Earlier this year, Apple unveiled a few different services, including Apple Arcade and the Apple Card. But one of the biggest is Apple TV+, which will carry both TV series and films from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, with some huge production costs tied to it all.
But while Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1, a new report aims to shed some light on the path to get there, and how it may have been pretty bumpy along the way. So much so, in fact, that one of the biggest properties for the fledgling streaming service, Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Amazing Stories, had to miss the service’s launch over “creative differences”.
The report from The Hollywood Reporter says there were several “false starts” for Apple TV+ during its inception period, and, even after that, “offscreen drama” led to further delays for some properties. That includes the aforementioned anthology series Amazing Stories, which saw two of its lead creatives (Bryan Fuller and Hart Hanson) depart the series and cause a delay in its launch:
The corporate meddling has led to some creative differences. During early development of Amazing Stories, Fuller and Hanson received pushback from both Apple and studio Universal Television over what sources describe as their vision for an edgy, high-concept anthology. (One story would have followed a crazy cat lady murdered by her feline friends.) Though the show was meant to be part of Apple’s launch slate, the departure of the producers delayed the project. Apple, interested in a more aspirational version of the show, opted to bring on Once Upon a Time duo Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
This has been a learning curve for Apple CEO Tim Cook, but it sounds like public interest in Apple TV+ is still pretty high, all things considered:
According to dozens of interviews across the industry, Apple CEO Tim Cook is experiencing his own learning curve despite hiring respected showbiz execs. But while there have been some missteps (in addition to Carson, Steven Spielberg anthology Amazing Stories parted ways with showrunners Bryan Fuller and Hart Hanson, and sources say the Jason Momoa sci-fi epic See will soon make a change at the top), the interest surrounding Apple’s Hollywood debut remains high.
Apple is not afraid to be spending money on the new service. It was previously reported that the upcoming series See, starring Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Game of Thrones), costs $15 million per episode. It’s a similar case for Apple TV+’s flagship series, The Morning Show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, which reportedly costs $300 million for two seasons.
Both Aniston and Witherspoon reportedly negotiated for $2 million per episode.
And this won’t be the last time that Apple throws money at these original shows or films. We’ve previously reported that Apple’s first in-house production, Masters of the Air, is set to be the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Band of Brothers and The Pacific, which originally aired on HBO years ago. Apple will have to spend quite a bit of money match the bombastic production of those two limited series.
It’s worth noting here that “creative differences” are not particularly uncommon for productions. What’s more, Bryan Fuller is not a stranger to departing projects while in development. Fuller left Star Trek: Discovery early on in its creation, and he also departed the series American Gods as well.
Still, Fuller is a heavyweight in terms of creating content, especially with well-received shows like Pushing Daisies and Hannibal, and he had been pushing to get a revamped Amazing Stories off the ground for years. It was certainly unfortunate to hear that he was no longer running the anthology series for Apple TV+.
The real shame is that we have to wait even longer to see whatever the new Amazing Stories has to offer, especially with Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis now leading that charge.
Also, looking ahead, many of Apple TV+’s shows have also been renewed even before they’ve aired. The report states that Dickinson starring Hailee Steinfeld has also been renewed for a second season, and See has also been renewed for a second season. Little America and Before Dark should also get second seasons.
Apple TV+ will launch on November 1, with a monthly subscription cost of $4.99.