5:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Apple's Big TV Push: A Comprehensive Guide to All Its Programming (So Far)
Since tapping Sony's Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to lead worldwide video programming over a year ago, Apple has been on a spending spree for high-end TV series. Meanwhile, Apple's plans for how — and when — it will to roll out its star-studded content remain shrouded in mystery.
As the iPhone maker and world's most valued company continues to aggressively pursue top creators and TV packages with its $1 billion budget, here's a guide to keep track of who's running the show and all of Apple's originals.
THE TOP DECISION MAKERS
Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg serve as heads of worldwide video and chief content officers. The duo were hired June 16, 2017, and effectively started Sept. 1 after their deals with Sony Pictures TV expired. They report directly to senior vp internet software and services Eddy Cue. For the past year, the duo have quickly built an impressive executive team (as well as programming slate).
Matt Cherniss, formerly of WGN America, is head of creative development (domestic) after buying multiple series from Erlicht and Van Amburg during their tenure at Sony.
Morgan Wandell serves as head of international creative development after serving in a similar position at Amazon Studios.
Kim Rozenfeld is head of unscripted and current programming, reuniting with Van Amburg and Erlicht, under whom he held a similar position at Sony TV.
Tara Sorensen oversees kids programming, joining the Apple team after serving in the same position at Amazon Studios.
Amazing Stories | Apple's first official scripted order, the individual episodic anthology is a reimagining of Steven Spielberg's original series that transports viewers to worlds of wonder through the lens of today's most imaginative filmmakers, directors and writers. Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Once Upon a Time) serve as showrunners, having taken over for Bryan Fuller and Hart Hanson. The series hails from Universal TV and Amblin TV, with Spielberg attached as an exec producer.
Are You Sleeping | The 10-episode drama offers a glimpse into America's obsession with true-crime podcasts. It challenges viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is put on a public stage. Octavia Spencer, Lizzy Caplan and Aaron Paul star. Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife) penned the script and serves as showrunner. Reese Witherspoon exec produces the drama from Hello Sunshine and Chernin/Endeavor Content. Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping also exec produce.
Calls | The 10-episode drama is Apple's first international series. Picked up straight to series, Calls is an English take on the French shortform series created by Timothee Hochet. The series, co-produced by CanalPlus, allows audiences to experience short stories through real-life audio sources and minimal visuals.
Central Park | Apple's first animated series, from Emmy-winning Bob's Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, tells the story of how a family of caretakers — who live and work in Central Park — end up saving the park and the world. The show, which landed at Apple with a two-season, 26-episode order, features a voice cast that includes Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr. Tituss Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Diggs and Kathryn Hahn. 20th Century Fox TV produces.
Defending Jacob | The eight-episode limited series drama will star Chris Evans as a father who learns his son is a suspect in the slaying of a classmate while serving as an assistant district attorney. Based on the book by William Landay, Mark Bomback (Planet of the Apes) created the TV take and will pen the script and serve as showrunner. Morten Tyldum (Jack Ryan) will exec produce and direct the Paramount TV and Anonymous Content series.
Dickinson | Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld will star as Emily Dickinson in the scripted comedy that explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn't fit into her own time. Dickinson is described as Emily's coming-of-age story and one woman's fight to get her voice heard. The comedy is set in the 1800s and features a modern sensibility and tone. Alena Smith (The Affair) penned the script. The series hails from Paul Lee's CAA-backed wiip banner, Anonymous Content and Sugar 23.
Little America | The eight-episode half-hour episodic anthology is being written by Oscar-nominated The Big Sick writers Kumal Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon as well as Lee Eisenberg (SMILF), who serves as showrunner. Master of None's Alan Yang exec produces the Universal TV series based on the true stories included in the Epic Magazine feature of the same name. The Apple series will go beyond the headlines to look at the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and surprising stories of immigrants in America at a time when they are more relevant than ever.
Little Voice | Grammy- and Tony-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles is teaming with Bad Robot's J.J. Abrams for a 10-episode half-hour dramedy. Described as a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York, Little Voice — which takes its title from Bareilles' first album — explores the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s. Bareilles will provide original music for the project, but it's unclear if she will have an onscreen role. Jessie Nelson (Stepmom) will direct and write the first three episodes of the series after collaborating with Bareilles on the Tony-nominated Waitress. The series hails from Warner Bros. TV.
See | The 10-episode epic world-building drama is set in the future and hails from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence. Chernin/Endeavor Content produces the series.
Untitled morning show drama | Picked up with a two-season, 20-episode order, the series offers an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon star in the drama. Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV serves as background for the series, which is based on an original concept by Michael Ellenberg. The series hails from Ellenberg's Media Res banner, with Aniston and Witherspoon both exec producing. Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel) replaced Jay Carson as showrunner on the drama, which marks Aniston's return to series TV following Friends.
Untitled Damien Chazelle drama | The La La Land Oscar winner is readying a top-secret series that Apple has only described as "innovative." Chazelle will write and direct every episode of the series, whose episode count and premise are being kept under wraps. La La Land's Jordan Horowitz and Fred Berger both exec produce the drama from Media Rights Capital.
Untitled Hilde Lysiak drama | The straight-to-series 10-episode mystery drama is inspired by the real-life story of 11-year-old Lysiak and follows a girl who moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father left behind. While there, her pursuit of the truth leads her to unearth a cold case that everyone in town — including her father — tried to bury. The Florida Project breakout Brooklynn Prince will play Hilde. Dana Fox (How to Be Single) and Dara Resnik (Daredevil) created and exec produce the series from Anonymous Content and Paramount Television. Crazy Rich Asians helmer Jon M. Chu will direct and exec produce.
Untitled M. Night Shyamalan drama | Little is known about the psychological thriller, which landed at Apple with a 10-episode, straight-to-series order. The half-hour project was created by BAFTA-nominated Tony Basgallop (24: Live Another Day), who exec produces alongside Shyamalan, who will direct the pilot. The series hails from Escape Artists and Blinding Edge Pictures. Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones) star.
Untitled Ron Moore drama | From Outlander and Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ron Moore, the space drama is set in an alternative timeline where the space race never ended. Moore created the series and will pen the script for the Sony TV drama.
Untitled comedy based on You Think It, I'll Say It | Picked up straight to series as Apple's first scripted comedy, the 10-episode series is now on hold following star Kristen Wiig's departure. Sources note that the SNL alum — for whom the Apple comedy would have been her return to series television — had a scheduling conflict with the Wonder Woman sequel. Recasting remains a possibility for the comedy created by Colleen McGuinness (30 Rock). The series is inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld's upcoming short-story collection You Think It, I'll Say It and is produced by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine banner.
Untitled Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day comedy | From the team behind FXX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, McElhenney will star in what is described as a "cutting-edge" comedy set in a video game development studio. Produced by Ubisoft, the series will explore the intricoes of the human condition through hilarious and innovative ways. MMcElhenney exec produces alongside Charlie Day. An episode count has not yet been determined.
Foundation | The space drama is based on Isaac Asimov's Foundation book, which explores the complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman are co-writing the script for Skydance Television.
Oprah Winfrey | Apple inked a multiple-year content deal with Winfrey that includes everything from scripted and unscripted originals, podcasts, books, apps — and anything else the tech giant can distribute via its all-encompassing platform.
Sesame Workshop | The partnership includes a slate of children's programming and includes a live-action and animated show as well as development on a puppet series. (Sesame Street is not included and continues to air on HBO and PBS.)
Kerry Ehrin | Signaling Apple's entry into the overall deals space, Ehrin inked the tech giant's first such pact as part of her deal to take over showrunning duties on the Aniston-Witherspoon morning show drama.
Home | Apple's first docuseries offers a look inside the world's most innovative homes and unveils the boundary-pushing imagination of the visionaries who built them. The 10 hourlong episodes hail from Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor) and Corey Reeser of Altimeter Films; Matthew Weaver (Chef's Table), Ian Orefice and Bruce Gersh from Time Inc. Productions; and Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin. Tyrnauer will direct the docuseries.
Carpool Karaoke | The spinoff from James Corden's Late Late Show segment on CBS will return for a second season on the tech giant. The series was one of Apple's first forays into original programming before the additions of Van Amburg and Erlicht to oversee worldwide video programming.
SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT PIPEPLINE
Losing Earth | In a competitive situation, Apple acquired rights to the drama based on Nathaniel Rich's New York Times Magazine feature and follow-up book about climate change.
Pachinko | The drama based on Min Jin Lee's best-selling novel landed at Apple following a multiple-outlet bidding war. The drama, adapted by Soo Hugh (AMC's The Terror) will be told in three languages: Korean, Japanese and English. Described as epic in scope, the drama chronicles the hopes and dreams of four generations of a Korean immigrant family.
Swagger | The basketball-themed scripted drama is inspired by NBA superstar Kevin Durant's early career. The series, written by Reggie Rock Bythewood, focuses on the Amateur Athletic Union league, its players, their families and coaches, who walk the line between dreams and ambition as well as opportunism and corruption. The project hails from Imagine Television and Durant's Thirty Five Media banner.
Shantaram | Put in development as Apple's first international drama, the potential series is based on Gregory David Roberts' best-seller of the same name. The drama tells the story of Lin, a man on the run from an Australian prison looking to get lost in the teeming city of Bombay. Cut off from family and friends by distance and fate, he finds a new life in the slums, bars and underworld of India. The novel is a thrilling and profound exploration of love, forgiveness and courage on the long road to redemption. Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) penned the script for the Anonymous Content and Paramount Television drama.
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