Apple has just ordered its first two original scripted series, Variety reports. The first is the Steven Spielberg anthology series Amazing Stories, the existence of which was reported last month by The Wall Street Journal. The second is a currently untitled drama about a network morning show, which will star Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
CNN reporter Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV will serve as research material and background for the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which already has a two-season order from Apple, will be written and produced by Jay Carson (House of Cards), with both Witherspoon and Aniston executive producing.
Apple’s other scripted series, Amazing Stories, is a revival of the Spielberg anthology show from the late 1980s. The revival reportedly has a budget of $5 million per episode, with Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller serving as showrunner.
The two shows will help kick off Apple’s reported plan to spend $1 billion on original content over the next year. Last year, the company launched its first original unscripted shows, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, to a lackluster critical response. But those appear to have been experiments rather that indicators of where the company ultimately wants to go. The real battleground is going to be with scripted television shows, and in order to compete with streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu — both of which won Emmys this year — Apple will need to prove it’s taking its TV aspirations seriously.
Premiere dates for Amazing Stories and the news network drama have yet to be announced.