Apple has found the first TV series it’s going to produce in-house for its upcoming TV Plus streaming service: a third entry in Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman’s Band of Brothers franchise.
The miniseries is expected to run north of eight hours, and will reportedly cost more than $200 million to make, according to Deadline. The new series is based on Donald L. Miller’s book, Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought The Air War Against Nazi Germany, and will focus on members of the Air Force during the Second World War. The first two installments in the Band of Brothers franchise, Band of Brothers and The Pacific, focused on the United States’ Army and Marine divisions.
Both Band of Brothers and The Pacific found a home at HBO — and helped earn the network a number of Emmy awards between 2002 and 2010, including 43 total Emmy nominations and 14 wins. The shows became a staple of HBO, with Band of Brothers helping usher in one of the network’s most prestigious eras. Masters of the Air was supposed to go to HBO as well, according to Deadline, but the network let the show go. Apple is “better situated to make the requisite financial commitment,” Deadline reports.
‘Masters of the Air’ marks the first series that will be produced entirely in-house
Although Apple already has a slate of original series, including The Morning Show, See, and For All Mankind, Masters of the Air marks the first series that will be produced entirely in-house, whereas The Morning Show is being produced through Echo Films (co-owned by Morning Show star Jennifer Aniston). See, the Jason Momoa-starring fantasy series, is being produced through two other companies: Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content. Apple is still buying series from other developers, and then launching them as Apple TV Plus exclusive content.
This is an industry standard. Even Netflix Originals are often produced outside of the company, despite Netflix working on more shows in-house. Ryan Murphy’s The Politician, for example, is made through Fox 21 Television Studios, but is streamed exclusively on Netflix. It’s still a “Netflix Original,” but it’s not made in-house. Stranger Things, however, is made entirely in-house.
Buying content from other studios and running those shows as exclusive content on a streaming service like Netflix or Apple TV Plus is still an industry norm, but that could change. Fox 21 Television Studios is now a division of Disney and, it could be argued, Disney might want to use Fox 21 Television Studios productions to bulk up its general streaming service, Hulu. Whether that will happen is yet to be seen.
It’s unclear when Apple’s studio will be operational, and when development on Masters of the Air will begin, but the announcement is further proof that Apple is committed to being a major player in the streaming wars.