Gwyneth Paltrow Joins Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ Reality Series

Gweneth Paltrow Power of Women Variety
Pamela Littky for Variety

Will.i.am and tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk also named mentors for app-developer competition show

Actress-entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow will serve as a mentor to contestants in Apple’s “Planet of the Apps,” a reality-competition series designed to showcase the tech goliath’s iTunes App Store that is set to bow in 2017.

In addition, tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk and musician-entrepreneur will.iam (who was previously attached to the project) will serve as advisers. The series is co-produced by Apple and Propagate Content’s Ben Silverman and Howard Owens.

“Developing and launching a business based on your own original idea can be exhilarating, but intimidating,” Paltrow said in a statement. “This is a great opportunity to be part of a series that lets us use our experiences to help app developers break through and create viable businesses that will impact peoples’ lives.”

Silverman and Owens added, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Gwyneth, Gary and will.i.am on ‘Planet of the Apps.’… Our team of advisers are entrepreneurs who have each launched and built successful brands and can tap into their personal experience to offer advice to the app developers selected for the series.”

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The producers have launched a casting call at PlanetOfTheApps.com for up to 100 aspiring app developers to submit proposals for a chance to appear in the show. The deadline for applications is Aug. 26.

Separately, Apple has made moves to acquire original programming for Apple Music, its streaming-music subscription service. Last month, the company pacted with CBS for 16 episodes “Carpool Karaoke,” based on James Corden’s popular “Late Late Show” singalong segments with celebs. Apple also is developing a scripted series from Dr. Dre for the music service.

“Planet of the Apps” is executive produced by Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, will.i.am and Gwyneth Paltrow. Craig Armstrong, Rick Ringbakk and Charles Watcher will serve as showrunners and executive producers.

“Being an entrepreneur and supporting entrepreneurs is basically all I’ve ever known. The opportunity to team up with Apple and Propagate for ‘Planet of the Apps’ to produce, what I think is potentially the most innovative show for entrepreneurs in the business sphere, excites me to no end,” said Vaynerchuk, a tech investor and CEO and co-founder of VaynerMedia.

Will.i.am commented, “As tech drives modern pop culture now more than ever, we are giving a platform for the next generation of culture makers to shine. We are searching for entrepreneurs with the vision to shape the future, solve real problems and inspire change within our daily lives.”

Paltrow adds some additional showbiz sheen to a project that’s basically a big piece of branded content for Apple: The selected winners will see their apps get featured placement on the App Store and are promised potential funding from venture-capital firms.

In addition to Paltrow’s acting career spanning more than two decades that included her Oscar-winning turn in “Shakespeare in Love,” in 2008 she founded New York-based Goop, a digital lifestyle and e-commerce company focused on health, travel, shopping and food. Other notable film credits include “Proof,” Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums,” Anthony Mighella’s “The Talented Mr. Riply,” David Fincher’s “Se7en” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Great Expectations.” Paltrow also has written three best-selling cookbooks.

Vaynerchuk has a long track record of investing in tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox, and in 2014 co-founded VaynerRSE, a $25 million seed-investment fund. Will.i.am is a seven-time Grammy winner and frontman of the Black Eyed Peas whose TV credits include, “i.am.mars: Reach for the Stars” for Science Channel and primetime special “i.am First: Science is Rock and Roll.” He’s also a founding shareholder in Beats Electronics, which Apple acquired for $3 billion.

The producers of “Planet of the Apps” teamed with Ryan Hoover’s Product Hunt, a website for discovering new technology products, games and books, for a four-city tour in San Francisco, L.A., New York and Austin. The meetups kicked off in San Francisco and L.A. last week before coming to New York Aug. 1 and will make a stop in Austin Aug. 4.

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