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Apple officially signs off on first drama series

Apple has officially signed off on its first drama series, the long gestating scripted series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

The show will follow the staff and stars of a morning TV show in the States, and Apple has given it a straight-to-series, two-season order comprising 20 episodes.

Reports in the US describe the bidding war around the show was competitive with multiple networks in the mix, highlighting the clout Apple is bringing to market for original shows.

It has been suggested each episode of the Mes Res-produced show could cost as much as US$10 million.

Mes Res is the prodco former HBO drama chief Michael Ellenberg launched after leaving the Time Warner-owned premium cable channel.

Ellenberg will produce alongside Aniston’s Echo Films and Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. Both Aniston and Witherspoon executive produce and take ownership stakes in the series, which is based on Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.

Apple has also confirmed it has ordered Amazing Stories, its Stephen Spielberg anthology drama reboot.

The series will “will transport the audience to worlds of wonder through the lens of today’s most imaginative filmmakers, directors and writers”, according to Apple.

The tech giant’s move into original content has provided producers with and powerful and moneyed new client, but many broadcasters and SVOD services will see its entrance as a major threat.

It became apparent Apple was serious about its original content plans after it poached Sony Pictures Television co-presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack van Amburg.

Last month, the hire of former Channel 4 chief content officer Jay Hunt was confirmed to lead original video efforts in Europe.