Apple's video execs hunting for 'big, smart, splashy dramas,' taking pitches from agencies...

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple executives are focused on finding "big, smart, splashy dramas" for the company's original video programming, and are both seeing and delivering numerous pitches, according to one report.




Apple shows could be modeled after the likes of "Game of Thrones," "Breaking Bad," and "The Crown," one of several sources told the Hollywood Reporter. The two executives in charge of Apple programming -- Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg -- have been seen across Los Angeles, trying to sell Apple as a platform to both agents and studio heads.

Agencies like the United Talent Agency are said to be bombarding Apple with spec scripts and pre-packaged options, pitching the company with the same material they might take to HBO or Netflix. Erlicht and Van Amburg are thought to have a special advantage as former Sony Pictures Television executives, better known in Hollywood than their rivals at Netflix.

One studio head suggested that people "want to be the 'Mad Men' or 'House of Cards' on Apple" -- referring to the shows that established AMC and Netflix as household names.

Multiple sources mentioned that "Ratched," a prequel series to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" starring Sarah Paulson, could have been among the new wave of Apple shows, since Erlicht and Van Amburg sat down with producer Ryan Murphy this summer and made an offer for several seasons. The company was eventually outbid by Netflix though, which was willing to guarantee two seasons up front and threw in additional perks, such as payment to keep streaming "American Horror Story."

The company has allegedly been selective about putting out bids -- two examples include an update of Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" anthology series, and a previously-rumored morning show drama with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Erlicht, Van Amburg, and development head Matt Cherniss are said to be talking directly actors and creators as well, approaching people like Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, and "Outlander's" Ron Moore. They're also believed to be lining up meetings with people like "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler, and "The Good Place" writer Mike Schur.

Another former Sony employee -- Kim Rozenfeld -- is thought to be exploring documentary shows, including talking to the creators of Netflix's "Making a Murderer."

Still unclear is how Apple intends to distribute its future programming. While it might theoretically make it exclusive to Apple Music, like "Planet of the Apps" or "Carpool Karaoke," the budgets for a Netflix- or HBO-level drama would presumably demand a broader reach. Apple is expected to spend about $1 billion on shows over the course of the next year -- much less than Netflix, but similar to what Amazon spent when it first dipped into original video.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    Great to see Apple TV's strategy starting to take shape.
    cali
  • Reply 2 of 33
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.
    mobirdbdkennedy1002blurpbleepbloop
  • Reply 3 of 33
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Apple can’t drag their feet here. The future is clear, content subscription with exclusive content. Apple had the advantage of Music and who knows what else they might have in store. A nice package seems logical.

    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.

    I’m sure Jony Ive and the tech guys aren’t gonna be directing and writing the shows.
    Apple is fine. 

    leavingthebigg
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Bring back "Agent Carter!"
    stompySpamSandwichleavingthebigg
  • Reply 5 of 33
    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.
    Apple needs to diversify as well as to continue to innovate in the hardware/software space!
  • Reply 6 of 33
    512ke512ke Posts: 781member
    I look forward to their first series, HOUSE OF THRONES, along with GAME OF CARDS, BREAKING SOPRANOS, and of course ORANGE IS THE NEW HANDMAIDS TALE AMID THE NARCOS OF WESTWORLD. Kidding aside, I wish them luck in a marketplace that's crowded with excellent product. It makes sense that they want a head start by working only with well known underlying material and super famous talent.

    Splashy dramas feels right as a start -- comedy is hard to get right tonally. Animation is very difficult especially when it's also for adults. They need material that already has developed itself in a way, with a cult following preferably, and artists who command attention from the getgo. 

    Way better strategy than PLANET OF THE APPS, as laudable as that was. :)
    SoliStrangeDaysgatorguy
  • Reply 7 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,434member
    512ke said:
    I look forward to their first series, HOUSE OF THRONES, along with GAME OF CARDS, BREAKING SOPRANOS, and of course ORANGE IS THE NEW HANDMAIDS TALE AMID THE NARCOS OF WESTWORLD. Kidding aside, I wish them luck in a marketplace that's crowded with excellent product. It makes sense that they want a head start by working only with well known underlying material and super famous talent.

    Splashy dramas feels right as a start -- comedy is hard to get right tonally. Animation is very difficult especially when it's also for adults. They need material that already has developed itself in a way, with a cult following preferably, and artists who command attention from the getgo. 

    Way better strategy than PLANET OF THE APPS, as laudable as that was. :)
    There are excellent shows out there but there's countless ideas, time, and in Apple's case, money to make this work. While there are some emotional people who draw upon nostalgia that will say that TV used to be better back when blah blah was on the air, it's inarguable that TV shows are better written and produced than they were over each decade prior. For example, the quality of the new Star Trek: Discovery is well beyond what I expected.

    TV used to be were actors go to die but now it's a huge major jumping off point for many silver screen actors as well as a medium that many interchange between being in films. The money is there. The quality is there. I expect this to increase over time as streaming services which can write for long story arches due to the popularity of binge watching become more common place. Maybe Apple will fail here, but it won't be because of saturation.

    sog35 said:
    Silmarillion is perfect as a 50-70 episode mini series
    You really don't understand what "miniseries" means.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member
    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.
    That doesn’t cut it anymore. Apple can see into the future a lot farther ahead than we can. Look at Google for instance. They don’t do hardware much at all and they are focused on the same elusive goal. We will eventually get to the point where hardware is stamped out like license plates at the prison and will cost so little that no one can make a real profit from selling it. We’re already there on the low end of the market.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    sog35 said:

    Its basically Game of Thrones but much better (less senseless violence/secs)
    When is violence or sex senseless or not senseless? What are the criteria?

    As for GoT, whether its the books or the show, the violent acts are very often parts of the characters and narrative.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 33

    cali said:
    Apple can’t drag their feet here. The future is clear, content subscription with exclusive content.
    Or this idea -- they could sell premium hardware to run said exclusive content from all the other smaller content companies, and rake in historic levels of dough never before seen in all of humanity. 

    I jest, but do you really believe any one of those exclusive content sellers is going to have anything near the level of success Apple does with its hardware + ecosystem? Netflix, Amazon, HBO, even new Disney channel....none of them will come anywhere near Apple profits. Yet Apple can sell you the gear to run all of those on.
  • Reply 11 of 33

    Soli said:
    512ke said:
    I look forward to their first series, HOUSE OF THRONES, along with GAME OF CARDS, BREAKING SOPRANOS, and of course ORANGE IS THE NEW HANDMAIDS TALE AMID THE NARCOS OF WESTWORLD. Kidding aside, I wish them luck in a marketplace that's crowded with excellent product. It makes sense that they want a head start by working only with well known underlying material and super famous talent.

    Splashy dramas feels right as a start -- comedy is hard to get right tonally. Animation is very difficult especially when it's also for adults. They need material that already has developed itself in a way, with a cult following preferably, and artists who command attention from the getgo. 

    Way better strategy than PLANET OF THE APPS, as laudable as that was. :)
    There are excellent shows out there but there's countless ideas, time, and in Apple's case, money to make this work. While there are some emotional people who draw upon nostalgia that will say that TV used to be better back when blah blah was on the air, it's inarguable that TV shows are better written and produced than they were over each decade prior. For example, the quality of the new Star Trek: Discovery is well beyond what I expected.

    TV used to be were actors go to die but now it's a huge major jumping off point for many silver screen actors as well as a medium that many interchange between being in films. The money is there. The quality is there. I expect this to increase over time as streaming services which can write for long story arches due to the popularity of binge watching become more common place. Maybe Apple will fail here, but it won't be because of saturation.
    Agreed, this is the golden age of television (also the name of NPR's TV critic's book). TV narrative has never been stronger or better budgeted, which is why silver screen actors are happy to show up in shows today.
  • Reply 12 of 33

    lkrupp said:
    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.
    That doesn’t cut it anymore. Apple can see into the future a lot farther ahead than we can. Look at Google for instance. They don’t do hardware much at all and they are focused on the same elusive goal. We will eventually get to the point where hardware is stamped out like license plates at the prison and will cost so little that no one can make a real profit from selling it. We’re already there on the low end of the market.
    Yeah except people have been saying that about commoditized PCs for decades now, and yet Apple is still here making unseen profit from computing hardware. They've defied the doomsayers for 40 years. I'm inclined there will still be amazing hardware gadgets in the future, and quality will still be a value in future consumers.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 13 of 33
    How about a series about a technology company with way too much money and no experience in media trying to get into the TV and Movie business?
    It could be either a tragicomedy or a drama.

    The comedy could be the Misadventures of Eddie Cue where the lead is a clownish buffoon who keeps getting ripped off by the sharks of the NY and LA media world. The pilot can show him getting ripped off by paying $3 Billion for an also ran Streaming Music Service that also sells garish and crappy headphones.

    I’ll let you figure out the drama.
    SpamSandwich6502blurpbleepbloop
  • Reply 14 of 33
    This thing will work when they give someone like Vince Gilligan 100% autonomy for a new show... any new show... that he comes up with. But since Apple has such a problem with material that isn't family friendly, they probably need to create a new Apple division (like Beats) that can get away with riskier material, a la Game of Thrones or Westworld, and not have it reflect poorly on the Apple brand.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 15 of 33
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,647member

    D A R K  M A T T E R


    That is all apple needs to do, shake this show under its wings, add a bit of focus and you would have a great show.

    While I don't want to dismiss more general drama I'd really would like to see Apple back more good science fiction.  SyFy just sucks when it comes to successful shows.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    How about a series about a technology company with way too much money and no experience in media trying to get into the TV and Movie business?
    It could be either a tragicomedy or a drama.
    Or -- how about a series about a technology company with way too much money and no experience in cell phones trying to get into the cell phone business? It could be like the Bad News Bears.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    wizard69 said:

    D A R K  M A T T E R


    That is all apple needs to do, shake this show under its wings, add a bit of focus and you would have a great show.

    While I don't want to dismiss more general drama I'd really would like to see Apple back more good science fiction.  SyFy just sucks when it comes to successful shows.
    You do realize that Dark Matter is just the Twilight Zone with more adult content, right? Apple could license the Twilight Zone name and create all new shows instead.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    lkrupp said:
    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.
    That doesn’t cut it anymore. Apple can see into the future a lot farther ahead than we can. Look at Google for instance. They don’t do hardware much at all and they are focused on the same elusive goal. We will eventually get to the point where hardware is stamped out like license plates at the prison and will cost so little that no one can make a real profit from selling it. We’re already there on the low end of the market.
    Apple's vision into the future doesn't always work out. Apple's DNA is making great hardware and the software that works with it. Everything else is a distraction. There's only 4 proven ways to make money in tech: sell products (Apple), sell ads (Google, Facebook), sell software (MS, Oracle) or sell other people's stuff (Netflix, Amazon, eBay). Apple won't make its next $100B by selling original content exclusive on AppleTV.
    blurpbleepbloop
  • Reply 19 of 33
    sog35 said:
    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.
    Apple isn't a hardware or software company.

    Apple is an ecosystem company.

    Once you understand that you will know that they must get into content creation.  Music, Video, and Gaming.

    Its all about making the Apple ecosystem as sticky as possible. 
    No, Apple is a hardware company that makes software that works great with it. There is nothing new or innovative in producing original music, movies or series. It won't make Apple their next $100B.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    cali said:
    Apple can’t drag their feet here. The future is clear, content subscription with exclusive content. Apple had the advantage of Music and who knows what else they might have in store. A nice package seems logical.

    6502 said:
    I wish Apple would just concentrate on tech and delivering great new hardware and software products. This is just a distraction.

    I’m sure Jony Ive and the tech guys aren’t gonna be directing and writing the shows.
    Apple is fine. 

    I disagree. For example I'm a huge Star Trek fan but I could care less about the new series that only available on CBS's streaming service. I'm not paying for yet another service.

    We've seen in the past with delayed product (various OS releases) and we see it now with the stagnant mac product line.

    The Apple Car might be their next $100B product line, not a tv series.
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