Apple to Launch New Crime TV Drama Starring Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

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Apple is currently working on a new, true crime drama series starring Octavia Spencer as part of its increasing push into original TV content.

The original drama, which is called Are You Sleeping, is based on a novel by Kathleen Barber. The show is being created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, and the drama will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s own Hello Sunshine production company, Variety reported. Currently, Spencer — who is known for her work on films such as Hidden Figures, The Help, and Gifted — is the only confirmed actor thus far.

Barder’s book is described as a psychological thriller which follows a podcast that reopens a murder case. As Variety reports, the novel “gives a glimpse into the obsession with true crime podcasts and ‘challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.’” Sarah Koenig, creator and producer of the Serial podcast that bears similarities to the one in Barber’s novel, will consult on the series.

This is the second project Apple has partnered with Hello Sunshine on. In November 2017, the Cupertino tech giant was reported to be working with Witherspoon and her production company on another drama. That show, which is currently unnamed, is described as a behind-the-scenes take of morning talk show hosts, and will reportedly star Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Apple has been pursuing original TV content since June 2017, when it hired several former Sony executives to spearhead its new video unit. Since then, Apple has made additional high-profile hires, opened an office in the Los Angeles and Hollywood area, and has been “inundated” with spec scripts. Specifically, Apple is looking to make a splash with its own lineup of premium and high-quality TV content.

In addition to the two Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine shows, Apple has also picked up other original programs — including a remake of Steven Spielberg’s 1985 sci-fi series Amazing Stories and an untitled space drama developed by Battlestar Galactica writer Ronald D. Moore.

Currently, it isn’t clear when Apple’s original content will premiere, but with Apple’s recent pushes into the content market, a debut this year is possible.

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