Apple’s Eddy Cue, who’s been heading up the company’s streaming efforts, has been making the rounds in the media over the last couple of days, providing glimpses into what we can expect from its TV offerings. In his latest interview with GQ Britain, Cue pushed back on reports that Apple was taking a heavy-handed approach to the TV shows that it would eventually air, saying the company hasn’t provided script notes to producers.
Last September, The Wall Street Journal published a report about Apple’s foray into TV streaming, highlighting that executives were unhappy with one early project, Vital Signs, based on the life of Dr. Dre. CEO Tim Cook reportedly said that the series was too violent and that the company wouldn’t be able to stream it. There have been other hints of division between Apple and show creators. Bryan Fuller, who was the showrunner for Amazing Stories reboot, reportedly left over creative differences. He apparently wanted a darker, Black Mirror-style show, whereas Apple wanted something a bit more family-friendly.
Speaking to GQ, Cue denied reports that they were trying to rein in creators. “There’s never been one note passed from us on scripts, that I can assure you. We leave the folks [alone] who know they’re doing.” In an interview from last weekend with The Sunday Times, Cue explained that this is new territory for Apple and acknowledged that the company didn’t have to be first in order to produce high-quality shows. Their approach, he said, was to “find the best people for it” and let them work.
However, while Cue says that Apple’s executives haven’t handed producers script notes, the company has a reputation for wanting family-friendly content on its platforms, and it could certainly set the tone for that expectation from the beginning. Apple has a huge number of projects that look aimed to appeal to a range of audiences, from children’s shows to comedies, dramas, and science fiction, all of which can be done without Amazon / HBO / Starz levels of sex and violence.
In The Sunday Times interview, Cue highlighted that the company’s focus is on a “quality over quantity” approach for its original shows, as opposed to Netflix, which seems, at times, willing to stream anything on which it can slap “Netflix Original” label. Netflix has been hard at work transforming its catalog, spending billions on originals as it works to fend off competitors in an increasingly crowded streaming video marketplace.
Cue uses this new interview to reiterate that they’re confident in their work, describing their shows as “the best.” He highlighted a couple of examples, noting that in Ron Moore’s science fiction series For All Mankind, they used some of the original equipment from NASA as props. And the upcoming Reese Witherspoon / Jennifer Aniston series The Morning Show is “definitely not appropriate for you to watch with an eight-year-old.” He also talked up Dickinson, the company’s series about the poet, starring Hailee Steinfeld.