Apple embraces Hollywood with new TV streaming service
Hollywood A-listers headline new shows including drama, horror and documentaries
HOLLYWOOD: Apple Inc brought in Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Momoa to talk up its new television streaming service at a Hollywood-style event on Monday marked by standing ovations, hugs and soaring rhetoric.
The event ended almost 18 months of secrecy over Apple's television project and featured some of the biggest names in entertainment promoting their original content shows. Chief Executive Tim Cook told an audience at the company's Cupertino, California headquarters that Apple's partners on the Apple TV+ service were "the most thoughtful, accomplished and award-winning group of creative visionaries who have ever come together in one place".
Apple did not say how much the new television subscription service would cost but said it would launch this autumn and would be available in 100 nations.
Apple has commissioned more than 30 shows, including a science fiction offering from Spielberg, a horror series from M. Night Shyamalan, a new Sesame Workshop show teaching coding to kids and a drama set in the world of morning television starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
Winfrey, who ended her daily talk show in 2011 after 25 years to launch her OWN cable channel, said she would interview "artists, newsmakers and leaders", present two documentaries - one about harassment in the work place and another about mental health - and launch a new, bigger version of her popular Oprah book club.
On why she joined Apple, she said: "They are the company that has re-imagined how we communicate. They're in a billion pockets y'all. The whole world's got them in their hands and that represents a major opportunity to make a genuine impact."
Meanwhile, Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani performed a brief stand-up routine to introduce his Little America series about immigrants in the US.
"We hope Little America will help view ers understand there is no such thing as the other. There is only us," he said. "We are excited that we get to tell these stories with Apple. Connecting humanity is in their DNA."
A short compilation reel of clips of new shows either completed or in production ended with Aquaman star Momoa, who will appear in futuristic drama See, about a world in which everyone has lost the power of sight.
"This is where we build our new home," he said. - REUTERS