Apple has many production partners, including A24, Skydance, Oprah, Martin Scorsese, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and other big entertainment names. Here are the most notable names that have signed deals for Apple TV+ programming.
Even prior to the launch of Apple TV+ in November of 2019, Apple was regularly announcing deals to put content on its platform. Some are “first look” deals, in which Apple has the first shot at any project developed by that entity. Others are merely alliances in which the companies have gotten into business and formalized the process of collaborating on projects. The announcements of such deals have continued and ramped up throughout 2020 and 2021.
Below is a list of those announced partnerships. In addition to what is listed, many of Apple TV+’s existing shows are produced through partnerships for that show only and not as part of an ongoing, multi-project deal.
Also, it is possible that other partnerships have not been publicly announced or that some of the below partnerships are no longer in effect. For example, Filmmaker Justin Lin agreed to an overall deal with Apple in 2018 but then moved to Universal in 2020.
- 1 A24
- 2 Imagine Entertainment
- 3 Oprah Winfrey’s production studios
- 4 Eden Productions and Busboy Productions
- 5 Julia Louis-Dreyfus
- 6 Scott Free Productions
- 7 Sikelia Productions
- 8 Appian Way
- 9 WildBrain and Peanuts Worldwide
- 10 Alfonso Cuaron
- 11 Skydance Animation
- 12 Jason Katims/True Jack Productions
- 13 Natalie Portman/Sophie Mas
- 14 Green Door Pictures
- 15 Kerry Ehrin
- 16 Tracy Yvonne Productions
- 17 Mark Bomback
- 18 The Maurice Sendak Foundation
- 19 Annie Weisman
- 20 Sian Heder
- 21 Lee Eisenberg
- 22 Alena Smith
- 23 Sharon Horgan
- 24 Monica Beletsky
- 25 Moshe Zonder
The deal was not a first-look agreement. However, it has since resulted in the releases On the Rocks and Boys State, both of which were released in 2020.
Several other projects from the Apple/A24 partnership are on the way, including the Joel Coen-directed The Tragedy of MacBeth, the Julianne Moore-starring movie Sharper, the Jason Segel/Cherry Jones literary adaptation The Sky is Everywhere, and Mr. Corman, a limited TV series starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Bride, an Apple/A24 film starring Scarlett Johansson, was announced in late 2020.
In March of 2021, Apple reached a first-look agreement with Imagine Entertainment, in which Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s production company agreed to exclusively develop movies for Apple.
Apple had previously worked with Imagine on Dads, the 2020 documentary directed by Howard’s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard and featured Ron Howard on camera. Imagine is also involved with The Supermodels, an upcoming Apple TV+ documentary series about the fashion industry, and is also part of Apple’s partnership with Peanuts.
Oprah Winfrey’s production studios
One of the first big deals Apple reached ahead of the launch of Apple TV+ was with Oprah Winfrey. The sides reached what was described at the time as a “long-term partnership” to develop programming.
The deal has included the ongoing interview series The Oprah Conversation, as well as The Me You Can’t See, the show about mental health that Oprah created along with Prince Harry. In addition, a biographical documentary about Oprah herself has also been announced.
However, Winfrey’s relationship with Apple is not exclusive, and her much-watched interview from March with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on CBS.
Eden Productions and Busboy Productions
The deal entailed a five-year agreement with Plepler’s new company, Eden Productions, to produce new feature films, documentaries, and shows with Apple.
The first major project under Plepler’s deal is The Problem With Jon Stewart, the upcoming series starring the former Daily Show host. Plepler will serve as an executive producer.
Busboy Productions, the production company Stewart has run since his MTV days, is also involved in producing Stewart’s new show. Busboy Productions also has a first-look deal with Apple.
The actress from Seinfeld and Veep, who has won a record 11 Emmy awards, announced an exclusive deal with Apple in January of 2020. Louis-Dreyfus joked at the time that she wanted to be “paid in AirPods.”
No projects have been announced yet under Louis-Dreyfus’ Apple deal.
Scott Free Productions
Apple announced in May of 2020 that it had reached a first-look deal with Scott Free Productions, the production company of the acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott.
The deal between Apple and Scott Free is for “global TV projects.” Such projects would be “spearheaded and executive produced” by Scott himself and Scott Free’s executive team.
While the deal was for TV, Apple in January 2021 announced plans for Kitbag, a movie directed by Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte.
Deadline, in May, referenced a project called Los Immigrants, being developed for Apple under Scott Free executive Clayton Krueger.
In August of 2020, Apple got into business with one of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, Martin Scorsese. Scorsese’s company, Sikelia Productions, had previously been set up at Paramount but struck a multi-year deal with Apple to develop movies and TV shows.
The announcement came a few months after Apple won the rights to Scorsese’s next film, Killers of the Flower Moon, which is currently in production.
Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon will star the director’s frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio. And DiCaprio’s own production company, Appian Way, also has a first-look deal with Apple, as announced in August of 2020.
The upcoming Apple TV+ series Shining Girls, starring Elizabeth Moss, is under the Appian Way banner, with DiCaprio as executive producer.
WildBrain and Peanuts Worldwide
In 2018, Apple reached a deal with the parent company of Peanuts, now called Wildbrain, to make Apple the streaming home of Peanuts. The deal involved creating new specials, shorts, and other content. Then, in October of 2020, Apple reached another agreement with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide, and Lee Mendelson Film Productions to make Apple the home of the iconic Peanuts holiday specials.
The Apple/Peanuts relationship has led to lots of new shows, including The Snoopy Show, Snoopy in Space, and the recent documentary about the history of the characters, Who Are You, Charlie Brown? A new season of The Snoopy Show is set to arrive July 9.
One of the most lauded filmmakers in the world, the Mexican director Cuaron is responsible for such films as Y Tu Mama Tambien, Gravity, Children of Men and Roma. In 2019, Cuaron agreed to a multi-year overall deal with Apple to develop TV projects, Variety reported at the time.
Nothing has been announced in the time since, although a movie rumor site called Illuminerdi reported in May that Cuaron had agreed to make a limited series for Apple. In addition, the site suggests a pair of fellow Oscar winners, Gary Oldman and Cate Blanchett, are “circling” the project.
Those films, Luck and Spellbound, are set for release in 2022. The deal also included a two-season order for the TV series The Search for WondLa. Apple and Skydance in April announced an animated short film, Blush.
Skydance Animation now employs longtime Disney and Pixar filmmaker and executive John Lasseter as its head of animation; he is also the producer of the two features.
Jason Katims/True Jack Productions
In early 2019, Apple reached an agreement with veteran TV show creator Jason Katims, who made Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, to produce and develop new shows.
Katims has been mentioned in the trade press as attached to an Apple TV+ show called Dear Edward, although there has been no official announcement.
Natalie Portman/Sophie Mas
Apple announced a first-look deal in March of 2021 with actress Natalie Portman and her producing partner Sophie Mas, which is focused on TV projects.
The announcement of the deal came shortly after Apple announced that it had picked up a crime drama series, from Portman and Mas, called Lady in the Lake. Portman and Lupita N’yongo, both Academy Award winners, will co-star on the series, with both serving as executive producers.
Green Door Pictures
In July of 2020, Apple agreed to another first-look deal with a well-known actor’s production company, reaching an agreement with Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures.
The following month, the Hollywood trades reported that Apple had won an “intense bidding war” to gain the rights to an untitled “spy movie with romance,” to star Elba himself.
The Morning Show was the highest-profile series of Apple TV+’s launch, but its early days were beset by reports of internal turmoil, leading to the exit of its original showrunner. But the show gained critical acclaim as its first season went on, and the showrunner who took over, Kerry Ehrin, was rewarded with an extension of her overall deal with Apple, Variety reported in the spring of 2020.
The Morning Show returns for its second season this fall.
Tracy Yvonne Productions
Apple signed Tracy Oliver, the writer of the movie Girls Trip, to an “eight-figure” overall deal in March of 2021 through her Tracy Yvonne Productions.
Per Deadline, Oliver “will develop and produce diverse and meaningful projects.”
Defending Jacob was one of the more popular Apple TV+ shows of 2020, even though it was a limited series that ended in such a way that it couldn’t possibly continue. In June of 2020, its showrunner Mark Bomback reached a new overall deal with Apple, to develop new shows exclusively for Apple, Deadline reported.
The Maurice Sendak Foundation
The children’s author Maurice Sendak passed away in 2012, but the author of “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen” continues to inspire projects. The Maurice Sendak Foundation reached an agreement with Apple in July of 2020 to “develop new projects based on Sendak’s books and illustrations.”
The creator of Physical, the Apple TV+ series that debuted in June, reached a two-year overall deal with Apple back in May of 2020. Weisman, a former writer for Desperate Housewives, had previously had a deal with Universal TV.
The film CODA won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and Apple grabbed the rights to the movie for a reported $25 million. A release is set for August, but Apple has also reached a first-look deal with the film’s director, Sian Heder. Heder had previously worked on the Apple TV+ original series Little America.
Speaking of Little America, its co-creator, Lee Eisenberg, signed an overall deal in January of 2020, on the eve of the show’s debut, The Wrap reported at the time. The deal also involved the launch of a new production company called Piece of Work Entertainment.
Dickinson was one of the first Apple TV+ series to debut in November of 2019, and the following spring, its creator Alena Smith agreed to an overall deal with Apple. Per Deadline, the deal entailed developing series exclusively for Apple.
The Irish actress starred with Rob Delaney in the series Catastrophe, which aired on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. But she has since gotten into business with Apple. Sharon Horgan reached a first-look deal with Apple back in 2019.
No projects have been announced, but Horgan, in a recent interview with the Irish Mirror, referenced that she “skipped over the Apple” and hinted at “a really nice story coming up.”
A veteran TV writer whose credits include Fargo, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, Beletsky agreed to a multiyear overall deal with Apple in 2019, on the eve of the Apple TV+ launch, Variety reported.
The co-creator of the Apple TV+ Israeli spy series Tehran agreed to a multi-year first-look deal with Apple in September of 2020, to create “premium projects” for Apple TV+, Deadline reported at the time. Tehran has been renewed by Apple for a second season.