Apple Working on ‘Swagger’ TV Show Based on NBA Star Kevin Durant

Apple is developing a new drama series that's based on the early life and career of NBA star Kevin Durant, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, reports Variety.

The show, called "Swagger," was inspired by Durant's experiences as a youth playing basketball. It will highlight the world of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball, taking a look into the lives of players, their families, and coaches.


Imagine Television, led by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, will produce alongside Kevin Durant's Thirty Five Media. Both Durant and Grazer will serve as executive producers, while Reggie Rock Bythewood will write and direct. Bythewood is known for his work on "Notorious," a movie that shared the story of Notorious B.I.G., and television series "Shots Fired."

Apple now has at least 10 television shows in the early stages of development, including an untitled morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, an "Amazing Stories" reboot from Steven Spielberg, an untitled space drama from Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore, a series written by "La La Land" creator Damien Chazelle, a Kristen Wiig comedy series, See, an epic world-building drama, Home, a docuseries focusing on incredible homes, and "Little America," an anthology series from "The Big Sick" creators Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.

More details about each of Apple's television projects can be found in the original content section of our Apple TV roundup.

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Apple Picks Up ‘Little America’ TV Show Written by The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon

Apple has picked up a new TV show called "Little America," a half-hour anthology series written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the duo behind popular movie "The Big Sick," and Lee Eisenberg, who produced comedy series "SMILF" and will serve as showrunner.

According to Deadline, "Little America" is based on a series of true stories featured in Epic Magazine that paint a portrait of America's immigrants. From the magazine description:


Everyone here came from somewhere else. Even Native Americans crossed the Bering Strait at some point. This is the basic American idea -- an identity open to all -- but it can be easy to forget from inside. And that's when politics can turn ugly, as it has recently, with our political narrative becoming a story of blame and fear. "Little America" is meant to counter that narrative with a fuller portrait of our most recent arrivals. Here we present just a few stories.

You'll meet a woman who kissed a car for 50 hours. A man who escaped communism via zip-line. A Hindu Mayor of a small Kansas town. These stories are a small, collective portrait of America's immigrants. And thereby a portrait of America itself.
The show will reportedly look at "the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring, and unexpected lives of immigrants in America." Nanjiani and Gordon will executive produce, alongside Alan Yang, "Master of None" co-creator, and Eisenberg.

"The Big Sick," written by Nanjiani and Gordon, won multiple award nominations and was the highest-grossing indie movie of 2017. Nanjiani is also known for his work on "Silicon Valley."

"Little America," alongside Apple's "Are You Sleeping" drama starring Octavia Spencer, are two projects that are being developed for straight-to-series consideration.

Apple has already inked deals for several other shows that will go straight to series, such as an untitled morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, an "Amazing Stories" reboot from Steven Spielberg, an untitled space drama from Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore, a series written by "La La Land" creator Damien Chazelle, a Kristen Wiig comedy series, See, an epic world-building drama, and Home, a docuseries focusing on incredible homes.

Apple now has at least nine television shows in the works, and details about each one can be found in the original content section of our Apple TV roundup.

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Apple Orders New TV Series From ‘La La Land’ Creator Damien Chazelle

Apple this week signed a straight-to-series order for a drama series from "La La Land" creator Damien Chazelle, according to reports from Variety and The New York Times.

Little is known about the series at this time, but Chazelle plans to write and direct each episode of the series, as well as executive produce. Apple did not divulge information about the subject of the series, where it will take place, or how many episodes Chazelle will make.


Chazelle is best known for writing and directing "La La Land," which starred Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. "La La Land" won six Academy Awards, including Best Director, and seven Golden Globe awards. In addition to "La La Land," Chazelle wrote and directed "Whiplash," an award winning film starring Miles Teller.

The original TV series for Apple will be Chazelle's second television-related project, as he also recently inked a deal with Netflix to create "The Eddy," a musical series set in Paris.

Apple has multiple other original TV shows in the works under the leadership of former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, including a revival of 1985 Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories," an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica," an untitled "morning show drama" starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, "Are You Sleeping," a psychological thriller starring Octavia Spencer that focuses on a podcast that reopens a murder case, "Home," a docuseries about amazing houses, and "See," a futuristic drama series.

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Apple to Lease New Office Building in Culver City

Apple is planning to lease a four-story 128,000 square-foot office building in Culver City, reports Los Angeles real estate news site The Real Deal.

The building, located at 8777 Washington Boulevard, was originally going to be leased by HBO, but HBO backed out. The location includes office space and 4,500 square feet of ground-level retail.

Rendering of the building Apple will lease, via The Real Deal

Culver City mayor Thomas Small confirmed Apple's plans in a statement to Variety. "We were very excited about HBO," he said. "If anything, we're more excited about Apple."

In addition to the new office building in Culver City, Apple is also said to be leasing an 85,000 square-foot campus at 5500 Jefferson Boulevard located near Culver City.

Apple's Beats subsidiary is already located in Culver City, and it's likely Apple will use the new office space for its video content team and original content efforts.

Apple originally planned to lease space at The Culver Studios, but that space ultimately went to Amazon.


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Apple Paying Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston $1.25M Per Episode for Upcoming Morning Show Drama

Apple is paying Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston "upward of $1.25 million" a piece for each episode of their upcoming morning talk show drama series, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The show, which is based on Brian Stelter's non-fiction book "Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV" explores the drama-filled lives of the men and women who star on morning talk shows.


Witherspoon and Aniston's $1.25 million salary per episode includes fees for executive producing and points on the show's backend, as both are serving as executive producers on the series. Apple has already ordered 20 episodes of the show, split into two seasons.

Witherspoon's high salary on Apple's new television show drove up the price of her salary on the second season of HBO's "Little Big Lies," for which she will receive $1 million per episode.

One Hollywood agent told The Hollywood Reporter that if HBO matches Apple's price, "it inflates the whole ecosystem of TV actor salaries." HBO programming president Casey Bloys wasn't as concerned, though.
"It's not a shock to anybody that having a second season of an ongoing series is easier to have with those deals in place," HBO programming president Casey Bloys tells THR. "Every outlet has to make their own decisions about economics that make sense for them. I'm not going to shake my fist and say, 'Darn it, Apple!' If that's what made sense for them for that show, God bless."
In addition to the morning show drama, Apple is working on two other TV shows with Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine production company with Witherspoon serving a executive producer. One is "Are You Sleeping," a psychological thriller starring Octavia Spencer, while the other is an untitled comedy series starring Kristen Wiig.

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Apple Orders Comedy Series Starring Kristen Wiig

Apple has placed an order for a 10-episode half-hour comedy show starring Kristen Wiig, reports Variety. The show is said to be based on the upcoming "You Think It, I'll Say It" short story collection by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Curtis Sittenfeld's book features 10 stories that "upend assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided," according to its description on Amazon. It was created by Colleen McGuinness, who worked on "30 Rock," "Mercy," and "About a Boy."

Image via Esquire

The television show will be Wiig's first regular role since leaving "Saturday Night Live" in 2012. Over the course of the last few years, Wiig has focused heavily on movies, starring in "Bridesmaids," "The Martian," and "Ghostbusters."

Wiig will serve as an executive producer on the comedy alongside Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter, with author Sittenfeld serving as a consulting producer.

The new Kristen Wiig comedy is the third show Apple is working on alongside Reese Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine company. Witherspoon herself will star in an upcoming morning show drama alongside Jennifer Aniston, and she's also executive producing "Are You Sleeping," a psychological thriller starring Octavia Spencer.

Other TV shows in the works at Apple include Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories," an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica," "Home," a docuseries that will look at extraordinary houses, and "See," an epic world-building drama set in the future.

Apple is also said to be in a bidding war for a new sci-fi drama series penned by J.J. Abrams.

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Apple in Bidding War for J.J. Abrams Sci-Fi Drama

Apple and HBO are embroiled in a bidding war for a new sci-fi drama television series penned by J.J. Abrams, reports Variety.

Little is known about the series at this time, but it's said to deal with a "world's battle against a monstrous, oppressive force," and it marks the first television series Abrams has written since "Fringe" in 2008.


Most recently, Abrams wrote "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and he is working on the upcoming and as of yet untitled "Star Wars: Episode IX." In the past, Abrams has worked on shows that include "Lost," "Felicity," and "Alias."

Abrams would serve as executive producer on the sci-fi series, alongside Ben Stephenson, head of TV for Abrams' Bad Robot Productions. The series would be produced by Warner Bros. Television, and while Variety says Apple and HBO are the top bidders at this time, the studio is open to other bidders.

Apple already has two other sci-fi shows in the works, including a revival of 1985 Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories" and an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica."

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Apple Orders ‘Home’ Docuseries Featuring Extraordinary Houses

Apple has inked a deal for yet another television show, this time a docuseries called "Home," reports Variety.

The series will offer a "never-before-seen look inside the world's most extraordinary homes" while also delving into the imaginations of the visionaries who dreamed them up and built them. Based on the show's description, it sounds a little bit like MTV's "Cribs" but with more of a design and architecture focus.

Apple has ordered 10 one-hour episodes of the "Home" docuseries, which is produced by Matt Tynauer and Corey Reese of Altimeter Films.

"Home" is the first documentary-style series that Apple has ordered thus far under the leadership of Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two former Sony executives Apple brought on last June to run a new video content division within the company.

Apple is working on several other shows in addition to "Home," including a revival of 1985 Steven Spielberg sci-fi series "Amazing Stories," an untitled space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for "Battlestar Galactica," an untitled "morning show drama" starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and "Are You Sleeping," a psychological thriller starring Octavia Spencer that focuses on a podcast that reopens a murder case.

It's not yet clear when the first of Apple's original TV shows will premiere, but it's possible at least one series will debut later in 2018.

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Apple’s Video Team Gains Three More Former Amazon Studios Executives

Three more former Amazon Studios executives are joining Apple as the company continues to work to build out its video team, reports Variety.

Tara Sorensen, who previously served as the head of Amazon kids programming, is taking on a similar role at Apple. Sorensen will report directly to former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who are running Apple's video team under iTunes chief Eddy Cue.


Amazon international development executive Carina Walker and business affairs chief Tara Pietri are also leaving Amazon for Apple. Pietri will lead Apple's legal affairs division, while Walker will serve as an international creative executive under Morgan Wandell. Wandell, also from Amazon Studios, leads international creative development at Apple.

Apple started building its new video division in June of 2017 following the hiring of Erlicht and Van Amburg. The company has been making regular hires for its content team since then, and it has started inking deals for television shows.

So far, Apple has purchased a reboot of Steven Spielberg's sci-fi series "Amazing Stories," an untitled "morning show drama" that will star Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and an untitled space drama that "explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended" created by Ronald D. Moore, known for Battlestar Galactica.

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Apple Signs Deal for Space Drama From Battlestar Galactica Developer Ronald D. Moore

Apple has picked up a third new television show, placing a straight-to-series order for a space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for his work on shows like "Battlestar Galactica," "Caprica," "Helix," and "Outlander," reports Deadline.

The show, which "explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended," comes from Sony Pictures Television and Moore's Tall Ship Productions. It was created and written by Moore and "Fargo" co-executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi.


The new space drama is Apple's third series that's in development. Apple in October inked a deal with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and Comcast's NBC Universal to create new episodes of sci-fi series "Amazing Stories." "Amazing Stories," created by Spielberg, originally ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987.

In November, Apple picked up an untitled "morning show drama" that will star Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as morning talk show hosts, examining the cutthroat world of morning TV.

Apple's original content push is being led by former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who joined Apple in June of 2017. Van Amburg and Erlicht, who produced shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Crown," and "Better Call Saul," are running Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale under iTunes chief Eddy Cue.

Apple has been steadily building out its video team in recent months as it continues to pick up shows to better compete with companies like Netflix and Amazon.

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