Apple gave a first look at its new original unscripted series, Planet of the Apps, on Monday evening and the show looks a little like Shark Tank meets The Voice.
In the clip shown to attendees of the Code Media conference, app developers have 60 seconds to get Planet of the Apps’ group of advisors — Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk — excited about their projects. Those picked work directly with their advisors, preparing them to pitch in front of a group of venture capitalists from Bay Area firm Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Apple’s senior vp of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, confirmed on stage at Code that Planet of the Apps will be made available this spring on Apple Music, its $10 per month subscription music service.
But it won’t just be an episodic show that people can watch on connected TV devices, iPhones and computers. Executive producer Ben Silverman told the audience that it will also have a standalone app with bonus clips and more information. He described as like a rubber band, “you can watch a show and press pause and go as deep and as far as you want to go in the rubber band.”
Apple announced Planet of the Apps as its first original series in March last year. The show, an unscripted look at the developers who make apps for iPhone users, is produced by Silverman and Howard Owens’ Propagate Content.
Lightspeed Venture Partners committed at least $10 million to fund the apps featured on the show with its partners, including Aaron Batalion and Jeremy Liew, set to appear in the show. But Silverman said Lightspeed ended up committing even more to the apps.
Silverman said he, Owens and will.i.am, who is also an executive producer, were pitching broadcast networks on the show when Apple expressed interest in the project. He said they decided to work with Apple because of “what they could do to help us co-produce and help us amplify the legitimacy. It became obvious to us immediately that they kind of were the only partners.”
The sneak peek of Planet of the Apps comes one day after Apple released a trailer for its Carpool Karaoke spinoff of the popular Late Late Show with James Corden segment. The clip for the show, which will debut in April, shows stars Will Smith, Ariana Grande and John Legend. The series will include a series of celebrity guest hosts and an appearance by Corden himself.
Apple, which is investing into content as a means to differentiate its Apple Music, has also produced a semi-autobiographical series starring Dr. Dre, called Vital Signs.
Cue, who teased that Apple Music now has more than 20 million subscribers, said that shows like Planet of the Apps help drive interest in the service. “We think that these shows bring something to customers that they have never seen before.”
Asked whether Apple would make Game of Thrones, Cue said, “we’re not taking the traditional route.” He added, “this is a show that’s unlike anything that we see out there, that we are able to add value to. Carpool Karaoke is similar. We add certain value to it. …We’re not out trying to buy a bunch of shows. We’re trying to do some things we think are creative and can move culture and we think that Apple can add some value to. They wouldn’t be as good if we weren’t involved.”
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