Apple and HBO are vying for a new sci-fi drama series written by Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. The untitled show is the first bit of TV writing Abrams has done since working on Fringe a decade ago in 2008.
In addition to Fringe, Abrams co-created the popular TV show Lost, as well as creating both Felicity and Alias. He has also executive-produced multiple shows in the past few years, including HBO’s Westworld, Showtime’s Roadies and Hulu’s upcoming Castle Rock.
His new sci-fi show would be produced by Warner Bros. Television, while Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions’ collaborator Ben Stephenson will be credited as executive producers.
Apple’s original TV shows slate
So far, Apple’s other greenlit original programming includes an Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg, a news-business comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, a sci-fi drama series from the show runner of Outlander, and Are You Sleeping, a show about a Serial-style crime podcast that reopens a murder case.
Apple reportedly plans to spend a $1 billion “war chest” on original programming in 2018, which could rise to $4.2 billion per year by 2022. No dates have been announced for when Apple will begin debuting its original dramas, or how it plans to distribute them. Current shows, such as the disappointing Carpool Karaoke: The Series and Planet of the Apps, have been exclusives to Apple Music.
While Abrams hasn’t worked for Apple previously, he has had a few tangential connections with the company. For starters, he is good friends with Jony Ive. He also gave a Worldwide Developers Conference talk in 2012 about storytelling through technology and creative inspiration.