Updated 3/12/18: Deadline reports
that Apple has signed a two-season agreement for a new animated
musical comedy show called Central Park.
Apple is said to be spending as much as $1 billion over the course of 2018 on
original TV programming. That’s a lot of TV! It’s not the
$8 billion Netflix is going to spend, but
it’s still a huge commitment.
What can you get for a billion dollars? Well, some simple math
gives us 200 episodes at $5 million a piece (a reasonable
per-episode price for high-end TV). But we’re not likely to
actually see 10-20 shows with 10-20 episodes each, all costing
around that much. For starters, that billion dollars has to
cover a lot more than per-episode production costs.
The bulk of Apple’s TV content is likely to be in production
throughout 2018, with actual release dates in 2019. We’ll
probably see a mix of show types, from reality TV to dramas,
and even a few films and miniseries, too. Currently,
Apple’s TV efforts are accessed through Apple Music, but
that’s not really an optimal experience. We don’t know if the
company will simply release content through iTunes, the TV app,
or a new channel, but access is likely to be tied to Apple
Music subscriptions—at least in the near term.
While most of Apple’s TV projects are shrouded in secrecy, what
little we know confirms that Apple is spending big bucks on
top-tier talent. The two projects released in 2017 (Planet
of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke) were
uninspiring, but prospects seem far better for the future.
Here’s a list of all the exclusive TV content we know Apple is
working on, along with expected release dates.
Planet of the Apps
It’s like Shark Tank for app developers! Celebrity
judges Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and Gary
Vaynerchuk sit through pitches by app developers who go on to
try to earn big VC money.
It’s…not great. There’s nothing
inherently wrong with Planet of the
Apps, really. It’s just sort of boring. Each of the 10
episodes is nearly an hour long, and doesn’t manage to capture
much drama about the developers or the challenges they face in
bringing their ideas to market. It all moves too slowly, and
feels crammed with “celebrity factor” where the developers
should really be the stars.
The whole exercise feels like it was made for Apple (because
Apple = Apps!) instead of for viewers who want to watch an
Planet of the Apps has 10 episodes in its first
season, which premiered on June 6, 2017. No second season has
Carpool Karaoke: The Series
James Corden has this great bit on The
Late Late Show where he hops into a car with celebrities
and they sing along with the radio. See? Celebrities do the
things we do!
It’s usually a short six- or seven-minute segment that can be
quite entertaining. You know, just the right thing to go viral
on YouTube (as several segments have done).
What better thing to turn into a TV show that plays only on a
music service, right?
Unfortunately, the tight, breezy pace of The Late Late
Show segment doesn’t translate well to a series where each
episode is about three times as long. Perhaps it only works as
a “break” from the in-studio talk show. Perhaps the whole
concept is just a bit old and boring. Maybe it’s Corden who
makes the magic—he only hosts the first episode and the 19th
and final one. For whatever reason, the hit segment simply
doesn’t translate into a hit show.
Carpool Karaoke: The Series premiered on August
9, 2017. It ran one episode per week for 19 episodes, with the
last one posting on October 31. CBS Corp. CEO Leslie
Moonves announced on February 15, 2018 that Apple has ordered a
second season of the show. The season premiere date has not
According to a report from Deadline, Apple has signed a
two-season, 26-episode order for a new animated music comedy
called Central Park. The show is produced by 20th
Century Fox TV, and is the brainchild of Loren Bouchard
(creator of Bob’s Burgers), Nora Smith (Bob’s
Burgers executive producer) and Josh Gad (who voices Olaf
The show stars some top-tier voice talent, including Josh Gad,
Kristen Bell, Titus Burgess, Stanley Tucci, Leslie Odom Jr.,
Daveed Diggs, and Kathryn Hahn. The story, according to
Deadline, is about how, “a family of caretakers, who live and
work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the
Central Park has no projected release date yet.
M. Night Shyamalan thriller series
According to Variety, Apple has ordered a straight-to-series
run of a psychological thriller produced by M. Night Shyamalan,
the director known for writing and
directing Unbreakable and a bunch of lesser
We don’t know anything about the series yet, except that Apple
has ordered ten half-hour episodes, and that Shyamalan will
direct the first one but apparently, perhaps mercifully, none
of the others. The series will be written
by Tony Basgallop.
This series does not yet have a release date.
Swagger: a drama series based on Kevin Durant
According to Variety, Apple is developing a
drama series based on the early life and career of NBA
superstar Kevin Durant. Inspired by Durant’s youth basketball
experiences, Variety says “it will explore the world of Amateur
Athletic Union (AAU) basketball and the lives of the players,
their families, and coaches.”
The series will be produced by Brian Grazer and Ron
Howard’s Imagine Television along with Durant’s
Thirty Five Media. It will be written and directed
by Reggie Rock Bythewood, best known for the TV series
Shots Fired and for writing the Notorious B.I.G.
We should note that Durant currently plays for the Golden State
Warriors, of which Apple VP Eddy Cue is a huge superfan.
Swagger does not yet have a projected release date.
Okay, so Apple’s first two experiments with original
programming weren’t exactly Game of Thrones breakout
hits. We can consider those to be toeing the water, with more
exciting announcements to come. The first of which is a revival
Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories.
The original Amazing Stories ran for only two seasons
in the ’80s, yet was nominated for a dozen Emmys (winning
Apple has struck a deal with Amblin Television to produce
a 10-episode run, with Bryan Fuller as showrunner and a rumored
budget of about $5 million per half-hour episode.
So, the writer-producer of Dead Like Me,
Heroes, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal,
American Gods, and Star Trek: Discovery is
getting a beefy budget to revive one of the most beloved and
awarded (if short-lived) shows of all time. We can’t wait!
Update 02/07/18: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bryan Fuller has
left the project, citing creative differences. Hart Hanson, who
was co-producing it with Fuller and Spielberg, will take on a
larger role in the show.
Amazing Stories has no release date yet.
Are You Sleeping
Apple has tapped Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello
Sunshine to adapt the true crime best-selling book Are You
Sleeping: A Novel by Kathleen Barber.
We don’t know a lot about it, except that the adaptation for TV
is written by Nichelle D. Tramble (The Good Wife,
Justified) and will star the excellent Octavia
Spencer, who won an Oscar for The Help and was
nominated for another for Hidden Figures.
The story is about a hit podcast (think: Serial) that reopens a
long-closed murder case in the public eye, and unravels the
life of our protagonist, Josie, who had finally put her
troubled old life behind her.
Are You Sleeping has no release date yet.
Fresh off their big indie hit The Big Sick,
husband-and-wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily v. Gordon will
co-write and executive produce a new half-hour anthology series
about immigrants called Little America. They will share writing
duties with Lee Eisenberg, who will serve as showrunner. Alan
Yang, known as the co-creator of Master of None
together with Aziz Ansari, will also executive produce the
It will be based on the true stories printed in Epic Magazine’s
Little America series. Deadline says the show
will “go beyond the headlines to look at the funny, romantic,
heartfelt, inspiring and unexpected lives of
immigrants in America, at a time when their stories are
more relevant than ever.”
Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Aniston morning show drama
Is Apple going to air a morning talk show? Not quite.
This new series (also produced by Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine
production company) is not a morning news show. Instead, it’s a
drama about making a morning TV news show. It
supposedly draws heavily from the book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat
World of Morning TV by Brian Stelter.
It’s easy to imagine that what Sports Night was
for SportsCenter, this show would be for the Today
So far we don’t really know anything about it or when it will
air, except that Apple has ordered two seasons of 10 hour-long
episodes each. The writer and executive producer is Jay
Carson, who served as a producer on House of Cards.
The show doesn’t have a title yet (that we know of), and has no
Ronald D. Moore sci-fi series
In December, Deadline published an exclusive with a few
juicy details of yet another Apple TV series. Written and
created by Ronald D. Moore (best known for Battlestar
Galactica), and co-executive produced by Matt Wolpert and
Ben Nedivi (Fargo) the series explores what would
happen if the global space race had never ended.
We don’t yet know the series’ title (it may not have one yet!),
nor when it will be released, but it seems early in
production—there’s no talk of directors or stars yet attached.
Given that this is the kind of show bound to have plenty of
post-production special effects, I wouldn’t expect to see it
It looks like Apple wants to cash in on the “look at the fancy
homes of fancy people” TV craze, with its own unique
twist. According to Variety, Apple has ordered one full season
of 10 hour-long episodes of a new show
It’s billed as a documentary series, and is being produced by
veteran documentary writer-producer duo Matt Tyrnauer
and Corey Reeser, along with several veteran producers
from Time Inc. Productions. It is said to “offer viewers a
never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary
homes, and delves into the minds of the people who built them.”
So it sounds like it will be more about design and technology
than Million Dollar Listing or MTV Cribs. All
the better to sell you nifty HomeKit stuff, right?
Home has no release date yet.
Kristen Wiig comedy series
SNL alum Kristen Wiig is set to star in her first regular TV
gig since leaving SNL in 2012. According to Variety, Apple has ordered a
10-episode, half-hour run of a new comedy variety show staring
The show is created and produced by Colleen McGuinness (30
Rock, About a Boy) and is inspired by Curtis
Sittenfeld’s collection of short stories You Think It, I’ll Say It (which
isn’t even out yet).
This is the third Apple series to be produced by Reese
Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine.
This project does not yet have a title or release date.
Apple has put in a full series order for See, a
futuristic drama. The size of the series order is not yet
known, but Deadline reports that it will probably
consist of eight episodes.
The series is written by Steven Knight (Peaky
Blinders, Dirty Pretty Things) and directed by
Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and
Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2).
So far we don’t know anything about the series, except that
it’s supposed to take place in the future and is what they call
a “world-building” series, that is, one set in a different
reality than our own (think: Westworld,
Bright, Game of Thrones…).
There have been no stars yet announced for the series, nor a
Damien Chazelle drama series
According to Variety, Apple has gone straight-to-series
(ordered a whole season of a series without first shooting a
pilot) on a drama by Damien Chazelle. Chazelle is the acclaimed
writer and director of La La Land and
Whiplash, and is currently working on a Neil Armstrong
biopic called First Man.
No details have been given about the series at all, except that
Chazelle will write and direct every episode. We don’t know the
subject matter, the stars, the length of each episode…really
nothing at all.
There is no release date set for this series, but considering
that Chazelle is currently in production on First Man (set to
release in theaters on October 12, 2018), it’s probably a long
Waaay back in early 2016, word dropped about Apple’s first
homegrown TV series.
Called Vital Signs and produced by Dr. Dre, it is said
to be a six-episode miniseries where each episode focuses on a
specific emotion (Vengence, Ego, Negativity,
Innocence…). It’s also a semi-autobiographical tale of