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Apple Original Series Currently in Production or Development

Brie Larson joins Chris Evans, Jennifer Garner, Richard Gere, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and more big names attached to titles being developed for the tech giant.

by | March 6, 2019 | Comments

Netflix, Amazon, and now Hulu have both become synonymous with prestige TV, but there’s one giant tech company not far behind the two streaming services — at least in theory. In the past year, Apple has made moves to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and premium cable channels (like HBO and Showtime) for the peak TV crown in 2019.

With more TV series — and places to watch them — than ever, Apple is putting a reported $1 billion toward adding to the peak TV pile. While the company began its foray into scripted series with two current shows offered through Apple Music — the tech-themed Shark Tank–esque reality competition Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series — the competition really ramped up when it hired veteran TV executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht in June 2017. The duo formerly ran Sony Pictures Television, the studio that brought the world Breaking Bad and The Crown.

Van Amburg and Erlicht have engaged in aggressive bidding wars for some of TV’s hottest projects, according to a New York Times report, and will likely surpass its reported budget in doing so. With 13 projects currently in the works, it’s clear the company is ready to spend money to compete with TV’s current titans. (Planet of the Apps, which featured guest judges including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba, didn’t get much critical acclaim when it debuted in June 2017. Carpool Karaoke: The Series, a spin-off of James Corden’s popular Late Late Show segment, has been ordered for a second season.)

Apple is scheduled to roll out its new programming slate as early as March 2019 and as late as summer — just in time to go head-to-head with the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones and be eligible for 2019 Emmy consideration.

Of the titles below that are headed to or intended for the tech giant, some are in development, while the others are series orders. Read on to find out who the players are and more about the shows.

UPDATED (3/12/19): Taika Waititi is set to adapt Time Bandits into a TV series, while Brie Larson and Chris Evans have signed on to produce and star in new shows for the yet-to-launch streaming service.


Time Bandits

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 08: Taika Waititi walks the red carpet ahead of the Award Ceremony during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 8, 2018 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage)
(Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage)

Talent: Taika Waititi is set to co-write and direct the pilot for the project, which will also involve the film’s original writer/director, Terry Gilliam.
What it’s about: While still in the development stages, the potential series is an adaptation of Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy film of the same name, about a young boy who joins a group of renegade time-traveling dwarves.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Well, the original film is Certified Fresh, and at least five of Waititi’s most recent projects are CF or Fresh on the Tomatometer too. The odds are definitely in his favor.


Untitled Brie Larson CIA Project

Brie Larson, WINNER: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for ROOM in the press room for The 88th Academy Awards Oscars 2016 - Press Room, The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center, Los Angeles, CA February 28, 2016. Photo By: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)

Talent: Oscar winner and Marvel superhero Brie Larson is set to star.
What it’s about: The new series is “a look at a young woman’s journey in the CIA told through the prism of her closest relationships,” per Variety. The series is based on the experiences of real-life undercover CIA operative Amaryllis Fox and her upcoming memoir Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Since 2010, Larson’s been a part of a whopping 11 Certified Fresh films, with an additional three films sitting at Fresh on the Tomatometer and just a few (okay, four) at Rotten. That’s a pretty stunning record. Let’s just hope the show is more of a Room than a Basmati Blues.


Defending Jacob

Chris Evans at arrivals , The 91st Academy Awards - Arrivals, The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center, Los Angeles, CA, United States February 24, 2019. (Photo by: Jef Hernandez/Everett Collection) at arrivals for The 91st Academy Awards - Arrivals, The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center, Los Angeles, CA February 24, 2019. Photo By: Jef Hernandez/Everett Collection
(Photo by Jef Hernandez/Everett Collection)

Talent: Captain America himself, Chris Evans, is starring in and executive producing the new series.
What it’s about: Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, this limited series follows assistant district attorney Andy Barber, who’s investigating the murder of a 14-year-old boy and discovers his son is a suspect.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: A fellow Hollywood Chris (Pine) had similar success executive producing and starring in the drama I Am the Night, so there’s no reason to think Evans couldn’t do the same.


My Glory Was I Had Such Friends

Jennifer Garner at arrivals for CAMPING Series Premiere on HBO, Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA October 10, 2018. Photo By: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection
(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

Talent: Jennifer Garner and J.J. Abrams are staging an Alias reunion when the actress stars in the megaproducer’s latest TV project. She’ll also executive produce.
What it’s about: The series is based on the 2017 memoir of the same name by Amy Silverstein, and according to its official description (via The Hollywood Reporter), “the drama showcases the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit as it follows an extraordinary group of women who supported Silverstein as she waited for a second life-saving heart transplant.”
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Alias ran for five seasons, and Garner and Abrams are both A-list movie stars (in front of and behind the camera). Chances for success are high.


Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston Morning Show Project

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 17: Actresses Reese Witherspoon (L) and Jennifer Aniston attend ELLE's 18th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute held at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 17, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images For ELLE)
(Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images For ELLE)

Talent: Witherspoon and Aniston are both set to star in and executive produce the drama, which was one of the first scripted series Apple announced. While Jay Carson (House of Cards) was originally signed on to write the project, he has since departed and Bates Motel boss Kerry Ehrin took over. Steve Carell will play the male lead.
What it’s about: The morning show drama has already been ordered for two seasons and 20 episodes and will draw background from Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: With the star power and bona fides of Big Little Lies star and producer Witherspoon and Friends vet Aniston, plus the creative power of Ehrin, it’s almost too big to fail. Then again, the drama surrounding Carson’s departure is never a good sign…


Amazing Stories

THE BFG, director Steven Spielberg, on set, 2016. ph: Doane Gregory /© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Doane Gregory /© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection)

Talent: Steven Spielberg is on board to revive his ’80s anthology series. Bryan Fuller (American Gods) and Hart Hanson (Bones) were originally on board to run the show, which was ordered for 10 episodes, but both departed in February 2018.
What it’s about: The sci-fi/horror/supernatural anthology series originally ran on NBC.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Despite the talent involved, the creative departures could mean there’s more behind-the-scenes drama — which can lead to on-screen discord — afoot. Plus, the series sounds more like a pulpy guilty pleasure than prestige awards bait.


Untitled Charlie Day/Rob McElhenney Series

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, from left: Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, 'The Gang Makes Paddy's Great Again', (Season 13, ep. 1301, airs Sept. 5, 2018). photo: Patrick McElhenney/©FX/Courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Patrick McElhenney/©FX/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Talent: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars and creators Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney are writing and executive producing a new half-hour comedy. The series will star McElhenney, F. Murray Abraham, David Hornsby, Danny Pudi, and more.
What it’s about: The sitcom follows the diverse group of people who work together in a video game development studio.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Believe it or not, Sunny is one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time. Anyone who can crack the secret to that kind of longevity while still remaining culturally relevant and, most importantly, funny certainly has the potential to do it again.


Foundation

Foundation book cover, David S. Goyer (Penguin Random House; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Penguin Random House; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Talent: David S. Goyer (Blade, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Avatar 2) are developing an adaptation of the iconic novel series from famed sci-fi author Isaac Asimov for Skydance Television, the company behind Netflix’s ambitious Altered Carbon.
What it’s about: The book series inspired plenty of the sci-fi you love, including Star Wars. It follows a mathematician who predicts the collapse of humanity, which is scattered on planets throughout the galaxy and ruled by the Galactic Empire. The first book was published in 1951, followed by sequels in the subsequent years and two more in the ’80s, along with two prequels.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: There have been numerous attempts to turn Foundation into a feature film or a TV series before (including by disaster-movie king Roland Emmerich and Westworld creator Jonah Nolan). Needless to say, the subject matter is daunting and will require a deft approach to capturing the books’ rich world. It could go very, very wrong. But if done well, it could enjoy Game of Thrones–level success.


For All Mankind

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: Producer Ronald D. Moore at the "Battlestar Galactica" Reunion press line during Comic-Con International 2017 at Hilton Bayfront on July 20, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Talent: Battlestar Galactica and Outlander creator Ronald D. Moore has teamed up with Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi (Fargo) for the still-untitled series.
What it’s about: The drama, which has been ordered straight to series, explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Between BSG and Outlander, Moore certainly has both the cred and the goods to assume he’ll deliver on this one, too.


Untitled Richard Gere Series

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23: Actor Richard Gere attends the "Invisibles" (Time Out of Mind) charity premiere at the Callao cinema on November 23, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Talent: Richard Gere is set to star in and executive produce the drama series.
What it’s about: Based on the Israeli series Nevelot, the show will follow two elderly Vietnam vets whose lives are changed when a woman they both loved 50 years prior is killed in a car accident.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Though he’s had a storied film career, this is Gere’s first foray into television — so it’ll definitely be worth checking out.


Dickinson

Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski. Photo Credit: Steve Mack/Everett Collection; Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection
(Photo by Steve Mack/Everett Collection; Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)

Talent: Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski are set to star as young poet Emily Dickinson and her mother, respectively.
What it’s about: The series is a half-hour comedy that “is set during Emily Dickinson’s era with a modern sensibility and tone. It takes viewers into the world of Emily, audaciously exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view,” per Deadline.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: The star power is great, but the series logline is a little out there. We’ll have to wait and see to reserve judgement.


M. Night Shyamalan Thriller

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: Director M. Night Shyamalan attends the 2016 Adult Swim Upfront Party on May 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Adult Swim)
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Adult Swim)

Talent: M. Night Shyamalan is executive producing and will direct the first episode of this series, from writer Tony Basgallop.
What it’s about: As if the king of big twists would reveal anything about his psychological thriller! Good to note: The first season will consist of 10 half-hour episodes and has been ordered straight to series.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: This one, like Shayamalan’s movies, depends on execution. Will it be a Sixth Sense or a Lady in the Water? Only time will tell.


Are You Sleeping

THE SHACK, Octavia Spencer, 2017. ph: Jake Giles Netter / Summit Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Jake Giles Netter / Summit Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection)

Talent: Octavia Spencer is set to star in the drama, which is produced by Reese Witherspoon, created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife, Justified), and based on true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber. Sarah Koenig, creator of the podcast phenomenon Serial, is consulting.
What it’s about: Are You Sleeping provides a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: There’s a reason true-crime stories are so engrossing, and if this series can capture the source of that fascination, then it should thrive.


Little Voice

Sara Bareilles at arrivals for 72nd Annual Tony Awards - Arrivals, Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY June 10, 2018. Photo By: Eli Winston/Everett Collection
(Photo by Eli Winston/Everett Collection)

Talent: Tony-, Grammy-, and Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter/actress Sara Bareilles is writing the music (and could possibly star) in the J.J. Abrams-produced half-hour show, which received a straight-to-series order in June 2018.
What it’s about: Based on the singer’s first album, The Hollywood Reporter described the series as “a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York” that “explores the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: In addition to Bareilles and Abrams, the series will be run by Bareilles’ Waitress collaborator Jessie Nelson (who will also write and direct the first episode). With Waitress, Bareilles’ six Grammy nominees, and Abrams’ pedigree, this series has all the elements needed for success.


Peanuts STEM Series

Peanuts (Courtesy of DHX Media)
(Photo by Courtesy of DHX Media)

Talent: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Pigpen, Snoopy — you know, all your favorites from Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts gang — will be the focus of this new series.
What it’s about: The first series from Apple’s deal acquiring the rights to the famous characters will be a science- and math-oriented short featuring Snoopy as an astronaut. This and other new originals with be produced with DHX Media, a Canadian production company that owns a large portion of children’s content, also including Yo Gabba Gabba! and the Teletubbies.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: You can’t really go wrong with such beloved characters.


See

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Steven Knight during an An Evening with Steven Knight and Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders at Esquire Townhouse with Dior at Carlton House Terrace on October 12, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images)

Talent: Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight wrote the project, which will be directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games).
What it’s about: Reports called the series an “epic, world-building drama set in the future,” but most other details are being kept under wraps.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Much like the up-in-the-air plot, who even knows?


Hilde Lysiak Series

Talent: The Florida Project’s Brooklynn Prince is set to play the lead in the upcoming series, which is executive produced by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. Jim Sturgess will play her father.
What it’s about: Inspired by the real-life story of Hilde Lysiak, a 9-year-old investigative reporter who uncovered a murder in her Pennsylvania hometown and broke the news in a paper she started herself, the ten-episode mystery series “follows a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father left behind. While there, her dogged pursuit of the truth leads her to unearth a cold case that everyone in town, including her own father, tried hard to bury,” per Deadline.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Prince received plenty of great reviews for her film debut, but that’s no guarantee of success in a crowded TV landscape.


Damien Chazelle Project

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Director Damien Chazelle, winner of Best Director for 'La La Land' poses in the press room during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images))

Talent: La La Land director Damien Chazelle is writing and directing every episode of this straight-to-series drama.
What it’s about: No details about the series have been released, other than the fact that it’s the Oscar winner’s second foray into streaming TV (he’s also involved in Netflix’s musical drama The Eddy).
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Since there isn’t any information on what the show is even about, this isn’t a call that can be made quite yet. But Chazelle is batting two for two with his films Whiplash and La La Land, and his upcoming Neil Armstrong biopic First Man looks to be an awards contender.


Central Park

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Josh Gad attends the 'Murder On The Orient Express' World Premiere held at Royal Albert Hall on November 2, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images/for 21st Century Fox)
(Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images/for 21st Century Fox)

Talent: Apple has ordered two seasons of the series, from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, actor Josh Gad (pictured), and Nora Smith, which will feature voice talent from Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Titus Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Diggs, and Kathryn Hahn.
What it’s about: The animated musical comedy follows a family of caretakers who live and work in Central Park and end up saving the park — and basically the world.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Bob’s Burgers is Emmy-nominated, so that pedigree plus the voice talent involved means there’s certainly the potential for critical acclaim.


Little America

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 04: Writers Kumail Nanjiani (L) and Emily V. Gordon attend the 90th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Talent: Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the husband-and-wife team behind indie hit The Big Sick, are developing this series for Apple.
What it’s about: The anthology series is based on Epic Magazine’s series of the same name, described as “a small, collective portrait of America’s immigrants — and thereby a portrait of America itself.”
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Given the tender eye and charm they gave their feature film debut, the Oscar-nominated duo are probably a safe bet.


Swagger

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Professional basketball player Kevin Durant takes a question from a student during the KD Build It and They Will Ball court ceremony on July 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Kevin Durant Charity Foundation)
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Kevin Durant Charity Foundation)

Talent: NBA star Kevin Durant is producing the series along with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Television, and Reggie Rock Blythewood (Shots Fired, Notorious) is writing.
What it’s about: Based on the early life and career of Durant, Swagger will explore the world of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball and the lives of the players, their families, and coaches.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Like a jump ball, it’s up in the air. The series is still being developed.


Calls

Talent: This international series has no major Hollywood players attached, but comes from creator Timothée Hochet.
What it’s about: The first international co-production for Apple is an English adaptation of the French short-form series of the same name, which allows “audiences to experience short stories through real-life audio sources and minimal visuals,” per Deadline.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: This is a format the U.S. hasn’t really seen before, so there’s plenty of potential for a really innovative, groundbreaking series.


Home

Talent: Documentarian Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, pictured) will direct all 10 one-hour episodes of the first season.
What it’s about: Home offers viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary homes and delves into the minds of the people who built them.
Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: If Tyrnauer serves up the dishy stories behind those gated palaces, the series is sure to be more than simply gorgeous real estate porn.

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