There is some big news coming out of Hollywood today. Or at least I think it’s big news. The Wall Sreet Journal is reporting that Apple has struck a deal to revive the Steven Spielberg anthology series Amazing Stories. What might be bigger news is that Spielberg himself will be returning to take on the role of executive producer. The filmmaker’s Amblin Entertainment production company will be producing 10 episodes of the new series with NBCUniversal’s television production unit. Each episode is anticipated to cost about $5 million. Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller will serve as showrunner.
The original Amazing Stories was Spielberg’s attempt to create an updated Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. The original series ran from 1985 to 1987 but was canceled due to low interest. Each episode would tell a different story focused on something scary, magical or even horrific. The series did win five Emmy’s, but like I said, it only lasted two seasons.
This is a big move for Apple, considering they are expected to invest $1 billion towards original content in the next year. In June, they hired former Sony Pictures Television executives – Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. While at Sony, the two oversaw shows like Breaking Bad. Which means that Apple understands the type of industry relationships and creative dynamics that are required to develop a robust and diverse slate of television.
How is Apple going to broadcast this content is the big question. The one that everyone is asking. And by broadcast, I mean on which platform. With streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu already having so much original programming, it kind of seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Or at least, it would seem like Apple would be moving in that direction. But they don’t have an equivalent in place just yet. They have made some original content – like Carpool Karaoke – available as part of Apple Music. But it’s hard to imagine someone like Spielberg closing a deal for Amazing Stories, and then have it added to Apple Music.
It’s no doubt what direction Apple will be heading eventually, but how far off are they with this? If the trend toward exclusivity with streaming music and programming has demonstrated anything, it’s that customers are all too willing to buy into service ecosystems to get the content they want. And Apple is all about the ecosystem. Which means it’s coming.
In the past, Apple had been said to be developing a streaming video service, but talks with content providers always failed. The difference this time might be in who they have working for them on this. And it’s only going to get bigger. I mean, who doesn’t want to work for Apple in some capacity. Or with Apple, if you’re Steven Spielberg. My only issue with this is that it’s just another streaming service. One more place for me to get content. I personally would like a one-stop-shop when it comes to television. Maybe this is the price I have to pay considering that I was so on board with people cutting the cord?