With Apple TV+ set to launch in less than three weeks, Apple already has a number of shows ready to go that are certain to be big hits, from Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s The Morning Show to the epic Jason Momoa-led See. However, all of the original shows that Apple has worked on thus far have been done by third-party production studios, with Apple simply footing the bill for all of the production costs through licensing fees, but not actually owning the shows.
Although we haven’t heard much about Apple’s plans for its own studio, the company has been quietly building one for the past couple of years. The Financial Times reported two years ago that Apple was eying the iconic Culver Studios to push into its own productions, and when that ultimately didn’t work out, Apple instead leased a couple hundred thousand square feet in Culver City, according to Variety.
Now it looks like Apple is set to actually bring its new as-yet-unnamed studio online with its first entirely in-house series — and it’s starting with a big name franchise that first appeared on HBO.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple is preparing a follow-up to the critically acclaimed Band of Brothers wartime drama miniseries that was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for HBO back in 2001. The same legendary duo, who were also the driving force behind the award-winning 1998 World War II film Saving Private Ryan, will be coming on board with Apple for the new series, Masters of the Air.
Beyond the high-profile production talent, however, what’s most interesting about this new series is that it will be produced entirely in Apple’s own studio, directly overseen by Apple’s worldwide video chiefs Zack van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.
As for Apple’s in-house studio, the move had been considered not an “if” but a “when.” As former studio chiefs at Sony TV, Van Amburg and Erlicht are well-versed in the importance of having an internal studio that not only oversees production but owns the programming.The Hollywood Reporter
This is actually a huge move for Apple that will not only give it much more direct control over its productions, but also means that the company will actually own the programming entirely, allowing it to be monetized more effectively.
Masters of the Air
The new series itself is actually the third instalment in the saga that began with Band of Brothers and continued with The Pacific, and as the title implies, carries the story into the air war in Europe. The story will be told from the perspective of “the men of the Mighty Eighth” — the American “bomber boys” of the Eighth Air Force that were credited with bringing the war to Hitler’s doorstep.
The story is based on historian Donald L. Miller’s nonfiction book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, and while HBO originally had the rights to this follow-up series, it’s said to have released them “ages ago” due to the then-$250 million price tag and the decline of the DVD market that was crucial to making money from the first two shows.
Apple has handed out a nine-episode order for the new show, which if it follows in the footsteps of Band of Brothers and The Pacific will likely be another miniseries that will only run for a single season. Spielberg will be executive producing under his Amblin Television banner, making this his second collaboration with Apple alongside the episodic anthology Amazing Stories, which according to The Hollywood Reporter is actually set to launch with its first four shows available on Nov. 1 when Apple TV+ debuts. With Masters of the Air only beginning production now, however, it seems likely that it will be at least a few months, if not more, before it actually comes to Apple TV+.