12:30pm PT by Kate Stanhope
'Carpool Karaoke' Series Coming Exclusively to Apple Music
Apple Music is taking a ride with Carpool Karaoke.
The viral segment that broke out on the Late Late Show With James Corden is being turned into its own series, which will air first exclusively for subscribers to Apple's music streaming app.
Carpool Karaoke, which will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Fulwell 73, the production company of Late Late Show executive producer Ben Winston, will expand on the segment's format with celebrity guests who sing along to their favorite songs and surprise fans during their ride. The host of the series is expected to be announced at a later date; Corden is not expected to take the wheel.
New installments of the 16-episode series will stream weekly on Apple Music, the $10-a-month streaming music service that Apple launched last year. A premiere date has yet to be announced, but it is expected to be soon.
"We love music, and Carpool Karaoke celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages," said Eddy Cue, who oversees internet software and services including Apple Music for the tech giant. "It's a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride."
Added Winston: "We couldn't be more excited to be partnering with Apple Music on this exciting new series of Carpool Karaoke. The joy of Carpool is both the intimacy it creates, while seeing the love our passengers have for music. Where better to showcase that than with Apple Music?"
Apple has slowly waded into the original content game over the last year as a way to provide added value to the 15 million people who pay for the streaming service. Its programming efforts started with musician driven projects like Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour documentary and a show with DJ Khaled. It has also licensed projects like music docuseries The Score from Vice Media.
Meanwhile, the company has shot a series, Vital Signs, with employee Dr. Dre, though has yet to confirm the project or its plans for it. It is also currently casting realty series Planet of the Apps from producer Ben Silverman, which is likely to be made available on Apple platforms like Apple TV and iTunes.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cue said Apple would only become involved in projects tied to its products, especially Apple Music. “We’re not in the business of trying to create TV shows,” he said. “If we see it being complementary to the things we’re doing at Apple Music or if we see it being something that’s innovative on our platform, we may help them and guide them and make suggestions. But we’re not trying to compete with Netflix or compete with Comcast.”
The news comes hours after CBS' Viacom corporate sibling Spike ordered its Craig Robinson-housed Caraoke Showdown to series for a 2017 debut. The cabler has continued to mine pop culture for game show programming following the breakout success of its Emmy-nominated entry Lip Sync Battle, which started as a segment on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and landed at Spike after NBC passed on the spinoff. Spike has already announced plans for other incarnations for that franchise, including a kids spinoff at both the network and sibling Nickelodeon.
TV series based on late-night sketches continue to be in high demand. ABC went straight to series with game show Who Knows? exec produced by Jimmy Kimmel and based on the late-night host's segment of the same name.
Winston and Corden have been shopping the series since this spring, focusing on SVOD and cable buyers. News of the deal comes after a recent installment of Carpool Karaoke with Michelle Obama that has already accumulated 32 million views on YouTube. The top installment remains Corden's drive with Adele, which has 119 million YouTube views, making it the most-viewed clip for all of late night. All told, the segment has generated 830 million YouTube views since it began in March 2015.
Carpool Karaoke will remain a segment on The Late Late Show.