Who died and made Tim Cook and Eddy Cue TV producers?

Maybe they should let the pros do their job.

From the Wall Street Journal ($): No Sex Please, We’re Apple: iPhone Giant Seeks TV Success on Its Own Terms, by Tripp Mickle and Joe Flint.

Apple’s sensitivity [to its brand image] affects how its top Hollywood executives, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, approach their jobs. The duo, who previously shepherded “Breaking Bad” at Sony Pictures, devote considerable time to winning a nod for shows from [CEO Tim] Cook and Eddy Cue, a senior vice president who oversees services, said someone well-versed in company dynamics…

As Apple Music’s video efforts struggled, Mr. Cue charted a new course, hiring Messrs. Van Amburg and Erlicht from Sony, where they had built a reputation for creative chops and business savvy. The mandate was to build a slate of original shows.

The duo visited talent agencies last fall encouraging agents to bring them quality ideas. One agent described the message as: “Don’t edit yourselves. We’re Apple, and we’re going to take big swings.” Agents soon began to question that, as Apple started signing up series with the broad appeal of network shows and ended discussions over the grittier projects starring Mr. Fassbender and Mr. Reeves, according to people familiar with those projects.

Messrs. Van Amburg and Erlicht amended their message, saying Apple was open to anything and everything so long as there was no gratuitous violence or nudity, according to talent-agency people. One agent said some members of Apple’s team in Los Angeles began calling themselves “expensive NBC.”

My take: Ouch. Viewers looking forward to award-winning television out of Apple can only hope this story made the hand of management sound heavier than it is.

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14 Comments

  1. Richard Wanderman said:

    I’ve been negative about this move by Apple since before seeing Jason Blum’s interview on how “streamers” are tossing gobs of money at projects hoping one or two will stick. That interview cemented my view and he didn’t really say anything that negative about Apple, just that Apple’s deep pockets were being exploited (by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and others).

    Netflix and Amazon Prime video are already throwing a lot of money into new productions and for the most part its working well. And, both have a deep collection of older content that one can mine, included in the price of admission. I don’t see Apple succeeding here and given the sensitivity to hurting the brand (which is important) there are serious limits on what can be produced.

    0
    September 22, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      For Apple’s target demographic (more educated, above average income) does it matter that Apple does not produce quantity, instead relying on quality?

      Would I pay $20/month (or more) for intelligent content? You betcha.

      2
      September 22, 2018
      • Richard Wanderman said:

        I’m pretty well educated and have above average income but it’s possible (probable) we have different taste in content Gregg. What you think is “intelligent” I might think is boring. Or, the reverse.

        Netflix and Amazon Prime are successful because they have variety and depth of that variety. Same with HBO and Showtime. Time will tell what Apple does but to me, at this point, it doesn’t look promising.

        1
        September 22, 2018
        • Gregg Thurman said:

          Twelve O’Clock High, The King’s Speech, A Band of Brothers, Seven Days in May, To Kill a Mockingbird, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, A Ship of Fools, Always, The Red Violin, Houseboat, Charade, etc.

          There are way more than enough quality content (intelligent) out there, including foreign language to make a high end streaming service profitable, and I haven’t even touched on TV (The West Wing, Cheers, Friends, The Defenders, the original Twilight Zone).

          1
          September 23, 2018
          • Richard Wanderman said:

            Those are all available on Netflix and Amazon Prime (for the most part).

            I’m with you on those for sure (I own most of them on both iTunes and disc) although I like edgier stuff too. No doubt it’s the edgier stuff we’ll disagree on but as long as there’s a variety then both of us can find what we want.

            My worry is that Apple will go too narrow with their own content and the audience won’t be big enough.

            One of my recent favorite original content shows on HBO is called The Night Of. Brilliant. They also did Show Me a Hero (about the Yonkers desegregation battle). Also brilliant.

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            September 23, 2018
  2. Ken Cheng said:

    “gratuitous violence or nudity”
    What does “gratuitous” mean, cause in my book, it means unnecessary. You don’t need “gratuitous” when it comes to great storytelling. I think it’s very Jobsian to cut out the unnecessary.

    1
    September 22, 2018
  3. John Kirk said:

    “Who died and made Tim Cook and Eddy Cue TV producers?”

    Is your headline unintentionally ironic, PED? The man who died and left Tim Cook in charge was…

    …Steve Jobs — who was also notorious for censoring the content of Apple properties.

    0
    September 22, 2018

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