It has a $1 billion budget and multiple projects in development, but questions about the product on Apple’s upcoming streaming on-demand service have been on the rise and now The Wall Street Journal has posted a report which says the company’s need to protect its image is proving a problem.
The paper says Apple’s own staff in Los Angeles have begun referring to the streaming project as “expensive NBC”. This is said to be due to the fact the company, in order to maintain its pristine brand image, is intent on keeping all its content offerings family-friendly and so unlikely to raise anyone’s ire that it is actually delaying and interfering with many projects.
Apple has bought more than a dozen shows, favoring broadly appealing, family-friendly fare. However, they are reportedly going beyond just removing sex, profanity and violence as ‘drawn guns’ and religious iconography are an issue as well.
M. Night Shyamalan is producing a psychological thriller series for the service about a couple who lose a young child, but crucifixes in one of the sets had to allegedly be removed as Apple doesn’t want shows that venture into religious subjects or politics. The “Amazing Stories” reboot changed showrunners after Apple concluded the new take on the family anthology series was too dark.
The creative tweaking has impacted the company’s high-profile morning news program-themed series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. That show, costing a whopping $12 million an episode if not more, has been delayed due to issues with an executive producer and Apple taking issue with the tone – they want a more upbeat sensibility and had issues with some of the humor.
Unhampered by the need to remain as uncontroversial as possible, Apple’s main competitors like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO have so far had no problem releasing gritty content with much larger production budgets.