman & Will.i.am
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The show will explore the Apple app ecosystem.

Apple has lined up its next original TV project, and this time the iPhone maker is exploring a topic that hits close to home.

The company has teamed up with executive producers Ben Silverman, musician Will.i.am and Howard Owens’ Propagate for an unscripted series about the Apple app ecosystem. Apple is offering few details about the project, but Silverman says it will, at least in part, highlight the stories of how Apple apps are developed.

“We’ve seen some really, truly inspiring and incredible stories from our developers in what they’ve done, where they come from, how they started and the problems they’ve solved,” explains Eddy Cue, who oversee iTunes and Apple Music among other software and services at Apple.  

Adds Silverman: “We can really tell their stories as we explore how apps are developed and created and incubated.”

Silverman and Cue have a relationship that stems back to Silverman's time as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment when he and Cue worked together to promote The Office during its early years. Silverman says that Owens and Will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas frontman and a tech entrepreneur, brought the project to him and he took it straight to Apple. “They’re the only partners that can make this idea happen,” he adds.

Apple created the App Store in 2008 as a place to distribute software for its mobile devices. The company now operates app stores for its computers and the Apple TV.

This is Silverman's first move since leaving Electus, the studio he co-founded. Silverman has been out of the day-to-day at the company since September but, according to a source, Electus bought back his shares earlier this week. 

The unscripted series is the second TV project to emerge from Apple in recent months. After spending the better part of last year negotiating with TV networks about a skinny TV bundle distributed via Apple TV, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has pulled back from those plans and instead placed its focus on a series of one-off projects. The first is Vital Signs, a scripted drama starring Apple exec and music mogul Dr. Dre, which is expected to launch as part of subscription music service Apple Music. The company is also distributing a music docuseries from Vice called The Score, which premiered March 23 on Apple Music.

Since the launch of the Apple TV in 2007, television had taken a back seat at Apple, where executives have focused on big sellers such as the iPhone and iPad. But the company signaled that it was making the living room a new focus last fall with the release of a revamped Apple TV set-top box, which includes access to Apple Music and Siri voice command.

Cue declined to comment on how the new unscripted series will be distributed, noting that the project is in an early phase and many details are still being worked out. “We certainly want everyone to be able to watch this on their TV, iPhones and iPads,” he acknowledges, explaining that it’s “a brand new thing that we’re doing.”

 

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