'Little America' was a passion project for Apple as well as its producers

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The makers of Apple TV+ show "Little America" say that it was Apple's passion for the idea about immigrants coming to the US that made them sign with the service.


"Little America" on Apple TV+ (Source: Apple)


The new "Little America" series on Apple TV+ is an anthology drama about immigrants coming to the United States, and its producers say that only Apple embraced the idea. Apple's commitment extended to funding the show moving production to Canada for just one of its eight episodes, in order to get the best people for it.

"[When we initially] met with Apple, they hadn't started making shows yet," Alan Yang, one of the show's co-executive producers told Forbes. "What made it seem like a good fit for us was, firstly, their enthusiasm for the idea. When we pitched Little America to them in the room, they almost immediately started selling themselves to us and trying to convince us why they should have it. The tone and spirit of the show were very much in line with what they wanted on their service."

However, Yang says that choosing to go with Apple TV+ at this stage was similar to when they first took "a leap of faith" with the fledgling Netflix service. "They were the new kid on the block."

Nonetheless, the team knew that it was going to be a streaming service that made the show, because they had already tried with network TV.

"We pitched to a bunch of different places, and the truth is some of these more traditional outlets that have been around for decades, were a little hesitant about the show," says co-executive producer Kumail Nanjiani.

"They were all stuck in their old ways. They were like, 'Wait, you want to do a show that doesn't have any stars, that has majority non-white leads on our very mainstream network?' They were a little scared of a show that was an anthology show about immigrants coming to America. That's how we pitched it to some traditional platforms, but they didn't want to do it."

"We went with Apple because they seemed extremely passionate about it and they said they would trust us, let us make the show we wanted to make, and they would support it. We wanted the show to be something that was going to be accessible to a lot of people."

Apple's support went further than greenlighting the idea and commissioning the series. The eight-episode first season -- a second has now been confirmed -- included one episode where a story about old immigration issues was almost blocked by current ones.

The first seven episodes of "Little America" were filmed in the US, but for the season finale, the producers needed a particular Syrian actor -- and were not able to bring him to the States.

"For an episode about someone coming to America, who came here with refugee status, we could not shoot it in the US, which was crazy," says Nanjiani. We couldn't get a visa for him. We really liked him and really wanted him for the part, so, luckily, Apple was kind enough to allow us, at great expense, to move production to Canada for one episode."

Haaz Sleiman in
Haaz Sleiman in "The Son," episode 8 of "Little America."


Consequently the budget for even a comparatively small show, next to multi-million dollar series like "See," became costly. Forbes asked co-executive producer Lee Eisenberg how Apple is going to turn a profit on the show.

"You would have to ask Tim Cook," Eisenberg said. "I think that with a streamer like Apple, I imagine that they're trying to build a library and that if they keep putting out content that people are excited about, they'll pay the money for the service, and they'll continue to buy Apple products."

"All of this content is probably built into the narrative of what the company is," he added, "which is that they put out ground big groundbreaking shows and ambitious shows, the same way that they put out groundbreaking and ambitious software and hardware."

The first season of "Little America" is now available on Apple TV+.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Immigrants coming to the US is great! And I don’t think the vast majority of people care that a show has mostly ‘non-white’ leads as long as it’s representational of truth.

    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    ITGUYINSDwilliamhSpamSandwichjbaughcat52mobird
  • Reply 2 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,448member
    georgie01 said:
    Immigrants coming to the US is great! And I don’t think the vast majority of people care that a show has mostly ‘non-white’ leads as long as it’s representational of truth.

    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    You have so much to learn about what it really is to be an immigrant. I live in NYC and in my life I have seen waves of immigrants coming to my own neighborhood and have witnessed the small businesses they created, the long hours and hard work given to make a new life for themselves and families. I have also witness their children grown to into young adults and go to college and pursue careers on their own. I first experienced the wave of immigrants from China in the early 80's, followed by South Koreans, Russians and most recently people from Middle East countries. All of those groups did the work most New Yorkers had no interest in doing. 

    With every immigrant family the second generation is the gap between the "old" country to the "new" country. I have many friends and nieghbors who were not born here and they are valuable members of our community, A third of New York City residents were born in another country, one third come from another US state and only a third are native. New York City is the most admired city in the world and the leader of culture, capitalism, progressive ideas and tourism. People come here to experience its diversity because diversity makes life and a city a better place. 
    Ofermontrosemacslordjohnwhorfinauxiofastasleepdarkvader
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    georgie01 said:
    Immigrants coming to the US is great! And I don’t think the vast majority of people care that a show has mostly ‘non-white’ leads as long as it’s representational of truth.

    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    And the banjo. Don't forget they have to learn the banjo.
    lordjohnwhorfinfastasleepdarkvader
  • Reply 4 of 18
    And the name calling, and battle continues from both sides of the fence having to prove they are right.  Luckily, I get to express an option also. I hear it in my country and yours. It amazes me how much we are alike
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Ar40Ar40 Posts: 10member
    Beautiful TV show. Our shared humanity. And this is coming from a Republican and Trump supporter here. I'm glad Apple had the guts to do this.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    This show appears to be inspired a least a bit by the long-running UK show called "Little Britain."
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Legal immigration is a beautiful thing. Illegal migration should probably be addressed by this series, but I doubt anything but an entitled viewpoint will be shown.
    trashman69
  • Reply 8 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,448member
    Legal immigration is a beautiful thing. Illegal migration should probably be addressed by this series, but I doubt anything but an entitled viewpoint will be shown.
    A lot of things are illegal in this country however it always depends on who is breaking the law. When some people obviously ignore and break the law they have 53 Senators covering up their crimes, most are not so fortunate. 
    montrosemacslordjohnwhorfindarkvader
  • Reply 9 of 18
    williamh said:
    This show appears to be inspired a least a bit by the long-running UK show called "Little Britain."
    But I'm a Laydee! My name is Emily, Emily Howard. And as a lady I like to do lady things. I swim in rivers, wear petticoats, and pet kittens... and... sh!t
    darkvader
  • Reply 10 of 18
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,460member
    georgie01 said:
    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    And yet, when I was travelling in Italy a while back, I met so many Americans who were complaining and frustrated about how they don't speak English and how difficult it was.  Hopefully they reflected on those experiences and had a bit more understanding of what it's like to be an immigrant.
    chemengin1
  • Reply 11 of 18
    I may check it out because of all the waves this show seems to be generating (and because I already have ATV+), and I like human stories. But I have to say that I didn’t make it through that first excruciating Hallmark channel-caliber trailer. Hopefully the actual show won’t be as contrived and melodramatic.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    georgie01 said:
    Immigrants coming to the US is great! And I don’t think the vast majority of people care that a show has mostly ‘non-white’ leads as long as it’s representational of truth.

    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    The United States has no official language. Perhaps you should educate yourself prior to dictating what others learn. 
  • Reply 13 of 18
    georgie01 said:
    Immigrants coming to the US is great! And I don’t think the vast majority of people care that a show has mostly ‘non-white’ leads as long as it’s representational of truth.

    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    Gee, considering the vast numbers of Americans who know absolutely nothing of American history, why don’t we start there? 

    Or did you mean Muslims practicing their choice of religion in a country where freedom of religion is the country’s way? 

    You know there are no laws requiring English be spoken in this country?

    I hate to break it to you, but your idea of American “culture” is wrong. 
    spice-boydarkvader
  • Reply 14 of 18

    auxio said:
    georgie01 said:
    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    And yet, when I was travelling in Italy a while back, I met so many Americans who were complaining and frustrated about how they don't speak English and how difficult it was.  Hopefully they reflected on those experiences and had a bit more understanding of what it's like to be an immigrant.
    Probably not. Americans overseas are the worst. Funny, a couple of my lasting memories from Cinque Terre, Italy, were instances of loudmouthed Americans being asshats. 
    spice-boy
  • Reply 15 of 18

    Legal immigration is a beautiful thing. Illegal migration should probably be addressed by this series, but I doubt anything but an entitled viewpoint will be shown.
    How do you know it’s not addressed? You’ve seen all 8 episodes over at Eddy Cue’s house?
    spice-boy
  • Reply 16 of 18
    We are a country of immigrants. I am the son of Italian immigrants. Come here legally and you can do what you want. Speak what you want. Assimilate or not. Come here illegally and you spit in the face of my family and the millions of immigrants/Americans who came here the right way. The show should stress the importance of a civilized legal immigration process, and hopefully it does/will. Otherwise where do you draw the line on what laws to enforce. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    auxio said:
    georgie01 said:
    What is not great is immigrants coming to the US and not learning US history (not the leftist rewrite of it...), language, and culture. What is not great is Americans believing we’re somehow wronging immigrants by expecting them to be Americans. When people go to another country, they should respect that country’s ways.
    And yet, when I was travelling in Italy a while back, I met so many Americans who were complaining and frustrated about how they don't speak English and how difficult it was.  Hopefully they reflected on those experiences and had a bit more understanding of what it's like to be an immigrant.
    Interesting that the EU failed to agree on an “EU-mandated” common language when they engineered their handshake agreement between countries. Since the entire idea behind creating the EU was to facilitate trade, they should’ve insisted all citizen countries adopt English.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,448member
    gumashow said:
    We are a country of immigrants. I am the son of Italian immigrants. Come here legally and you can do what you want. Speak what you want. Assimilate or not. Come here illegally and you spit in the face of my family and the millions of immigrants/Americans who came here the right way. The show should stress the importance of a civilized legal immigration process, and hopefully it does/will. Otherwise where do you draw the line on what laws to enforce. 
    You were lucky, not everyone's parents come from a stable western democracy and the only way they can hope for a better life is too enter without the proper paperwork. 
    This country has much bigger problems than illegal immigration but as always the poorest people are always used as a distraction while the privileged shrink our rights and the rich get richer. 
    darkvader
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