Apple could offer original scripted TV content by end of 2017

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Could Apple challenge shows like Netflix's Stranger Things
Photo: Netflix

Move over The Crown and Stranger Things! Apple is planning to enter the original TV shows and movies market, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal claims Apple has been in talks with “veteran producers” over the past few months about buying the rights to existing shows, and has also told them that it has plans to create its own programming — although those efforts are still in the early stages.

Celebrity Apprentice hires YouTube star iJustine

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Justine Ezarik, a.k.a iJustine, will appear on The New Celebrity Apprentice.
Justine Ezarik, a.k.a iJustine, will appear on The New Celebrity Apprentice.
Photo: iJustine screenshot/YouTube

Justine Ezarik built a successful brand from her home by unboxing the latest Apple gadgets in front of a video camera and sharing her geeky tech enthusiasm with millions of YouTube followers.

Now the internet influencer known as iJustine will reach a new audience as she joins Arnold Schwarzenegger in the “Boardroom” as an adviser on The New Celebrity Apprentice.

Apple’s new TV app unifies your viewing experience

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The new TV app doesn't like ripped videos.
The new TV app doesn't like ripped videos.
Photo: Apple

Apple is making it a lot easier for Apple TV owners to find their favorite video content, with an all-new app called simply “TV” that puts everything in one place.

The new TV app debuted at an Apple event this morning that showcased how viewers will be able find new shows to watch as well as tune into live TV.

More evidence of Apple’s frustrating fight to build TV service

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The next big app might be yours.
The streaming TV service is still on the way, but not without some bumps in the road.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

John Skipper, president of ESPN, talked quite a bit in an interview about the future of Apple TV and in particular, Apple’s plans for a streaming television service that may or may not include ESPN. He revealed that Apple is apparently having a hard time sorting out the details with programmers.

“We have ongoing conversations,” Skipper told The Wall Street Journal. “They have been frustrated by their ability to construct something which works for them with programmers. We continue to try to work with them.”

Voice-boosting TV speaker makes sure you never miss a word

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This TV speaker could Grace your living room or bedroom.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

Grace Digital’s Voice Enhanced TV Speaker promises to enhance the sound of your television and potentially give it a volume boost. The sound was engineered with voices in mind because, more than anything when watching TV, dialogue is what you need to hear. As a bonus, a Bluetooth connection lets the speaker work with any Bluetooth-enabled computer or smartphone.

I hooked up Grace Digital’s Voice Enhanced TV Speaker to my television and gave it a whirl.

This Slap Kirk game is the Shat

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The creators of this game have boldly gone where no one has gone before.
The creators of this game have boldly gone where no one has gone before.
Slap Kirk gif: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

You’d feel better if you could slap your boss. But common sense, workplace rules and a little thing called your bills remind you to check your rage.

A developer and a musician have teamed up to give us an authority figure we can slap silly. Will Capt. James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise do?

Original show may have tanked, but Heroes Reborn looks genuinely exciting

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Where have all the heroes gone; long time passing.
Where have all the heroes gone; long time passing.
Photo: NBC Universal

Heroes Reborn reboots the 2006 NBC cult-hit Heroes with a whole new cast of characters, and some familiar faces, too.

While the original series ended up being awful after the fantastic first season, both due to the 2007/2008 writers’ strike and series creator Tim Kring’s distraction over the latter couple of seasons.

The big draw of that first season was ordinary people discovering their extraordinary powers, set in a comic-book inspired world just brimming with possibility. You really cared for these characters as they stumbled and fell trying to become heroes in the face of a world — and a super-villain, Sylar, masterfully played by not-yet-a-superstar Zachary Quinto.

Here’s hoping the new reboot will have original creator Kring working at the top of his form again; the new trailer (below) has me pretty excited that it’s true.

Big Bang Theory goes from fiction to fact with new scholarship

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Cast and crew have contributed to help needy students attend UCLA for math and science.
Cast and crew have contributed to help needy students attend UCLA for math and science.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television

Nerds and geeks alike are satirized and celebrated in CBS’s hit television show The Big Bang Theory, which has aired since 2007.

The very same intelligent kids that the show lionizes will now have a chance to study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects at UCLA, thanks to a new endowmnent from show co-creator Chuck Lorre and some of the cast and crew of the show.

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. Maybe one of the recipients will become the next Steve Wozniak or Bill Gates.

Apple’s Watch gets updated and their television gets scrapped on The CultCast

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This week: ok sure, Apple may have forever shelved plans for a proper television, but reports of a souped-up Apple TV debuting at WWDC will make you forget all that. Plus: the good stuff in Apple’s first Watch update; new Macbook Pros and iMacs get faster specs and bigger price tags; and Steve Jobs teaches bad actors a lesson they shan’t forget.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Squarespace 7 is live, and it’s their biggest update in years. Now building a beautiful website is faster and easier than ever. Learn more at Squarespace.com/seven and use code “CultCast” at checkout for 10% off any order.

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Show notes ahead!

How real historical intrigue inspires Game of Thrones

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The Lancasters always pay their debts. In blood.
The Lancasters always pay their debts. In blood.
Photo: TED-Ed

You know nothin’, Jon Snow. Especially how much more full of shifting alliances and intrigue The Wars of the Roses was than your epic television series is able to show. Game of Thrones superfans may already know that 15th-century England inspired much of the structure of George R. R. Martin’s overarching book series, but having it all laid out — lovely animations and visuals to support the historical information — is our first exposure to that fact.

The short animated video, written by Alex Gendler and animated by Brett Underhill, even illustrates how Game of Thrones matches directly to historical facts with some fun Pop-Up Video-style flourishes. You’ll love it.