By Piya Sinha-Roy
March 25, 2019 at 08:43 AM EDT
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This post has been updated with all the details from Apple’s big unveiling.

At the start of Monday’s Apple event in Cupertino, Tim Cook hit the stage to say that “today is going to be a very different kind of event.”

And he was right. Apple unveiled its first push into original content as part of a broad presentation shifting focus from products to the tech giant’s services, with the help of Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and a cadre of other Hollywood talent.

Aniston, Witherspoon and Steve Carell helped to introduce The Morning Show, the name of the previously untitled morning TV show drama that will explore the world of morning TV news. Witherspoon said it’ll be a “high-velocity thrill ride in which we pose questions without easy answers and shine a light on the fault lines in our society at this very complicated cultural moment.”

Later, Oprah Winfrey brought her star power to announce more details of her multi-year partnership with Apple, including two new documentary series: Toxic Labor will focus on the impact of harassment in the workplace, while an untitled series on mental health will spotlight issues such as depression, anxiety and trauma and hopes to “replace stigma with wisdom, compassion and honesty.”

Winfrey said that in “daunting challenges of our time…we all crave connection, we search for common ground… We also need to listen, be open and harness our hopes, dreams and heal our divisions. That’s why I’ve joined forces with Apple.”

Apple TV+ will be a streaming service launching in fall this year, with subscription pricing details to be revealed down the line.

Here are the other new shows teased at Apple’s Monday event:

Amazing Stories – Apple brought out none other that Spielberg to introduce the first of its original slate, a reboot of his 1985 series Amazing Stories. Spielberg, who emerged to a raucous applause, said “we want to transport the audience with every episode” and called the first season “a single thematic experience.” The first episode features Edward Burns as a World War II pilot.

See – Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard revealed some details of the futuristic world of See, a new fantasy epic series that will explore an environment without sight. “Try to think about the world this way: heard, touched, smelled, sensed. Imagine every human experience available to you — love, joy, discovery, despair and home — imagine it was all experienced this way… without seeing,” Momoa teased. See takes place centuries after a virus wiped out most of Earth’s inhabitants and left the only survivors blind. As new generations are born blind, they construct a new world on Earth that is “designed and built to be experienced without sight.” Momoa plays a warrior leader named Baba Voss, while Woodard will play the character of Paris, a priestess and advisor to Voss. The series is penned by Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence.

“In this world, we have our evil queens, brave heroes and thrilling adventure, but beyond the adventure, See will ask questions you may have already started asking yourselves…how much of my experience of the world is visual? Without sight, will it change who I am?” Woodard said.

Little America – Kumail Nanjiani had the audience laughing as he talked about his experience of moving to the United States from Karachi, Pakistan: “I learned from Hollywood movies and American TV shows, so when I was moving to America at the age of 18, I was excited about the idea of being dwarfed by skyscrapers… then I landed in Iowa, and I thought this is very different from the America in the movies,” he quipped.

Nanjiani and his Big Sick co-writer and wife Emily V. Gordon are bringing the heartwarming stories of immigrants in America to the screen in this anthology series, which they’re writing with Lee Eisenberg. The series is inspired by Epic Magazine’s collection of true stories exploring the immigrant experience, including one of a 12-year-old boy whose parents ran a motel and were deported, so the boy ran the motel for his parents while trying to figure out how to help them return.
Nanjiani and his Big Sick co-writer and wife Emily V. Gordon are bringing the heartwarming stories of immigrants in America to the screen in this anthology series, which they’re writing with Lee Eisenberg. The series is inspired by Epic Magazine’s collection of true stories exploring the immigrant experience, including one of a 12-year-old boy whose parents ran a motel and were deported, so the boy ran the motel for his parents while trying to figure out how to help them return.
Nanjiani and his Big Sick co-writer and wife Emily V. Gordon are bringing the heartwarming stories of immigrants in America to the screen in this anthology series, which they’re writing with Lee Eisenberg. The series is inspired by Epic Magazine’s collection of true stories exploring the immigrant experience, including one of a 12-year-old boy whose parents ran a motel and were deported, so the boy ran the motel for his parents while trying to figure out how to help them return.

Little Voice – J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles shared details of their new series Little Voice, centered on the life of a “promising, flawed young woman, a musician living in New York, in and around a vibrant community of young, hopeful artists, family and friends, soulmates and bandmates, trying to find herself and her own true voice,” according to the singer.

Abrams said the series would “talk about that terrifying, thrilling, absurdly wonderful, awful and embarrassing time when as a young person, you venture out in the world for the first time,” adding that the series was for “anyone who has ever given everything they have to go after a dream.”

Sesame Workshops – Big Bird turned up to help announce a new pre-school show called Helpsters, centered on getting kids into coding.

A new trailer gave the first look at a slew of Apple’s new shows, including first footage of a brunette Witherspoon alongside Aniston in The Morning Show; Momoa and Woodard in warrior outfits in See; Joel Kinnaman in Ron Moore’s 1960s space-race drama For All Mankind; Brooklynn Prince in Hilde Lysiak’s Home Before Dark; Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul in Truth be Told; Spielberg’s Amazing Stories; Sundance hit Hala; and Rob McEhlenney and Charlie Day’s Mythic Quest, which is set in the world of video game development.

Apple’s content chiefs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg introduced the new service as Apple TV+, touting that “great stories can change the world” and “connect us.”

“We love TV,” Cook said excitedly, as they announced updates to the Apple TV app that curates most of your favorite shows and movies in one place. The new Apple TV Channels service will allow users to just pay for what they watch, and includes access to streaming platforms such as HBO, Showtime, CBS and Amazon Video. The new Apple TV app will be newly available on the Mac and on smart TVs such as Sony, Samsung and Amazon’s Fire TV.

Apple announced a slew of new services, such as Apple News+, a new subscription plan for its news service that will include more than 300 magazines, including EW, for a monthly subscription of $9.99. The tech giant also announced a new credit card service called Apple Card, designed to be used with ApplePay and available worldwide, with daily cash back from usage. Apple Arcade will be new to the app store, focusing on new video games exclusive to Apple and accessible with a monthly subscription.

EARLIER: Two years after announcing it was entering the saturated original content market, Apple Inc. is finally expected to lift the veil on its tightly guarded plans to release original series and movies at its live event on Monday. Ahead of the announcement — beginning at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET — here’s what is expected to be revealed and what EW has learned about the talent and content in development.

The Content: Apple has more than 30 series and films in development for its originals slate, including the anticipated Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon reunion in the untitled morning TV show drama that’ll also star Steve Carell and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Talent such as Oprah Winfrey, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, Damien Chazelle and Jason Momoa have also come on board to create or star in buzzy new projects for the tech giant. (You can see the full list here.)

The Platform: Apple has 1.4 billion active installed devices as of January 2019, and it is highly likely that the tech giant will release its original content on a streaming platform that would be accessible on multiple Apple devices, from iPhones to Apple TV.

Subscription Model: Given the lucrative market for video streaming services, it’s expected that the original series and movies will be accessible via a monthly subscription plan, a la Netflix and Hulu. In order to entice people, Apple could offer up the first episode of its anticipated programming for free. It is not known yet if the movies that Apple has acquired or is making as part of its A24 partnership will have a theatrical release component, like Amazon does with its three-month theatrical window before movies come to Amazon Prime Video, or if it’ll debut the movies exclusively on its own platform.

The New York Times reported that Apple will be offering an expansive news and entertainment subscription services that could include access to newspapers, magazines, music, and original video content. And Apple has its Apple Music subscription service that has 50 million subscribers.

Launch Date: The best indication for a launch date of Apple’s original content is from Mimi Leder, who told EW that it’ll be “sometime in the summer of 2019.” Leder is directing a few episodes of the Aniston-Witherspoon morning show drama. This will mean that Apple shows won’t be eligible for this year’s Emmy Awards (for which shows must have aired by May 31), but it does make them eligible for the 2020 Golden Globes, for which the airdate cut-off is Dec. 31.

The Impact: When Apple enters any space, the world watches. With viewership habits changing significantly in the age of Peak TV and on-demand content, every major network has had to get on board with the growing audience in the streaming market and Apple’s entry into the market is buzzy, given its in-built consumer base and more than a billion devices in the world. But it’s also yet another new platform attempting to lure subscribers. Already, Netflix’s relationship with Apple is fraying — as reported by the Times — and Netflix will not be part of a bundle that Apple will offer with its subscription plan that’ll include up-selling access to HBO Go and CBS All Access.

Stay tuned here as EW covers live updates from Apple’s Cupertino event. You can livestream the event at Apple’s website.

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