Apple has announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.
Together, she and Apple will, per a press release, “create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.” Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.
"As a shot across the bow that Apple has arrived in the content environment, it's as big as you can get," said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, told NBC News. "By signing her, it's got great symbolic value. But whether or not big exciting content comes out of these big exciting signings is yet to be determined.”
Winfrey recently extended her contract with Discovery through 2025. Sources tell Variety that Apple’s deal with her does’t conflict with the Discovery agreement. Winfrey remains exclusive in an on-screen capacity to OWN with limited carve-outs, such as her role as a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” and her recent acting work for HBO.
Via her Harpo Productions banner, Winfrey has also developed several long-running hit syndicated shows including “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Through her Harpo Films, she has produced several Academy Award-winning features including “Selma,” which was directed by DuVernay. Winfrey also had a featured role in that film, and recently starred in other films like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” and HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
Upcoming original programming titles from Apple include "Amazing Stores," "Are You Sleeping," "Home," "Little America," "See," "Swagger," an untitled Damien Chazelle drama, an untitled Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Anniston dreamed, “Dickinson” (a half-hour comedy starring Hailee Stenifeld), an untitled Ronald D. Moore drama, an untitled M. Night Shyamalan thriller series, a TV series adaption of “Foundation,” the Isaac Asimov science fiction novel trilogy, and the half-hour dramedy “Little Voices” from producers J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles, and a drama series about pre-teen investigative reporter Hilde Lysiak.
Photos courtesy of TVLine and CNN Money
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