Apple orders new entry in Band of Brothers TV series, stealing a top franchise from HBO


Apple has found the first TV series it’s going to produce in-house for its upcoming TV Plus streaming service: a third entry in Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman’sBand of Brothersfranchise.

The miniseries is expected to run north of eight hours, and will reportedly cost more than $200 million to make,according toDeadline. The new series is based on Donald L. Miller’s book,Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought The Air War Against Nazi Germany,and will focus on members of the Air Force during the Second World War. The first two installments in theBand of Brothersfranchise,Band of BrothersandThe Pacific, focused on the United States’ Army and Marine divisions.

BothBand of BrothersandThe Pacificfound a home at HBO — and helped earn the network a number of Emmy awards between 2002 and 2010, including 43 total Emmy nominations and 14 wins. The shows became a staple of HBO, withBand of Brothershelping usher in one of the network’s most prestigious eras.Masters of the Airwas supposed to go to HBO as well, according toDeadline, but the network let the show go. Apple is “better situated to make the requisite financial commitment,”Deadlinereports.

Although Apple already has a slate of original series, includingThe Morning Show,See,andFor All Mankind,Masters of the Airmarks the first series that will be produced entirely in-house, whereasThe Morning Showis being produced through Echo Films (co-owned byMorning Showstar Jennifer Aniston).See, the Jason Momoa-starring fantasy series, is being produced through two other companies: Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content. Apple is still buying series from other developers, and then launching them as Apple TV Plus exclusive content.

This is an industry standard. EvenNetflix Originals are often produced outside of the company, despite Netflix working on more shows in-house. Ryan Murphy’sThe Politician, for example, is made through Fox 21 Television Studios, but is streamed exclusively on Netflix. It’s still a “Netflix Original,” but it’s not made in-house.Stranger Things,however, is made entirely in-house.

Buying content from other studios and running those shows as exclusive content on a streaming service like Netflix or Apple TV Plus is still an industry norm, but that could change. Fox 21 Television Studios isnow a division of Disneyand, it could be argued, Disney might want to use Fox 21 Television Studios productions to bulk up its generalstreaming service, Hulu. Whether that will happen is yet to be seen.

It’s unclear when Apple’s studio will be operational, and when development onMasters of the Airwill begin, but the announcement is further proof that Apple is committed to being a major player in the streaming wars.

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