Apple TV+ pursues lofty goal: Exploring human relationships


Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s two heads of worldwide video programming
Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht got the tough job of building Apple TV+ from nothing.
Photo: Apple

The first slate of Apple TV+ shows would seem to have little in common — they range from a teen comedy to a sci-fi epic — but the company’s top entertainment programming execs say they are all about relationships.

They also worked hard to make this new streaming service fit with the rest of Apple.


“The guiding word is ‘humanity,’” Zack Van Amburg, one of Apple’s two heads of worldwide video programming, told Variety. “All of our shows have something to say about the relationships we have with each other and with the world.”

See, staring Jason Momoa, is about a future world in which everyone is blind, and what happens when some children are born able to see. Or The Morning Show, with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, dives into the #MeToo movement.

Integrating Apple TV+ into Apple

Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s other programming chief, told Variety “We spent a good chunk of [the first] few months flying up to Cupertino multiple times a week, figuring out how what we’re doing on the entertainment side fits in with everything else at Apple.”

A major change for Van Amburg and Erlicht is no longer needed to worry about syndication potential. Or penny-pinching budgets, with Apple reportedly plowing $6 billion a year into its nascent video-streaming service.

Not surprisingly, they are very optimistic about Apple TV+. “What I’m most excited about is that the world is going to be able to see what we’ve been doing,” said Erlicht. “And they’re going to see a user interface that will change the way the consumer watches video.”

The Apple TV application displays Cupertino’s own shows alongside ones from other services. Its goal is to give Mac, iPhone and iPad users a central source for all streaming-video services.