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With the launch of Apple TV+ last month, Apple paraded a star-studded cast of A-list celebrities across the stage to discuss the various original content projects they were working on with Apple, and while the event featured greats like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston, arguably the most illustrious guest was Oprah Winfrey, who took the stage to reveal that she is working on two upcoming documentaries.
While Oprah’s partnership with Apple wasn’t a surprise — the company actually made the rare move of announcing it last year — it wasn’t until the company’s event last month that Oprah’s initial projects were revealed: a pair of documentaries focusing on sexual harassment and mental health.
However, as if it weren’t enough that the mental health documentary is being produced by Oprah Winfrey, it turns out that it now has patronage from British Royalty as well. This morning the Instagram account for he Duke & Duchess of Sussex made the announcement that HRH Prince Harry will be joining Oprah as a co-creator and executive producer.
According to the post, the Duke of Sussex and Oprah have already been working together to develop the series in partnership for the past few months, and it’s expected to launch in 2020. This means that it won’t be ready for the fall release of Apple’s TV+ service, although it’s possible Oprah’s other documentary, Toxic Labour, may be further along in production already.
Prince Harry is known for his support for mental health issues, after candidly coming out in 2017 regarding his own struggles with mental health following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and how it affected both him and his brother, Prince William. As Prince Harry noted, he shut down all of his emotions for 20 years before enduring two years of total chaos when everything began to surface again. It was his own struggle with these mental health problems that led him to begin a campaign for others suffering from similar issues, both to remove the stigma of opening up as well as providing support.
Our hope is that this series will be positive, enlightening and inclusive – sharing global stories of unparalleled human spirit fighting back from the darkest places, and the opportunity for us to understand ourselves and those around us better.Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
The Instagram post also reveals a few more details about the documentary, which is said to focus on both mental illness and mental wellness issues, with the goal of trying to inspire people to actually open up and engage in honest conversations about the challenges they face and how to deal with them.
On stage at Apple’s event last month, Oprah described both documentaries as part of her broader vision for inspiring positive change in partnership with Apple, and these first two projects are likely just the beginning of what will come from her multi-year partnership with Apple. While Apple TV+ is expected to host a wide array of different content, the ultra-high-profile of Oprah Winfrey and these documentary projects will likely be key in making Apple’s streaming service stand out against competitors, whose documentary projects on similar topics thus far don’t seem likely to hold a candle to Apple’s considerably more ambitious and serious undertakings.