Apple unveiled its original content plans and streaming platform called Apple TV+ at a star-studded event on March 25, harnessing the power of Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey to introduce their projects.
Here’s a guide to what we know so far about all the shows, movies, and projects in development, and the A-list talent on board.
The Morning Show
Everyone’s ears perked up when Apple announced it was reuniting Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon for the first time since Friends, and this show appears to be the prize draw for the company’s anticipated new platform, marking Aniston’s return to television. The drama series, titled The Morning Show and executive-produced by Witherspoon and Aniston, is set in the world of morning TV. The duo will be joined by Steve Carell, who also makes his return to TV for the first time since The Office ended. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup, Bel Powley, Karen Pittman, Desean Terry, and Mark Duplass will also star. The show is based on Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning, and director Mimi Leder said it will examine the media workplace in the Time’s Up era.
Amazing Stories anthology
Steven Spielberg may think films made for streaming are just “TV movies,” but he doesn’t mind reviving his own series for Apple. His 1985 NBC anthology Amazing Stories delivered two seasons of standalone episodes delving into strange and fantastical tales, and the revival is being helmed by Lost and Once Upon a Time showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Edward Burns, Austin Stowell, and Kerry Bishe are confirmed to star in one epsiode, in which Burns plays a government agent. Spielberg is executive-producing the series.
Truth Be Told (formerly Are You Sleeping)
Apple is delving into America’s obsession with true crime in Are You Sleeping, based on Kathleen Barber’s novel of the same name and starring Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul. The series will examine the pursuit of justice in the public eye, with a cast that also includes Ron Cephas Jones, Elizabeth Perkins, Mekhi Phifer, and Lizzy Caplan. The project is executive-produced by Witherspoon as part of Apple’s overall deal with her Hello Sunshine production company.
Untitled Brie Larson CIA series
Brie Larson is swapping her Captain Marvel suit to star in and executive-produce a drama series for Apple, based on the memoir of CIA undercover agent Amaryllis Fox, Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA. The series will examine a young woman’s journey through the agency and her closest relationships.
As its first international series, Apple ordered a 10-episode English-language adaptation of the French short-form series Calls, created by Timothée Hochet. The French version uses innovative storytelling techniques with audio sources and minimal visuals.
An animated musical series about a family of caretakers who live in Central Park and end up saving the world? That’s the premise of the new show from Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, and Nora Smith. Gad will reunite with his Frozen costar Kristen Bell in a voice cast that also includes Kathryn Hahn, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Titus Burgess, and Hamilton alums Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs.
Untitled Damien Chazelle series
Apple has recruited Damien Chazelle and his La La Land producing team of Jordan Horowitz and Fred Berger for a one-hour drama series. No other details are known as of now, but Chazelle will write, direct, and executive-produce the entire series.
Chris Evans is hanging up his Captain America shield to star in a new limited drama series for Apple. Evans will also executive-produce Defending Jacob, which is based on William Landay’s best-selling novel of the same name and centers on a lawyer, Andy Barber, whose son is arrested for stabbing a classmate, leading his father to take drastic measures.
Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery will play Barber’s wife Laurie, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) will direct the series.
Nothing is really known about this mysterious project starring Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman but she was photographed in the inaugural Apple TV+ content creators’ class photo at the Mar. 25 event, behind Leslie Odom Jr. (Central Park). The title could suggest a reality series or even a talk show, given Raisman’s memoir about her own inspiring journey. Stay tuned for more details…
The Elephant Queen
This documentary festival hit follows the the journey of elephant matriarch Athena, who does everything in her power to protect her family when they’re foced to leave their watering hole. The film is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor and directed by award-winning filmmakers Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble.
Untitled Ewan McGregor Project
Nothing is known about Ewan McGregor‘s involvement with Apple but he was mysteriously featured in the inaugural Apple TV+ content creators’ class photo at the Mar. 25 event, standing between Jane Krakowski (Dickinson) and Joel Kinnaman (For All Mankind) and behind Rob McElhenney (Mystic Quest) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Hala). Could he be shepherding another series after his Golden Globe-winning turn as twins in FX’s third season of Fargo? Or maybe he’ll be developing movies? Stay tuned for more…
For All Mankind
Apple made a splash in January with its first Sundance acquisition, snapping up Minhal Baig’s directorial debut Hala, which was executive-produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. Starring Blockers breakout Geraldine Viswanathan, the film follows a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager navigating her sexual awakening and contemplating her cultural identity in her senior year of high school.
Home Before Dark
The Florida Project’s Brooklynn Prince will star opposite Jim Sturgess in this mystery series based on the real-life story of 11-year-old Hilde Lysiak. It follows a young girl who uncovers a cold case that everyone in her small town, her father included, is trying to keep buried. Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is set to direct and executive-produce.
The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani and 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.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends
Speaking of J.J. Abrams, he’ll be reuniting with his Alias star Jennifer Garner for My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, a one-hour drama series based on Amy Silverstein’s 2017 memoir of the same name. The show will follow a group of women who surround their friend waiting for a heart transplant, and will explore the power of friendship and the strength of human spirit.
Apple landed the rights to adapt writer Nathaniel Rich’s New York Times Magazine series “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change,” and his upcoming book Losing Earth. Rich’s articles examine a group of American scientists, activists, and politicians who attempted to stop climate change in the 1980s, before it was too late; his writing also raises urgent questions about the planet’s future.
The master of suspenseful twists, M. Night Shyamalan returns to TV with a psychological thriller series starring Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Rupert Grint, and Nell Tiger Free. Little is known about the series, but Shyamalan will direct the first episode.
On the Rocks
Apple is adapting Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel Pachinko with Soo Hugh, who will write and executive-produce the international drama series based on four generations of a Korean immigrant family. The series will examine the saga of a family’s journey between Korea, Japan, and America, and will tell the story in Korean, Japanese, and English.
The Peanuts gang is going to space as Astronaut Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of Charles M. Schulz’s beloved characters will feature in new content being produced for Apple meant to inspire a new generation to be passionate about space exploration.
Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard will lead See, an epic-scale sci-fi drama series penned by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and directed by Francis Lawrence (Red Sparrow, The Hunger Games). Momoa will portray Baba Voss, a character described as a warrior, leader, and guardian, while Woodard will play Paris, a priestess and advisor.
Apple ordered a series from Kevin Durant titled Swagger, which is inspired by the NBA superstar’s younger years. It will explore the lives of the players, coaches, and families of the world of Amateur Athletic Union basketball, and the challenges and corruption they tackle as they attempt to achieve their dreams. Reggie Rock Bythewood penned the series and will serve as showrunner, while Brian Grazer serves as one of the executive producers.
Time Bandits series
Oprah Winfrey partnership
One docuseries is called Toxic Labor, and will focus on the impact of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Another untitled series is centered on mental health and removing the stigma often attached to issues such as depression and anxiety.
Reese Witherspoon/Hello Sunshine projects
Along with The Morning Show, Reese Witherspoon and her production company are also producing Octavia Spencer’s Truth Be Told and an untitled comedy series inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s short-story collection If You Think It, I’ll Say It.
Deals with Jason Katims and Kerry Ehrin
Apple has locked in Friday Night Lights and Parenthood producer Jason Katims for an overall multiyear deal to create new content for the tech giant, after his deal with Universal Television comes to an end this year.
Also locked in is Kerry Ehrin, the co-creator of Bates Motel who took over from Jay Carson as the showrunner and writer on Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s morning TV show.
Shantaram; Foundation; You Think It, I'll Say It
Apple is also developing series adaptations of the following best-selling books:
Shantaram — Based on Gregory David Roberts’ novel, the international series will follow Lin, a man who travels to Mumbai to escape Australian prison, finding a new life in the underworld of the city.
Foundation — Based on Isaac Asimov’s novels of the same name, the series will examine an interstellar saga of humans living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.
You Think It, I’ll Say It — Kristen Wiig was initially attached to star in this adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld’s book, but had to drop out due to conflicts with Wonder Woman 1984. No replacement has been announced yet. Hello Sunshine is producing the series.
Other Apple projects
Apple also has a few other projects in development:
Home — A docuseries on the world’s most lavish homes, from Four M Studios (which, like EW, is owned by Meredith Corporation).
Sesame Workshops — Apple will develop children’s programming that will not include Sesame Street, but will include original live-action, animated, and a new puppet series.
Wolfwalkers — An animated film about a young apprentice hunter, Robyn, who travels to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack of wolves, seen as demonic and evil creatures in an era ruled by superstition and magic. But Robyn soon discovers the secret world of Wolfwalkers.