Apple lands a new TV series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, giving it a two-season order. Apple has long been involved in the entertainment industry from the outside. People buy, rent, and stream their music, movies and TV episodes through iTunes, which has been a major profit center for Apple for going on 15 years. Before that, the advent of the iPod changed the business model of the music industry forever, and the late Apple founder Steve Jobs not only co-founded Pixar Animation Studios but was, at the time of his death in 2011, the largest single shareholder in Disney.
In the meantime, the company has long been making noise about producing its own content on the movie and TV side. A lot of its competitors in the technology industry, led by Amazon, have been making incursions into Hollywood in recent years, and Apple, with cash on hand in the hundreds of billions, can certainly afford to make a run at becoming a huge Hollywood player, and reports earlier this year said the company was putting $1 billion into original content. Now, we have word of its first major project.
Apple has won a bidding war to produce a new TV series about morning television, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, according to THR. The show has a two-season, 20-episode order, with the two stars producing along with the Media Res company, with House of Cards veteran Jay Carson serving as showrunner.
The series is based at least in part on Top of the Morning, a 2013 nonfiction book by CNN host Brian Stelter about the battle in the early 2010s between The Today Show and Good Morning America. It’s unclear how exactly Apple will distribute the series, whether it will use iTunes, Apple Music, or some new distribution channel.
This certainly sounds like a huge step for Apple’s content ambitions, joining Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories anthology series as one of its first major projects. Aniston and Witherspoon are major stars, and this marks Aniston’s first regular role on a TV series since Friends went off the air in 2004. Witherspoon, Friends fans will remember, played Aniston’s sister in one Friends episode.
Sure, Apple’s business model for its content ambitions remains untested and unclear, but star power clearly goes a long way, and this news makes it appear that Apple has arrived in a big way as a Hollywood studio.
Apple has not announced a time frame for release for the new series, but stay tuned to Screen Rant for more information.