Apple’s billion-dollar bet on hollywood is the opposite of edgy; company wants content with broad appeal

“Days before Apple Inc. planned to celebrate the release of its first TV show last spring at a Hollywood hotel, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told his deputies the fun had to wait,” Lucas Shaw reports for Bloomberg Businessweek. “Foul language and references to vaginal hygiene had to be cut from some episodes of Carpool Karaoke, a show featuring celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Blake Shelton, and Chelsea Handler cracking jokes while driving around Los Angeles.”

“With $262 billion in cash and securities in its coffers, Apple has the money to make as much TV as anyone, but some in Hollywood are beginning to wonder whether it has a clear strategy. The most valuable company in the world, Apple is under the constant glare of regulators, reporters, and competitors,” Shaw reports. “Furthermore, the people who use the hundreds of millions of Apple devices have pretty mainstream views about the brand’s appeal. Macs, iPhones, and iPads are also often in the hands of children — a group unsuited for much of the edgy programming that’s fueled the new golden age of television.”

“The company has had many fits and starts in Hollywood over the past two years, with as many as four different executives claiming to be responsible for its big move into Tinseltown. To lead the latest charge, Apple hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, former heads of Sony Corp.’s TV studio,” Shaw reports. “Erlicht and Van Amburg have agreed to remake Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories and are in the bidding for another show, about morning TV show hosts played by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. Apple wants to have a small slate of shows ready for release in 2019.”

“However, Apple isn’t interested in the types of shows that become hits on HBO or Netflix, like Game of Thrones — at least not yet,” Shaw reports. “The company plans to release the first few projects to everyone with an Apple device, potentially via its TV app, and top executives don’t want kids catching a stray nipple. Every show must be suitable for an Apple Store. Instead of the nudity, raw language, and violence that have become staples of many TV shows on cable or streaming services, Apple wants comedies and emotional dramas with broad appeal, such as the NBC hit This Is Us, and family shows like Amazing Stories. People pitching edgier fare, such as an eight-part program produced by Gravity filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón and starring Casey Affleck, have been told as much.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s nothing wrong with quality content with broad appeal. The edgier stuff is still available on Apple TV, just not under the Apple brand. Too much of it is insipid vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity anyway.

Unlike the Planet of the Apps fiasco, we’re actually looking forward to the Amazing Stories reboot.

Also of note, something we’ve long criticized looks to have been corrected with Erlicht and Van Amburg taking over from the obviously confused Cue as Shaw reports that Apple’s new shows “will no longer be placed on Apple Music, which will limit its focus to music-related video.” That’s exactly how it should have been since the beginning.

Apple inks deal with Spielberg’s Amblin for ‘Amazing Stories’ reboot – October 10, 2017
Apple is building a world class TV content team – October 9, 2017
Former Channel 4 content chief Jay Hunt joining Apple – October 9, 2017
Apple recruits four veteran execs to join growing TV unit – September 6, 2017
Apple, Amazon join race for James Bond franchise rights – September 6, 2017
Apple eyes iconic studio as base for Hollywood production push; vying with Netflix for high-profile Jennifer Aniston drama – September 1, 2017
The magic and misdirection of Apple’s streaming strategy – August 18, 2017
Apple wants to spend $1 billion on 10 original TV shows over the next year – August 16, 2017
Former WGN America president Matt Cherniss joins Apple in latest TV push – August 15, 2017
Apple poaches Sony TV executives to lead major push into original content – June 16, 2017
Apple hires Amazon’s Fire TV head to run Apple TV business – February 8, 2017
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016


  1. This is a potential breath of fresh air, showing that you can be funny, creative, entertaining and emotional without resorting to vulgarity, extreme violence or nudity. Now they just have to prove that they really can do it!

  2. There’s nothing wrong with broad appeal, but… I seem to recall a quote by someone (Lincoln?) that says something to the effect that trying to please everyone usually means you end up pleasing no one.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.