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Apple is going to Tinseltown. After closing deals with some of the entertainment industry's top talent, the tech company is moving forward with its plans to challenge streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon for the streamers' dominance in original television programming. So when will the public get a glimpse at the shows that already have the internet buzzing? As it turns out, we may have a while to wait --until 2019 at least.
The New York Times is reporting that Apple is gearing up to release its original TV shows "somewhere between March 2019 and the summer of that year." Thankfully, those dates are not as far away as they could be. Making TV shows is one thing. Creating one or more successful TV shows will be another tough business for Apple. For example, after years of trying, Hulu really only just found success with its original programming in 2017 with the release of The Handmaid's Tale. In a model that has seen its share of success, Netflix has also been hitting subscribers with loads of original content, hoping to score a hit. Oppositely, Apple plans to take a more conservative approach with its number of scheduled shows.
In fact, Apple TV has only greenlighted nine original series for a full season order. Keep in mind; the average streaming series only boasts around 10 or more episodes, per season. That makes the investment a lot more doable than a network series commitment, which usually entails 20-plus episodes.
Along with Netflix and Hulu, another streaming service that Apple TV will compete with is Amazo, which has had its brushes with success. Albeit, Amazon's original series have yet to gain the water cooler status enjoyed by Netflix's Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and 13 Reasons Why. This sort of success is what makes Netflix the one to beat right now. We'll see if Apple TV has its eye on the prize.
While Netflix has focused on familiar concepts to anchor its original programming, Apple's strategy seems to be more about bringing some of the biggest names in entertainment aboard. Directors Steven Spielberg, Damien Chazelle, and M. Night Shyamalan all have deals with Apple. As do actresses Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Octavia Spencer, and Kristen Wiig, all of whom will work on original TV programs for Apple.
One of those shows even led to a bidding war, with Apple coming out on top. The project in question stars Witherspoon and Aniston. Getting Reese Witherspoon onto a TV program is still a coup despite her appearance on Big Little Lies, and Jennifer Aniston has also moved on from Friends to mostly movie projects, so that's still a big deal, as well. The project is expected to be set in New York and focus on early morning TV. If that scenario sounds slightly familiar, the 2010 romantic comedy starring Rachel McAdams featured a similar plot. Hopefully, Witherspoon and Aniston's effort will perform better than that movie did.
To put the money side of things in perspective, last summer Apple admitted it was was planning to utilize a budget of $1 billion for its original content. In comparison, Netflix is planning to spend $8 billion on all of its content in 2018. Only time will tell if the price tag pays off for Apple.