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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.
The company revealed some of its plans for its upgraded Apple TV app at a March 2019 event, and in September, revealed that its Apple TV+ will launch Nov. 1 at a cost of $4.99 per month (free for the first year with the purchase of Apple hardware). At launch, most Apple originals will debut with three episodes, with one new episode rolling out weekly. Full seasons of some series will be available all at once.
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.
Tamara Hunter was tapped head of casting for worldwide video and comes from Sony Pictures.
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. Edward Burns will star in and exec produce an episode.
Bastards | Based on an Israeli series, the eight-episode drama from Howard Gordon (Homeland) and Warren Leight (Law & Order: SVU) centers on two Vietnam veterans and best friends whose lives are upended when a woman they both loved 50 years ago is killed by a car. Richard Gere is set to star. It’s produced by Fox 21, Gordon’s Teakwood Lane Productions and Keshet Studios. Update: No longer moving forward.
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. Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel and Sakina Jaffrey also star. Based on the book by William Landry, 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; Jane Krakowski and Matt Lauria also star. 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. The show will be available at launch, Nov. 1. Watch the trailer, below.
For All Mankind | 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. Joel Kinnaman stars as a top NASA astronaut; the cast also includes Sarah Jones, Michael Dorman, Jodi Balfour, Shantel VanSanten and Wrenn Schmidt. The series will be available at launch, Nov. 1. Watch the trailer, below.
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.
Home Before Dark | The straight-to-series 10-episode mystery drama (formerly known as the untitled Hilde Lysiak 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, while Jim Sturgess (Feed the Beast) will play Hilde’s father. 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.
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.
Lisey’s Story | Oscar winner Julianne Moore and Oscar nominee Clive Owen will topline the eight-episode limited series based on the Stephen King best-seller of the same name. King will write all eight scripts and exec produce the Warner Bros. TV drama alongside Moore and Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams and Ben Stephenson.
Masters of the Air | The third World War II series from producers Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman — following Band of Brothers and The Pacific, which aired on HBO — will also be the first made by a newly launched in-house studio at Apple. The series, based on historian Donald L. Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, will focus on the aerial war in Europe through the eyes of enlisted men in the Eighth Air Force. HBO had released the series some time ago, before it came under new corporate parent WarnerMedia. Spielberg, Hanks and Goetzman executive produce; Amblin TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, Playtone’s Steven Shareshian and writers John Orloff (Band of Brothers) and Graham Yost (Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Justified) are co-EPs.
The Morning Show | 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, along with director Mimi Leder and showrunner Kerry Ehrin (Bates Motel), who replaced Jay Carson on the drama. The show marks Aniston and male lead Steve Carell‘s return to series TV following Friends and The Office, respectively. The show will be available at launch, Nov. 1. Watch the trailer, below.
The Mosquito Coast | Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) will star in the drama about a man who moves his family to Central America in search of a better life. It’s based on a 1981 novel by Paul Theroux (Justin’s uncle), which was previously adapted for a 1986 movie starring Harrison Ford. Neil Cross (Luther) will serve as showrunner for the series and is writing the first episode with Tom Bissell; Rupert Wyatt will direct. Cross, Wyatt, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman executive produce the series, which hails from Fremantle. Melissa George and Gabriel Bateman co-star.
Mr. Corman | The half-hour dramedy stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his first TV role since 3rd Rock From the Sun. Gordon-Levitt will star in, write and direct the dramedy about a San Fernando Valley teacher coming to grips with adulthood. The series hails from A24 and Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord banner.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends | In an Alias reunion, Jennifer Garner will reunite with exec producer J.J. Abrams for the limited series based on the book of the same name by Amy Silverstein. The drama follows a group of women who supported Silverstein as she waited for a second life-saving heart transplant. Garner exec produces alongside Abrams and his Warner Bros. TV-based Bad Robot banner. Karen Croner will reunite with her Tribes of Palos Verdes star Garner and pen the script.
Mythic Quest | From Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, 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; the cast also includes F. Murray Abraham, Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Danny Pudi, Ashly Burch, Imani Hakim and Jessie Ennis. Produced by Ubisoft, the series will explore the intricacies of the human condition through hilarious and innovative ways. McElhenney exec produces alongside Charlie Day. An episode count has not yet been determined.
Pachinko | After landing at Apple amid a multiple-outlet bidding war, the adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s award-winning best-seller was picked up to series with an eight-episode order. The drama, which will be told in three languages — Korean, Japanese and English — is said to be among the biggest budgeted productions Apple has in the works. Described as epic in scope and intimate in tone, the story begins with a forbidden love and crescendos into a sweeping saga that journeys between Korea, Japan and America to tell the story of war and peace, love and loss, triumph and reckoning. Korean American Soo Hugh (The Terror) serves as showrunner on the drama from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res.
See | The eight-episode epic world-building drama is set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind. When all humanity has lost the sense of sight, humans must adapt and find new ways to survive. The drama hails from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence. Chernin/Endeavor Content produces the series; Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Alfre Woodard head the cast. The series will be available at launch, Nov. 1.
Servant | Little is known about the psychological thriller — formerly known as the untitled M. Night Shyamalan drama — which landed at Apple with a 10-episode, straight-to-series order. The psychological thriller follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home. 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), Rupert Grint (Harry Potter), Toby Kebbell and Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones) star. It premieres Nov. 28; watch the trailer, below.
Shantaram | Based on Gregory David Roberts’ best-selling novel, the 10-episode drama — Apple’s first international production — will star Charlie Hunnam in his first series role since Sons of Anarchy. He plays Lin, a man on the run from an Australian prison who looks to get lost in the teeming city of Bombay and finds a new life in the city’s slums, bars and underworld. The project comes from Paramount TV and Anonymous Content; Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle, Top Gun: Maverick) is writing and executive produces with director Justin Kurzel (Assassin’s Creed), Dave Erickson, Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Paramount TV president Nicole Clemens, Andrea Barron and Richard Sharkey.
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. Winston Duke (Us) will star as Ike, a former star player turned youth basketball coach.
Ted Lasso | Jason Sudeikis stars in and co-created the comedy series about an all-American football coach who is hired to manage an English football club — despite having zero experience in coaching international football, aka soccer. Saturday Night Live alum Sudeikis first played the character in a series of promotional shorts for NBC Sports in 2013. Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Whiskey Cavalier) co-created the Warner Bros. TV series with Sudeikis, in his first regular TV role since leaving SNL in 2013. The two executive produce with Jeff Ingold of Lawrence’s Doozer Productions; the company’s Lisa Katzer is a co-EP.
Truth Be Told | Formerly titled 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. Premieres Dec. 6; watch the series trailer below.
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 Brie Larson CIA drama | Picked up straight to series, the drama is based on the real-life experiences of CIA undercover operative Amaryllis Fox and her upcoming memoir Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA. The series is described as a provocative and contemporary look at a young woman’s journey in the CIA, told through the prism of her closest relationships. The series hails from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res with Megan Martin (Animal Kingdom) set to pen the script. Larson will exec produce after teaming with Ellenberg and Lynette Howell Taylor (A Star Is Born) to land the rights to Fox’s book and life rights.
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.
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.) The first show is called Helpsters, a children’s series that stars Cody and a team of vibrant monsters who love to help solve problems. Helpsters will debut Nov. 1. Also from Sesame Workshop, Ghostwriter is a reinvention of the beloved children’s series that follows four kids brought together by a ghost in a neighborhood bookstore who must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature. That will also be available at launch.
Peanuts | In a deal with DHX Media, Apple will create new series, specials and shorts featuring iconic Charles M. Schulz characters including Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang. The first project, Snoopy in Space, will debut in the fall. The first show, Snoopy in Space, follows Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew as they take command of the International Space Station and explore the moon and beyond. It will debut Nov. 1. Watch a trailer, below.
Kerry Ehrin | Signaling Apple’s entry into the overall deals space, Ehrin is the tech giant’s first such pact as part of her deal to take over showrunning duties on the Aniston-Witherspoon morning show drama. The pact is worth in the $10 million range.
Justin Lin | Apple’s second overall deal, the Fast & Furious director exited his longtime home at Sony Pictures Television for a multiple-year pact with the iPhone maker to develop, produce and direct TV series with “a global perspective.”
Jason Katims | After more than a decade at Universal Television, the Parenthood and Friday Night Lights Emmy winner will create and develop new projects for Apple, reuniting with his former True Jack Productions topper Michelle Lee.
Alfonso Cuarón | The Oscar-winning Roma director, writer and producer has signed an overall deal to develop TV projects exclusively for Apple, which won a multi-outlet bidding war for his services. He also maintains a non-exclusive deal with Anonymous Content for select film projects and will continue to produce others with different collaborators.
Monica Beletsky | The writer-producer (Fargo, The Leftovers, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) will develop and produce TV series for Apple. She currently has two features in the works with Reese Witherspoon’s company, including one with Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street.
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.
Toxic Labor | A documentary focused on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace produced by Oprah Winfrey.
Untitled mental health docuseries | Produced in partnership between Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry.
SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE
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.
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.
Time Bandits | Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi has signed on to co-write and direct a pilot based on Terry Gilliam’s 1981 feature film. Waititi, Gilliam and Dan Halstead (People of Earth) exec produce the project from Anonymous Content, Paramount Television and Media Rights Capital.
The Banker | Inspired by a true story, Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson star as two African American entrepreneurs who try to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s and quietly provide housing loans to the African American community in Jim Crow Texas. Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult also star.
Bookmark this page as THR will continue to update it as Apple continues to make content deals.