Apple’s push into the highly competitive original programming arena is heating up, as the tech giant reportedly reached a deal with Steven Spielberg’s TV production company to reboot the iconic director’s 1980s sci-fi and horror anthology series Amazing Stories.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has a deal in place with the Jaws and Jurassic Park director’s Amblin Television, along with Comcast-owned NBCUniversal’s TV production arm, to develop new episodes of Amazing Stories, which originally aired between 1985 and 1987 on NBC. The WSJ, which cites anonymous sources in reporting the deal, added that the agreement calls for 10 new episodes of the revived series, with Spielberg likely serving as an executive producer and writer-producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, American Gods) serving as the showrunner.
Apple declined to comment to the WSJ on the report, which notes that the tech company’s budget for Amazing Stories could exceed $5 million per episode. Meanwhile, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke told the WSJ, “We love being at the forefront of Apple’s investment in scripted programming, and can’t think of a better property than Spielberg’s beloved Amazing Stories franchise.” (NBCUniversal took a minority stake in Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, Amblin Television’s parent company, in February.)
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Amazing Stories would be the first scripted TV series to go into development at Apple since the company brought in former Sony TV executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht this summer to head the company’s new unit overseeing original programming. It was previously reported that Apple is committed to spending more than $1 billion on original films and TV shows in the next year.
Apple faces a great deal of competition as it enters the original programming fray, not just from traditional Hollywood studios, but also from the increasingly popular streaming players like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu (in which Comcast also owns a stake), all of which spend multiple billions of dollars each year on their own original TV series and films. To this point, Apple had only dipped its toes in the original programming pool with unscripted series like James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke and the reality show Planet of the Apps.
Earlier on Tuesday, Deadline reported that Apple pulled the plug on an Elvis Presley biopic, apparently abandoning a development deal for the film with The Weinstein Company over the recent deluge of sexual harassment allegations against that production company’s co-founder, Harvey Weinstein.
While Amazing Stories is far from being Spielberg’s most recognizable entertainment property, the WSJ notes that the show’s brief network run in the 1980s resulted in a dozen Emmy nominations and it later developed something of a cult following among sci-fi and horror show aficionados.