×

Apple Unveils Inaugural Scripted Series: Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon Morning TV Drama and ‘Amazing Stories’

Apple has lifted the veil on its first scripted series efforts: a drama set in the world of a network morning show and a revival of anthology “Amazing Stories” shepherded by Steven Spielberg and Bryan Fuller.

The straight-to-series orders for both projects are the first fruits of the effort to rev up Apple Video’s entry into the premium TV arena. The tech giant recruited former Sony Pictures TV presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg in June to head the production push, which aims to target a global audience.

One big question surrounding Apple’s video effort is the distribution plan. It’s unclear if Apple will make the shows available by iTunes or another platform, and whether access will be based on a subscription or advertising-based model.

The untitled Aniston-Witherspoon drama hails from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res studio, Aniston’s Echo Films and Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner. The starry project was highly sought after by a number of outlets and landed a two-season order (10 episodes per season) from Apple. Media Res, Aniston and Witherspoon are the principle owners of the show.

The series is based on an idea from Ellenberg and will draw background material from CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter’s 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which recounted the recent rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Jay Carson (“House of Cards”) is writing the pilot and will serve as showrunner. Stelter is serving as a consultant.

The project marks an impressive debut for Media Res, the venture launched in June by former HBO executive Ellenberg in partnership with Vancouver-based financier Bron Studios.

Amazing Stories” hails from Universal Television and Amblin Television. Spielberg, Fuller, Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and “Bones” creator Hart Hanson are exec producers. Spielberg spearheaded an earlier edition of “Amazing Stories” that ran from 1985 to 1987 on NBC.

The Apple iteration aims to enlist notable filmmakers and creative talent for each episode.

(Pictured: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon)

More TV

  • Rocko's Modern Life reboot

    Nickelodeon and Netflix Ink New Multi-Year Output Deal for Original Animated Features, Shows

    In an expansion of their relationship, Netflix and Nickelodeon have formed a new multi-year output deal to produce original animated features and television series, based on both existing Nickelodeon characters as well as brand-new ones. The Viacom-owned kids content producer has previously brought to life “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” and “Invader Zim: Enter the [...]

  • bravo-pepsi-sparkling-rose

    Bravo Fans Get First Taste of Pepsi Champagne as NBCU Lures Madison Ave. to New Events

    NBCUniversal is best known among advertisers for selling TV commercials. Now the media giant wants to burnish its reputation for selling something that is only tangentially related to the TV screen. People who signed up for the company’s “BravoCon 2019” fan event, slated to take place between November 15 and November 17 in New York [...]

  • Rob Lowe TCA

    Rob Lowe's British Cop Series ‘Wild Bill’ Axed by ITV

    Rob Lowe’s fish-out-of-water British cop show “Wild Bill” will not get a second season. Despite the pull of big-name U.S. talent, the series failed to set ratings alight in the U.K. and garnered mixed reviews. British broadcaster ITV said Wednesday that the show will not be coming back. The series saw “West Wing” star Lowe [...]

  • Jan Guillou's 'The Great Century' Being

    Jan Guillou's 'The Great Century' Being Adapted as Epic Drama Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Great Century” is being adapted as an epic drama series by Dramacorp-Pampas Studios, which has landed the rights to Swedish author Jan Guillou’s book series. Guillou is known for his “Hamilton” spy-thriller novels, which Dramacorp-Pampas Studios has brought to TV as “Agent Hamilton.” That project had an international premiere at Mipcom and has presold [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Variety to Honor Jax Media Chiefs Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns at New Leaders Event

    Emmy Award-winning producer Tony Hernandez and Emmy-nominated producer Lilly Burns will receive the Creative Leadership Award on behalf of Jax Media at the Variety New Leaders event presented by City National Bank, taking place Nov. 14 in New York City. As founders of Jax Media, Hernandez and Burns have produced shows and specials such as [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Virginia Leith, Female Lead in Stanley Kubrick's First Film, Dies at 94

    Actress and model Virginia Leith, who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s first film “Fear and Desire,” which he later disavowed, has died. She was 94. According to family spokesperson Jane Chalmers, Leith died after a brief illness at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. on Nov. 4. Born on Oct. 15, 1925, Leith met Kubrick in [...]

  • Friends

    'Friends' Reunion Special in Early Planning Stages at HBO Max

    More “Friends” could well be there for you when the HBO Max rain starts to fall. An unscripted “Friends” reunion special is in the works at the forthcoming WarnerMedia streamer, Variety has confirmed with sources. Sources say original cast members Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer are in discussions [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content