Apple‘s $US1 billion push into original TV programming has gotten off to a slow start.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that quality control issues from Apple CEO Tim Cook have largely been responsible for the company’s delayed production of the more than dozen shows it has ordered.
Cook reportedly scrapped Dr. Dre’s original series, “Vital Signs,” (which was already shot) over concerns about explicit scenes that included cocaine use, an orgy, and “drawn guns.”
Several other shows have faced delays as Apple seeks to keep “gratuitous sex, profanity or violence” from its service’s original content, a family-friendly approach that reportedly has the company’s own employees referring to the company’s project as an “expensive NBC,” according to WSJ.
Apple first had a brief, initial run of shows last summer with the release of the unscripted series “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke.” But the company shifted its course in June 2017 when it hired former Sony Pictures Television presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to head its original programming.
Since then, the company has announced the production or development of 17 original, scripted series – including a biographical drama on NBA all-star Kevin Durant’s youth, an animated show from the creator of “Bob’s Burgers,” and an untitled series from M. Night Shyamalan.
None of those 17 upcoming series has a release date yet.
Here are the 19 original shows that Apple is producing in its push into TV (including two that have already been released):
The Wall Street Journal reported in October that Apple’s first move under its new programming heads, Van Amburg and Erlicht, would be to revive Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi and horror anthology series “Amazing Stories,” which aired on NBC in the late 1980s.
WSJ reported that Apple signed a deal with Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Universal Television to produce 10 new episodes of the series, with Bryan Fuller (the creator of NBC’s “Hannibal”) as its showrunner.
Fuller left the series in February, however. A source told Variety that Fuller parted “amicably,” and that Fuller’s vision for the show did not match the “more family-friendly approach” that Apple reportedly sought.
Untitled Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston morning show drama series
In November, Apple announced that it ordered two ten-episode seasons of a drama series that is set in the world of morning-TV talk shows and stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
Variety reported that the series will draw from CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter’s 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which recounted the morning-TV rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Jay Carson (“House of Cards”) is writing the pilot and will serve as showrunner. It will be produced by Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res studio, Aniston’s Echo Films, and Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company.
Untitled Ronald D. Moore sci-fi drama series
In December, Apple ordered a space-themed drama series from Ronald D. Moore, a writer and showrunner famous for his work on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” as well his mid-2000s revival of the “Battlestar Galactica” series.
As Deadline first reported, the hour-long, untitled series “explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended.” It will be written by Moore, along with Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, the co-executive producers of the FX series “Fargo.”
“Are You Sleeping”
Deadline reported in January that Apple landed “Are You Sleeping,” a thriller-drama series starring Octavia Spencer that hails from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine company.
Sarah Koenig, the creator of the true-crime podcast phenomenon “Serial,” is on board to consult the series, according to Deadline.
In January, Apple ordered its first docuseries with “Home,” a show from executive producers Matt Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser that will focus on “extraordinary homes” from around the world and the builders who make them, Variety reported.
Apple has ordered ten hour-long episodes of the series.
Untitled Damien Chazelle drama series
In January, Apple gave a straight-to-series order for a drama series from “La La Land” writer-director Damien Chazelle, Variety reported.
Apple has withheld details of the series, except to say that Chazelle will write and direct each episode of the show, in addition to executive producing it.
Chazelle is also the creator of an upcoming Netflix original musical series, “The Eddy,” which does not yet have a release date, and the director of the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man.”
In January, Apple won a heated race for a straight-to-series order of “See,” a drama series from “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight and film director Francis Lawrence (“Hunger Games,” “Red Sparrow”), Deadline reported.
Though details about the series are scant, Deadline described it as “an epic, world-building drama set in the future.”
Untitled Kristen Wiig comedy series
Kristen Wiig is set to star in a half-hour, untitled comedy series for Apple that will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Deadline reported in January.
The series is reportedly inspired by a short story collection the novelist Curtis Sittenfeld published in May, titled “You Think It, I’ll Say It.”
The “30 Rock” writer-producer Colleen McGuiness will reportedly serve as the show’s showrunner and executive producer. It will represent Wiig’s first TV gig since she left “Saturday Night Live” in 2012.
In February, Apple announced that it was developing “Little America,” a half-hour anthology series from “The Big Sick” writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, and “SMILF” executive producer Lee Eisenberg, Deadline reported.
The series will reportedly be based on Epic Magazine’s recurring feature series of the same name, which Epic describes as “a small, collective portrait of America’s immigrants – and thereby a portrait of America itself.”
In February, Apple announced plans to develop a drama series based on the early life of NBA all-star and Golden State Warrior forward Kevin Durant, Variety reported.
The series, titled “Swagger,” is reportedly inspired by Durant’s experiences as a youth playing Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball.
It will be produced by Imagine Television and Durant’s Thirty Five Media. Reggie Rock Bythewood, who wrote the Notorious B.I.G. biopic “Notorious,” will be the show’s head writer.
Untitled M. Night Shyamalan drama series
In February, Apple ordered a ten-episode psychological thriller series that is executive produced by director M. Night Shyamalan (“Split”) and written by British TV writer Tony Basgallop (“Inside Men”), Variety reported.
Shyamalan is reportedly set to direct the first episode of the series. He previously executive produced the Fox series “Wayward Pines,” which ended in February after two seasons.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the show focuses on a young couple who loses a child. People working on the project told WSJ that Apple asked the show to remove crucifixes from the couple’s home in the production, as the company “didn’t want shows that venture into religious subjects or politics.”
Apple announced in March that it ordered two 13-episode seasons of an animated series called “Central Park” from “Bob’s Burgers” creator Loren Bouchard and 20th Century Fox, Variety reported.
Written by Bouchard, Nora Smith, and actor Josh Gad, the series reportedly follows a family of caretakers that lives in New York’s Central Park.
20th Century Fox’s deal with Apple for the “Central Park” show rights is a rare one, as most of the company’s shows, like “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons,” and “Bob’s Burgers,” have aired on the Fox network.
In May, Apple ordered a biographical comedy series on the life of poet Emily Dickinson starring Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”).
Written by Alena Smith (HBO’s “The Newsroom”), the series is reportedly set during Dickinson’s era (the 1800s) “with a modern sensibility and tone,” and will explore “the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view,” according to Deadline.
Apple in June ordered a 10-episode season of an English adaptation of France’s Canal+ series “Calls,” the company’s first greenlit international coproduction, Deadline reported.
The series will reportedly have audiences “experience short stories through real-life audio sources and minimal visuals,” according to Deadline.
In June, Apple ordered the romantic comedy series “Little Voice” from JJ Abrams, songwriter Sara Bareilles, and writer-director Jessie Nelson, the series’ showrunner.
Deadline described the series as “a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York” that will explore “the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s.”
“Untitled Hilde Lysiak mystery series”
Also in June, Apple ordered a 10-episode season of a series inspired by the real-life story of the 11-year-old investigative journalist Hilde Lysiak.
Lysiak at age 9 exposed a murder in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, in a newspaper that she self-started.
The series, created by Dana Fox (“Ben and Kate”) and Dara Resnik (Netflix’s “Daredevil”), will be coproduced by Anonymous Content and Paramount Television.
In August, Apple ordered a 10-episode series adaptation of “Foundation,” a trilogy of novels from sci-fi author Isaac Asimov.
Coproduced by Skydance Television, the series “chronicles the thousand year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it,” according to Deadline.
“Untitled Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day series”
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” stars Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day landed a series order from Apple last month.
Written by McElhenney and Day, and starring McElhenney, their series will reportedly center on “a video game development studio” and “will explore the intricacies of the human condition through hilarious and innovative ways,” according to Deadline.
Last week, Apple ordered an eight-episode limited drama series called “Defending Jacob,” starring and executive produced by “Avengers” star Chris Evans.
Written by Mark Bomback (“The Planet of the Apes” trilogy), the series will reportedly be “a gripping, character-driven thriller” based on a 2012 novel of the same name by William Landay, according to Deadline.
“Planet of the Apps”
Apple released its first-ever original show with “Planet of the Apps,” a “Shark Tank”-style reality series that debuted in June 2017.
The hour-long series is judged by Jessica Alba, Will.i.Am, Gwyneth Paltrow, and digital-marketing entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, each of whom decide whether to invest in upstart app developers.
“Planet of the Apps” was critically panned upon its release, and Apple has not renewed it for a second season.
Adapted from a popular segment on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show,” Apple’s “Carpool Karaoke” premiered on Apple Music in August 2017 with an episode that featured Corden and Will Smith.
Subsequent episodes largely excluded Corden and grouped singers and celebrities in odd pairings. One episode featured Seth MacFarlane and Ariana Grande, and another paired comedian Ken Jeong with the band Linkin Park, in a segment filmed six days before singer Chester Bennington’s death in 2017.
Apple renewed “Carpool Karaoke” for a second season in February. No release date has been set for it yet.
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