‘Carpool Karaoke’ Will Return for Season 5 as an Apple TV+ Series

Carpool Karaoke James Corden Apple TV Credit: Apple
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Long before we’d even heard of Apple TV+, there was Carpool Karaoke: The Series — one of Apple’s first original shows that arrived in an era when many believed that rumours of an Apple streaming service would be little more than an extension to Apple Music.

Despite this, however, Carpool Karaoke, which was born out of a viral segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden, has been going strong for over four years. It was the series that won Apple its first-ever Primetime Emmy Award, pairing up diverse mixes of celebrities sitting in a car on a road trip while chatting and belting out their favourite songs.

With the popularity of the series, it’s probably not a big surprise that it’s now being renewed for a fifth season. This time around, however, there’s the added twist that it will be making the transition from Apple Music to becoming a full series in its own right on Apple TV+.

This latest news comes from Deadline, which notes that the fifth season was always in the cards, but was put on hiatus as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

There’s no word yet on which celebrities we can expect to headline the new season, but prior episodes have featured Maya Rudolph and Haim; Patricia Arquette and David Arquette; the Sharks of Shark Tank; LeBron James and James Corden, Shakira and Trevor Noah; Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith; John Legend, Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson; and the cast of Stranger Things.

There was even a special 2016 iPhone event lead-in segment Apple CEO Tim Cook in a duet of Sweet Home Alabama with James Corden, while Pharrell sits in the back of the car doling out some fashion advice.

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The Long Road to Apple TV+

To be fair, when Carpool Karaoke first debuted, there’s a good chance that even Apple hadn’t figured out what direction it wanted to go in at the time, with rumours of dissent suggesting that Apple Music’s creative head, Jimmy Iovine, was pushing for the music service to be at the core of Apple’s new video streaming ambitions, while other executives, like Senior VP Eddy Cue wanted to go in a very different direction.

In fact, early reports suggested that several Apple executives were working on content deals from entirely different angles, often at cross-purposes with each other. Iovine wanted to produce more focused shows under the Apple Music banner, while Cue was pursuing serious Hollywood deals.

Of course, we know that Cue’s ambitions ultimately won out, but not until Apple CEO Tim Cook decided to get more involved in Apple’s content strategy and bring on Sony Pictures co-Presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to head up a new Worldwide Video Content division.

Despite this, Carpool Karaoke: The Series remained on an island of its own even after Apple TV+ launched in the fall of 2019 and Jimmy Iovine had long since stepped back. It was the only breakout success among Apple’s early content, as its first original series, Planet of the Apps turned out to be a dismal failure due to poor management — perhaps the best sign of Apple’s rudderless approach to original shows in the era before Van Amburg and Erlicht came aboard.

Further, even while Apple expanded its Apple Music video content into an MTV-like service, it also made it clear that key documentaries would land on Apple TV+ instead.

Carpool Karaoke was perhaps the last holdout in this area — previous episodes have long been available through Apple’s TV app, but they’re pretty hard to find. The transition to Apple TV+ means that it will now be featured prominently in the dedicated Apple TV+ Originals section, alongside other hit shows and moves like Ted Lasso and Greyhound.

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