Star power as Apple unveils Apple TV +

New streaming service Apple TV + will launch in 100 countries later this year with a slate of original programming, the tech giant confirmed overnight.

Hollywood heavyweights including Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, J.J. Abrams, Reece Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard and Steve Carell were part of the presentation by CEO Tim Cook in California.

Pricing for the new service is yet to be announced. It will be ad-free, on-demand and available both streaming online and downloadable.

Apple TV + was announced along with Apple TV Channels, another new service in the Apple TV app that will let people watch streaming shows, movies and sports in one place without having to use additional apps or accounts.

Apple TV Channels and the new Apple TV app will be coming in May.

These are the shows due to screen on Apply TV +.

The Morning Show
Friday Night Lights’ Kerry Ehrin will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer for a series about morning show anchors starring Reese Witherspoon Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell. Apple won a bidding war for the show, which will get two 10-episode seasons. Carell will be making his return to television as the male lead and morning show anchor, Mitch Kessler, it was announced at the Apple event. Carell is well known for his role as Michael Scott on The Office and his Oscar-nominated performance in Foxcatcher.

Little America
Apple announced that husband-and-wife duo Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon are writing and executive producing a show about immigrants. Here’s hoping it’s as magical as The Big Sick. Nanjiani appeared at the Apple event to provide more background on Little America.

Apple has ordered See, a sci-fi drama set in a future where humans are born blind, written by Stephen Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence. Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, has been cast as warrior Baba Voss, and Woodard has been cast as Paris, an adviser and priestess. Both Momoa and Alfre Woodard appeared at the Apple event to provide more background on the sci-fi show See.

Are You Sleeping?
Based on a novel by Kathleen Barber about true crime podcasts, this drama, according to Variety, will star Octavia Spencer, along with Aaron Paul, Lizzy Caplan, Elizabeth Perkins and Mekhi Phifer. It’s being co-produced by Spencer’s production company Orit Entertainment, Reese Witherspoon’s company Hello Sunshine and Chernin Entertainment. It wasn’t mentioned onstage, but Spencer featured in the filmmakers short (above), and Caplan and Paul were shown in the trailer montage.

Defending Jacob
Chris Evans (aka Captain America) will be executive producing and starring in Defending Jacob, based on the novel by William Landay. Defending Jacob is a crime thriller about a father whose teenage son is accused of murder. The show will be created, written and executive produced by Mark Bomback (screenwriter for the Planet of the Apes trilogy).

Oprah’s docuseries
Oprah spoke at Apple’s event today to provide more background on her Apple partnership. She announced two documentaries, Toxic Labor and a multi-part untitled series about mental health. She also announced bring back her famous Book Club, as some sort of interview show.

Amazing Stories
Apple’s partnered with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and NBC Universal to bring us a 10-episode reboot of the anthology series Amazing Stories. Bryan Fuller was originally hired as executive producer and showrunner. He’s since stepped down and been replaced by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, best known for their work on Lost and Once Upon a Time. Spielberg spoke at Apple’s special event today to provide more background on the pilot.

Sesame Workshop multi-series
Apple is partnering with Sesame Workshop to bring us original children’s programming, though Sesame Street is not a part of the deal. Big Bird spoke with new neighbor Cody at the Apple event to provide more background on the series Helpsters.

Apple is putting a comedic twist on the life of Emily Dickinson, with a series that will star True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld. Apple has also announced 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski will play Mrs. Dickinson, Emily Dickinson’s mother. While not mentioned by name, the show appeared onscreen numerous times.

Little Voice
J.J. Abrams is executive producing a half-hour musical dramedy with songs written by Sara Bareilles. Depending on your tolerance for musicals, this show may or may not feel like purgatory. Abrams and Bareilles spoke at Apple’s event to provide more background on the show and Bareilles performed the theme song for the upcoming series.

Below are the remainder of the previously announced and known shows:

Planet of the Apps
Now available on Apple Music.
In this show, which premiered on Apple Music in June 2017, celebrity judges receive app pitches by developers. Because of course a reality competition about apps would be Apple’s first TV show. Unfortunately both the Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke were flops.

Carpool Karaoke: The Series
Now available on Apple Music.
A series adaptation of the Carpool Karaoke segment from James Corden’s talk show The Late Late Show with James Corden, except with two or more celebrities in the car and no Corden. (Disclosure: Both of Corden’s shows are produced by CBS, which is also CNET’s parent company.) Episodes include the pairings of Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams with Sophie Turner and Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood with James Marsden. All 19 episodes of the first season are free to watch now.

Drama series
Apple announced this adaptation of Timothée Hochet’s French series, which uses audio but few visuals to tell its story. Apple has ordered 10 episodes and obtained the rights to the original series.

Apple has landed the rights to Foundation, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi novel series. “The premise, put as simply as possible with such a massive and influential series, deals with the preservation of knowledge prior to an oncoming dark age,” writes CNET’s Erin Carson. She also reports that the series comes from Skydance Television, which is responsible for shows such as Amazon’s Jack Ryan and Netflix’s Altered Carbon. The series will be helmed by Josh Friedman, the man behind Terminator series The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and David Goyer, co-writer of Dark Knight movies and other superhero flicks.

Losing Earth
Apple is developing a series based on Nathaniel Rich’s article “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” that ran in The New York Times. Rich and Spotlight producer Steve Golin will executive produce.

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends
Jennifer Garner will star in and executive produce this limited series and she’s teaming up with Alias creator J.J. Abrams, who will executive produce the series as well. The series is based on Amy Silverstein’s 2017 memoir of the same name.

Variety confirmed that Apple secured the rights to Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko, about multiple generations of Koreans who migrate to Japan. Soo Hugh, who was the showrunner for AMC’s historical drama The Terror, will executive produce and write the series.

Variety has the scoop that Apple’s developing a series based on the early life of NBA basketball player Kevin Durant. Durant’s media company is partnering with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Television.

Though the film adaptation never got off the ground, Apple has secured the rights to develop Gregory David Robert’s novel into a series. According to Variety, American Hustle writer Eric Warren Singer will act as writer and executive producer.

Untitled Brie Larson drama series
According to Variety, Captain Marvel star Brie Larson will executive produce and star in a drama series about a CIA undercover agent. The show is based on Amaryllis Fox’s memoir Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA. Megan Martin, executive producer and writer for TNT’s Animal Kingdom is in final negotiations to write and execute produce the series.

Untitled Damien Chazelle drama series
La La Land writer and director Damien Chazelle will write and direct a drama series for Apple, according to Variety.

Untitled Hilde Lysiak mystery drama series
According to Deadline, Apple is making a series inspired by Hilde Lysiak, a child journalist who reported on a suspected murderer. The series is being produced by Dana Fox, Dara Resnik, Joy Gorman Wettels, Sharlene Martin and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu, who will also direct the series.

Untitled M. Night Shyamalan drama series
The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan will produce a 10-episode psychological thriller. He’s also slated to direct the first 30-minute episode. Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose and Game of Throne’s Nell Tiger Free will star in the series, Deadline announced.

Untitled Ronald D. Moore drama series
Deadline announced that Ronald D. Moore, creator of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, is working with Fargo producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nevidi on a space drama.

Comedy shows
Central Park
Central Park is an animated musical comedy from the creator of Bob’s Burgers, Loren Bouchard. The series was co-written with Nora Smith and actor Josh Gad, who will voice a character in the show along with Kristen Bell, Leslie Odom Jr., Titus Burgess, Daveed Diggs, Stanley Tucci and Kathryn Hahn. According to Deadline, the show is being picked up for two seasons and is about a group of Central Park caretakers who end up saving the world.

Untitled Colleen McGuinness comedy series
Colleen McGuinness, a producer for 30 Rock is creating a comedy series for Apple, which Reese Witherspoon’s production company will produce. The series was originally slated to star Kristen Wiig, but she has since backed out of the project due to a scheduling conflict.

Untitled Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day comedy series
Apple has ordered a half-hour scripted comedy series from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney and his Sunny co-star Charlie Day. The show explores the people who work in a video game development studio; McElhenney will star.

Children’s programming
Peanuts multi-series, specials, shorts
Charlie Brown fans have something to celebrate. Apple is partnering with DHX Media to create new Peanuts content. DHX Media is known for shows like the Teletubbies and the Degrassi franchise.

Apple plans to get into the docuseries game (competitor Netflix has a deep bench of material in this category). Variety announced that Home will be a 10-episode hour-long series looking inside some of the world’s most extraordinary homes.

Time Bandits
Deadline broke that Apple has acquired the rights to Terry Gilliam’s film Time Bandits. The series will be produced by Paramount Pictures, Anonymous Content and Media Rights Capital.

Untitled Simon Kinberg and David Weil sci-fi series
Deadline announced that Apple has green lit a sci-fi series to be created by Simon Kinberg and David Weil. Kinberg is best known for his work as a producer and screenwriter on the X-Men franchise. Kinberg’s making his film directorial debut with Dark Phoenix, coming out later this year. David Weil recently created a TV series for Amazon, The Hunt, which will star Al Pacino.

Justin Lin multi-series partnership
Justin Lin, known for directing four of the Fast & Furious films and Star Trek Beyond, is partnering with Apple and ending his TV deal with Sony. This multi-year deal will have Lin developing shows at Apple with a “global perspective.” His production company Perfect Storm Entertainment has produced shows such as Scorpion and S.W.A.T.

Source: CNet


  1. Looking forward to Defending Jacob, Are You Sleeping? And The Morning Show.
    I hope are you sleeping is crime of the week show, Jessica Flethcher or Rosemary & thymr style but narration being the podcast.
    While the morning show gives a feel that someone has been Watching the Morning Glory or following the view and Today show BTS drama

  2. timmydownawell

    Look forward to Shantaram, so long as they leave out all the self indulgent diatribes. I lost count of the number of pages I skipped, but the story itself is a great yarn.

  3. Interesting shows here. A few have my interest. The Morning Show kind of sounds like someone watched HBO’s The Newsroom (ran for three seasons from 2012 to 2014) and wanted to do that again. The Newsroom is a great show if you haven’t seen it btw. Cheap to pick up on DVD and Blu-Ray now as well.

  4. Wow, even a hardcore Apple junkie like myself was cynical about them doing a good job with this but there’s plenty there that I’m drawn to so looks like I’ll at least be in it for the start and see how it goes.

    • You know, as a android user for the last 10 years, I might consider getting an apple device. I’m usually pretty cynical about most things apple release, that it’s overpriced and under delivers, but they really have added value to their ecosystem here.

      There are a lot of TVs running android though and there’s something Apple hasn’t managed yet – to get TV OS into actual TVs instead of just a STB. I think a TV with Apple and Airplay built in would sell quite well, but then I’m not a TV manufacturer.

      • They’ve just done that. From memory, I think it’s Samsung, Sony, Vizo and some other TVs that have been announced to have the Apple TV app and Airplay built in.

    • I recently setup my TV so that when I press the TV button, it gets all the channels from the internet instead of the aerial socket. That required a 3rd party app and a playlist of FTA streaming URLs which has to be frequently updated. (this update occurs with just a couple of remote taps though). It’s better picture quality too. Question is why can’t FTAs work with manufacturers to make this standard? Setting this up should be as simple as tuning in the FTA channels from an antenna on TV startup. Most new houses don’t come with TV aerials anymore and FTA apps are too fiddly when you just want to watch live TV. Without this I don’t blame people for never watching FTA TV. For live events they’ll just kayo sports or foxtel. Another issue is sport on FTA should be live on the internet too (not the case with AFL now).

      • Just to clarify that last sentence, when you go to watch 7 live on 7plus and the AFL is on, it’s replaced with reruns or border security. Whilst it’s a great show, I do wish 7 could negotiate with Telstra to make the live AFL on 7s internet streams happen.

      • FTA is the only option for those who are unable or unwilling to pay for their entertainment, also to have any chance of a decent stream you will need a good broadband plan which is not cheap either. Broadcast TV is not dead yet but will need to upgrade soon to HD as standard for all channels with 4K to arrive soon after because of the increasing UHD content.

  5. Ok, another streaming service. That is fine. Maybe someone with some business nous should start up a service to package them all up for one price. Get a discount from the providers, tell the providers they will get more people using their service because of the deal etc. etc. etc..

  6. Looks like Apple want in on content to leverage off the cult of the i-thing. Some interesting looking projects in there – the Ronald D Moore and Matt Wolpert and Ben Nevidi space drama looks interesting, along with the Untitled Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day project.

    Looks like they have assembled a bunch of talent – you would have to think this will all end up with a Apple TV+ and Netflix/ Amazon Prime / Android duopoly eventually with all others fading into irrelevance.

    I think the interesting thing will be if/how Apple TV+ rolls out device agnostic streaming.

  7. The blurbs for the titles actually look really solid for a first set of originals. However the reality is that over 60% of the world uses Android devices, with more than 90% using a Windows device. Unless Apple can see their way to supporting Android or Windows (like they do with Apple Music) then sadly this great content won’t have many subscribers watching it (not officially anyway)

    Also what’s not clear from Apple’s announcement is how the HBO, CBS, Cinemax and Showtime content will work outside of the USA such as here where all that content is already licensed to existing players – will apple get a license too? So many other questions surround the service…

    • Being that they recently announced that the Apple TV app would be available on rival televisions, I’d expect that the shows will be available on Android and Windows soon enough.

    • Though I will also say, while I’m not holding my breath, if it enabled us here in Australia to subscribe to HBO (without the usual mess of VPNs and the like), I would be on board in a second!

  8. Interesting selection of productions from Apple+ and good to see that sci-fi fans will have something to look forward to providing Apple+ are sensible with their pricing. Having big name Hollywood personalities backing this Apple+ venture will no doubt help with any promotions but it’s curious too with Mr Spielberg being an outspoken Netflix critic that he is now one of the major creative producers for Apple+. With Disney+ also competing with it’s own $70 billion investment in SVOD, Apple will be relying on the curiosity factor from its Apple TV customers to acquire its share of a steadily burgeoning streaming market, but this may not be enough in the long run. One things for sure there should be no more whinging from the major studios now, there are shows aplenty.

  9. I actually think this is great for the industry. If Apple push local content all the way and make sure they invest in good regional content from a lot of countries it will be win win. It would be good to see more Australian, British, Indian, New Zealand etc etc original content.

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