Apple TV+ will be seriously upping its quotient of Fraggle Rock content, the Jim Henson kids’ puppet show which debuted in the 1980s.
Apple has acquired the streaming rights to all 96 episodes of the original show, which ran on HBO from 1983 through 1987, alongside specials. These will debut on Wednesday, May 27, and will be the first time that Apple TV+ has aired rerun content previously shown elsewhere.
Apple has also partnered with the Jim Henson Company to produce an official reboot of Fraggle Rock. This will include all-new episodes that will augment the Fraggle Rock back catalog.
This is not the first time Apple has brokered a deal with Jim Henson for Fraggle Rock content. Earlier this month, Apple TV+ picked up shortform adventure series Fraggle Rock: Rock On, a series of 3-5 minute which debuted earlier this month.
Beyond Fraggle Rock: Will Apple TV+ acquire other reruns?
According to a report by Vulture, published Tuesday, Apple originally went into the Fraggle Rock negotiations only looking for new content. But when it realized that it would be confusing to have older episodes available elsewhere and new content on Apple TV+, Apple decided to acquire the whole lot. (With the exception, that is, of an animated Fraggle Rock spinoff.)
This is significant because it is the first time that Apple has acquired content previously shown elsewhere. A recent Bloomberg report said that Apple was considering buying up the rights to existing content. As recently as February, Tim Cook suggested that Apple would not go down the existing content route. “Apple TV+ is about original programming; it doesn’t feel right to just go out and take a rerun,” he told investors.
Vulture suggests that Apple is still keen to focus predominantly on Apple Originals. But when the deal makes sense, as it did here, Apple isn’t adverse to striking a deal like this. It notes that: “The only cases in which Apple might consider buying library titles is if it is also working on a new project related to the existing property.”
Recently a lot of Apple’s kid-oriented programming was nominated for multiple daytime Emmy awards.