Apple is looking to make a splash as it jumps into the original content arms race, nearing a deal with iconic director Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and NBCUniversal to reboot the 1980s sci-fci series “Amazing Stories.”
The move marks a strategic coup for Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, the former Sony execs hired by Apple earlier this year to build its stable of original programming.
“It’s wonderful to be reunited with our colleagues Zack and Jamie in their new capacity at Apple,” said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment, in a statement. “We love being at the forefront of Apple’s investment in scripted programming, and can’t think of a better property than Spielberg’s beloved “Amazing Stories” franchise with the genius of Bryan Fuller at the helm and more exciting creative partnerships to come.”
The original “Amazing Stories,” which was created and produced by Spielberg, ran from 1985-1987 on NBC. It failed to catch on with audiences, but did score five Emmys — including a directing win for Spielberg for “The Mission,” starring a young Kevin Costner as a World War II gunner pilot.
“Hannibal” creator Bryan Fuller is writing the new “Amazing Stories,” and will be joined by Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey as executive producers on the series.
For Apple, the tech heavyweight is set to drop $1 billion on content in the year ahead, aiming to enter a competitive space dominated by streaming giants like Netflix, HBO, and Hulu. Apple is looking to produce about 10 big-budget original shows in the next year.
6 Tech Giants Shaking Up News, From Jeff Bezos to Laurene Powell Jobs (Photos)
Tech leaders are increasingly intertwined with the news business. While some want to support old properties, one set out to destroy a new one. Here they are.
Jeff Bezos – Washington Post
The Amazon founder purchased the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million in cash. President Trump has called the paper the “Amazon Washington Post.”
The Facebook co-founder purchased The New Republic in 2012, becoming executive chairman and publisher. However, he sold the venerable political magazine to Win McCormack in 2016, saying he "underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate."
The eBay founder is a well-known philanthropist who created First Look Media, a journalism venture behind The Intercept. Inspired by Edward Snowden's leaks. Omidyar teamed up with journalists Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras to launch the website “dedicated to the kind of reporting those disclosures required: fearless, adversarial journalism.”
The PayPal co-founder doesn’t own a news organization, but he makes this list because he essentially ended one -- Gawker -- proving once again the power of an angry billionaire. Thiel secretly bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s sex-tape lawsuit against Gawker Media because he was upset that the website once outed him as gay. Hogan won the defamation lawsuit against the site that sent its parent company into bankruptcy, and Gawker.com is no longer operating.
OK, so Facebook isn’t technically a news organization… yet. However, the company is preparing to launch its much-anticipated lineup of original content later this summer, and there are also signs that it's on the verge of becoming an even bigger media platform.
Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships at Facebook, confirmed last week it’s developing a subscription service for publishers willing to post articles directly to Facebook Instant Articles, rather than their native websites.