Apple’s big streaming TV coming-out party is still a year or more away.
The company is looking to debut its original series sometime next year, as soon as March 2019 or into the summer, according to a New York Times report.
However, the tech giant is still keeping cards close to its vest in exactly how the Apple originals will be distributed. Industry execs expect Apple to adopt some kind of subscription model, a la Netflix and HBO, but some of the original series may be available for free or as part of other offerings.
Heading up Apple’s TV ambitions are Zack Van Amburg (above right) and Jamie Erlicht — the former co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, who joined in the summer of 2017 to head up original programming.
Since they came on board, Apple has announced at least a dozen original series with some big names in the biz.
Among the series in development under Van Amburg and Erlicht are a straight-to-series order for a drama series from Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”); a revival of Steve Spielberg’s anthology series “Amazing Stories”; a psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan; and a morning talk-show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Apple has told industry partners that it has an annual budget of some $1 billion to spend on original content.
Apple recently inked a lease for a four-story building in Culver City, Calif., comprising 128,000 square feet of office space, to house its global video-entertainment division. The group comprises around 40 employees, according to the Times, as Van Amburg and Erlicht have been on a hiring spree in addition to greenlighting TV projects.
Apple’s hires from Hollywood have included Matt Cherniss, formerly president and GM of WGN America and Tribune Studios, as head of development; Amazon Studios exec Morgan Wandell, head of international development; creative executive Michelle Lee, formerly producing partner to Jason Katims at Universal Television-based True Jack Productions; and Sony TV’s Angélica Guerra as head of Latin American programming.