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By Jason Snell for Macworld
It was inevitable that Apple would begin signing big-name talent and major franchises to its forthcoming push into original video. Inevitable from the moment it hired two respected television industry executives, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.
Under Eddy Cue, Apple was able to experiment with shows like “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke”. But Van Amburg and Erlicht spent years at Sony developing prestige, big-budget scripted programming—and they were not hired at Apple to do anything else. The only question was which big name would be the first to sign a big-money deal to develop programming specifically for Apple.
Now we have our answer: it’s Steven Spielberg, who (as reported by the Wall Street Journal) is reviving his ’80s anthology series “Amazing Stories” for Apple. Spielberg is expected to be an executive producer (and American Gods and Star Trek Discovery creator Bryan Fuller is attached as showrunner), and the show will be produced for Apple by his Amblin Television and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. The Journal reports that the deal is for 10 episodes at a budget of more than $5 million per episode.
This is just the first of what’s sure to be a hail of announcements this fall and winter. This $50 million investment is a drop in the bucket. The Journal earlier reported that Apple’s expected to have $1 billion to spend on original content this year. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $7 billion Netflix is expected to spend next year, but a billion dollars buys an awful lot of programming.