Everything We Learned About Apple TV's Upcoming Shows and More From the Star-Studded Event
By Stacy Lambe , Alex Ungerman
Michael Short/Getty Images
Apple pulled out all the stops for this one.
The tech giant held a product launch event in Cupertino, California, on Monday morning, where they went all in on announcements of their upcoming slate of offerings. Rather than hardware, content took center stage at the show, with Apple CEO Tim Cook bringing out a star-studded roster of presenters, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, J.J. Abrams, Kumail Nanjiani, Sara Bareilles and more to tease upcoming projects on Apple's long-fabled entry into the streaming wars, Apple TV+.
Here's a breakdown of what was covered at the event, from Apple's original programming to everything else that was announced.
Apple TV+ original programming
While Apple has over 20 original series in the works -- from M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller to the adaptation of Kathleen Barber’s Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer -- only a handful of the upcoming shows were previewed at the event.
Steven Spielberg is bringing back the '80s anthology series based on the magazine, Amazing Stories, which was the filmmaker’s first introduction to the sci-fi genre. “Thanks to the folks at Apple, my Amblin team and I are going to be resurrecting this 93-year-old brand and offer it to multi-generational audiences,” Spielberg said, adding, “We want to transport the audience with every episode,” which will be a completely original story that shares the same theme in similar fashion to Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone. “In these stories, we think the audience will find that one compelling narrative that will make the first season a single thematic experience for them and I hope for all of you, too.”
Little is known about this new docuseries from Apple, which briefly shows the title over a dancing ballerina.
While its star, Hailee Steinfeld, did not take the stage during the Apple Event, footage of her new period comedy about the world of Emily Dickinson was seen on screen. It’s described as Dickinson's coming-of-age story with Jane Krakowski and Anna Baryshnikov also in the cast.
For All Mankind
Another show that didn’t get a formal presentation was the upcoming drama from Ronald D. Moore about a world where the space race never ended. Footage showed Joel Kinnaman, who stars as astronaut Edward Baldwin, watching the 1969 moon landing recently depicted on the big screen in First Man by director Damian Chazelle, who also has an untitled drama coming to the platform. The series also stars Jodi Balfour, Michael Dorman and Sarah Jones.
Briefly seen in Apple's sizzle reel, Hala is a feature executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. It chronicles a Muslim teenager's coming-of-age jounrey as she struggles to identify between two cultures. The film stars Geraldine Viswanathan from Blockers with Gabriel Luna and Anna Chlumsky rounding out the cast.
Home Before Dark
Formerly known as Magic Hour, the upcoming mystery drama is inspired by the real-life story of Hilde Lysiak, a pre-teen who publishes a local newspaper. The Florida Project breakout Brooklynn Prince stars as Hilde with Jim Sturgess as her father.
Based on the true stories collected by Epic Magazine, Little America will “go beyond the headlines” to dive deeper into the lives of immigrants in America. The show is executive produced by Kumail Nanjiani, who said he wanted the anthology docuseries to focus on “everyday life.”
Executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles, the romantic comedy series is about the struggles of making it in the music industry. While onstage, Abrams revealed how he wanted to partner with Bareilles on the new series before she performed its titular theme song.
The Morning Show
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, the series takes audiences inside the lives of the people who help America wake up every morning. “We pull back the curtain on the power dynamics between men and women in the high stakes world of morning news shows,” Witherspoon said. While it’s unknown what roles she and Aniston are playing, Carell will co-star as Mitch Kessler, an anchor who is struggling to maintain relevance in an ever-evolving media landscape.
One of the few comedies coming to Apple TV+, the series is executive produced by It's Always Sunny's Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day. The show is set in a video game development studio with F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi and David Hornsby in the cast.
Perhaps one of the most ambitious new series previewed, See imagines a world where eyesight doesn’t exist. It’ll take place so far in the future, “it’s a debate if it even existed,” teased Alfre Woodard, who stars alongside Jason Momoa in what they promised to be a world unlike any ever experienced on TV.
Little is known about the plot of M. Night Shyamalan's new series, but it stars Rupert Grint and Lauren Ambrose as siblings as well as Black Mirror's Toby Kebell and Game of Thrones' Nell Tiger Free.
Truth Be Told
Another series to get a title change is Are You Sleeping, which is adapted from Barber's book. Now called Truth Be Told, the series stars Octavia Spencer, Lizzy Kaplan and Aaron Paul in a story that dives deep into America's obsession with true-crime podcasts. It's one of Witherspoon's many projects with the platform.
In addition to the shows seen at the Apple Event, stars and creators from other upcoming programs were in the audience, including Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul (Truth Be Told), Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery (Defending Jacob), Josh Gad (Central Park), Rashida Jones (On the Rocks from Sofia Coppola) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Hala). Also slated to hit the platform are new series starring Brie Larson and Jennifer Garner.
Oprah’s Book Club: Already known for the famous “O” stamps of approval on some of her favorite literature, Winfrey said she'll be transforming that into “the biggest, most vibrating most stimulating book club on the planet.” The media mogul plans to achieve that through live-streamed conversations between her and the authors of the books she highlights.
Toxic Labor: The first of two documentaries shared by Winfrey will focus on workplace harassment in what promises to be an extension of her recent work to advocate and highlight stories in a post-#MeToo era.
Untitled mental health project: Mental health is also an issue close to Winfrey’s heart, which will likely guide this multi-part series, though her announcement was light on any additional details.
What else is coming?
Apple TV+ (Launches in May 2019)
While the Apple original content isn’t arriving until the fall, the company’s revamped take on a TV service is just over a month away. The idea, as teased by Apple, is to offer consumers subscriptions to individual streaming services, such as CBS All Access, Showtime, HBO and Starz, through their Apple Channels feature.
Pricing for this was not announced but Apple highlighted that the app would be available on select TVs and devices beyond Apple-owned hardware, including Roku, Amazon and Sony, Samsung, LG and Vizio TVs.
Apple Card (Coming Summer 2019)
While it may look like the now-infamous “Magnises” card from Billy McFarland’s pre-Fyre Fest hustle, Apple promises its forthcoming titanium Mastercard credit card, in partnership with Goldman Sachs, will give consumers “an interest rate which is the lowest in the industry,” according to VP of internet services Jennifer Bailey, as well as no late or annual fees.
Additionally, the Apple Card will be linked with a customer’s iPhone wallet app, with advanced spending tracking and “daily cash” rewards. Apple stressed, however, that customers’ information would not be used for marketing.
Apple News+ (Launches in May 2019)
For $9.99 a month in the U.S. ($12.99 in Canada), Apple is offering subscribers hundreds of magazines’ current and past issues with a clean, glossy look. While the sleek design was at the top of their presentation, what most activated the crowd at the event was Cook’s promise that advertisers will be unable to track users in the Apple News+ service.
A month-long free trial of the service is coming in May.
Apple Arcade (Launches Fall 2019)
It wasn’t all work and no play at the tech event.
Apple revealed a gaming streaming service that will enable subscribers to play over 100 games exclusive to Apple devices, from creators like LEGO, Konami, Cartoon Network and SEGA. No price was given for the service, which will also allow subscribers to play downloaded games offline.
See below for more details on Apple's upcoming original content.