Most Apple fans are aware by now that the iPhone maker is making a big push into original tv programming, joining the likes of HBO, Amazon, and Netflix. By last August, the tech company had committed to spending a sizeable $1 billion on producing and acquiring tv content, both scripted and unscripted, over the course of 2018, asThe Wall Street Journal reported. Its content budget is dwarfed by Netflix’s $8 billion war chest, and Apple faces stiff competition from more seasoned streaming veterans like Amazon and Hulu.
Apple SVP Eddie Cue was the first to admit at SXSW that “we don’t know anything about making television” but averred that “we’re not after quantity, we’re after quality”. But one major advantage that Apple does have is hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads, and Macs in use worldwide, which is nothing to scoff at.
In any case, Apple has opted to take a more focused rather than scattershot approach to its content strategy, aiming to assemble a solid lineup of bingeable shows to lead its foray into television. So far, the iPhone maker has inked deals for 13 original tv projects. Here’s a rundown of the Apple shows currently in production or development:
13 M. Night Shyamalan Thriller Series
Apple has ordered 10 half-hour episodes of a psychological thriller series executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan. The Sixth Sense director has also committed to directing the first episode of the series himself. Next to nothing is known about what the series will be about, other than the fact that it will feature at least one big twist.
12 Amazing Stories Reboot
The first commitment that Apple’s programming heads made was to reboot Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi and horror anthology series, Amazing Stories. Inspired by Spielberg’s childhood obsession with the Twilight Zone series, Amazing Stories aired for two seasons back in the 80s and won 5 Emmy awards over its short-lived run. The director’s Amblin Entertainment production company has agreed to revive the thriller anthology for ten episodes in partnership with Universal TV, with a budget of $5 million earmarked for each episode.
11 Untitled Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston Drama Series
Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston have signed on to starring in a drama series exploring the cutthroat world of morning talk shows. The show will draw on anecdotes recounted by CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter in his book “Top of the Morning”, which described the rivalry between NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America. Kerry Ehrin, who helmed Bates Motel, is reportedly slated to take over for 20 episodes over 2 seasons.
Isaac Asimov’s sprawling sci-fi epic follows a scientist who observes crowd behavior to predict the impending collapse of the Galactic Empire, which rules the Milky Way, followed by a Dark Age which will last for 30,000 years. The daunting task of adapting this sci-fi classic has been entrusted to David Goyer (who worked on Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy) and Josh Friedman (Avatar 2).
9 Central Park
Apple has also ordered two seasons (26 episodes) of an animated musical comedy series following "a family of caretakers, who live and work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the world”, according to Deadline. The show is the brainchild of Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard. Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Titus Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Diggs, and Kathryn Hahn are reportedly on board as voice actors. Central Park marks the first animated series for Apple.
8 Untitled Space Drama
Ronald D. Moore, the creator of the beloved Battlestar Galactica reboot and Outlander, is creating a drama series for Apple exploring a world in which the space race never ended. Moore is partnering with Fargo co-executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi to write the as-yet untitled series.
7 Are You Sleeping
Octavia Spencer is set to star in this crime drama, produced by Reese Witherspoon. Based on a novel of the same name by Kathleen Barber, Are You Sleeping explores the impact that a Serial-style true crime podcast has on the life of a woman who thought she had put her troubled past behind her.
Apple has placed a straight-to-series order on an ambitious world-building drama set in the future from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence. Details of the show are being kept under wraps, but the first season will likely consist of eight episodes.
5 Kristen Wiig Comedy
This project will mark Kristen Wiig’s first regular TV show since she left Saturday Night Live. The comedy series will draw on Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. 30 Rock veteran Colleen McGuinness will run the series of half-hour episodes with Reese Witherspoon set to produce. Little else is known about the show, other than the fact that it boasts no shortage of comedic talent.
4 Damien Chazelle Project
Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (La La Land and Whiplash) has committed to writing and directing every single episode of this drama series. Nothing else is known about this project.
Apple is also making an unexpected foray into HGTV territory with Home, a docu-series directed by documentarian Matt Tyrnauer. The first season will consist of 10 one-hour episodes covering the world’s most extraordinary homes and the people who built them.
2 Little America
Husband-and-wife duo Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon are developing a comedy anthology series for Apple based on Epic Magazine’s “Little America” series. It’ll cover similar ground as The Big Sick, providing “a small, collective portrait of America’s immigrants — and thereby a portrait of America itself.
Rounding out Apple original series lineup is a show based on the childhood and rise of NBA star Kevin Durant. The series will also “explore the world of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball and the lives of the players, their families, and coaches”, according to Variety. Durant himself will produce the series, along with Brian Grazer, co-founder of Imagine Entertainment. It will be written and directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood, who previously directed the Biggie Smalls biopic Notorious.