Apple is in discussions to move its growing original video content division to the legendary Culver Studios while battling with Netflix over the rights to a brand new high-profile original drama series starring actresses Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
The Financial Times reported Friday:
Among the projects Apple is vying for is a high-profile drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, set on a morning TV chat show.
The company is bidding against the likes of Netflix for rights to the drama, according to people familiar with the discussions, in a sign that Apple is considering premium productions akin to those found on HBO, the TV network.
The Wall Street Journal recently said that the Cupertino technology giant has set aside a $1 billion budget to procure and produce as many as ten television shows over the next year (versus Netflix’s $7 billion war chest allocated for show rights during the same period).
It also hired longtime Sony Pictures Television veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who oversaw the production of hit shows including “Breaking Bad” and “The Crown.”
“They woke up and said, ‘Let’s really do this’,” said one Hollywood agent. “It’s a lot different to a year or two ago.”
As for the Culver Studios move, three people familiar with the talks said the colonial-style mansion would give Apple room to expand as it hires top Hollywood talent.
The studio, close to the Sony Pictures studio lot in Culver City, as well as Apple-owned Beats, was built by silent movie pioneer Thomas Ince. Its former owners, among others, were RKO, Howard Hughes and Cecil B DeMille.
The place has been central to Hollywood moviemaking for close to a century: this is where iconic flicks from “Gone With The Wind” to “Citizen Kane” to “The Matrix” were shot.
However, Apple is mainly looking for office space, said the report.