Apple, who are desperate to grow their movie and music download businesses, have struck a deal with Steven Spielberg, the maker of “Jaws” and “E.T’ as part of a move into creating their own unique content.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant has struck a deal with Mr. Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Comcast NBCUniversal television production unit to make new episodes of “Amazing Stories,” a science fiction and horror anthology series that ran on NBC in the 1980s, according to people familiar with the matter.
The agreement between Apple, Amblin and NBCUniversal calls for 10 episodes of “Amazing Stories.” Mr. Spielberg will likely be an executive producer for new the version of the show, which he created, the people said.
The budget for “Amazing Stories” will be more than $5 million an episode, according to an executive involved in the project.
“Amazing Stories” is the first show to be greenlit by Apple since it poached Sony’s top Hollywood television executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht in June to help spearhead the tech company’s push into original programming.
Apple gave the duo, who helped produce “Breaking Bad,” a budget of roughly $1 billion to develop original programming over the next year. They have also been tasked with building out a video strategy that is expected to include a streaming service that rivals Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and others.
In tapping Mr. Spielberg, Apple landed an internationally renowned director with broad appeal whose lengthy list of credits includes “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List.” Amblin Television is headed by Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, two well-regarded executives whose credits include such critically acclaimed shows as “The Americans” for FX.
Apple is betting that carving out a space in the crowded original content field can help drive subscriptions across more than 1 billion iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs and other devices world-wide.