Apple and Dr. Dre Are Said to Be Planning an Original TV Show


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Dr. Dre is working on an original television show with Apple, which would be the company’s first big TV venture.

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Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is working on an original television show with Dr. Dre, the co-founder of Beats Music and an Apple executive, according to a person with knowledge of the project.

The show, currently titled “Vital Signs,” will be an Apple Music project offered through Apple TV, the company’s streaming video device, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the plans because they are private.

The show, which was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter, could be Apple’s first big television venture. The person said it was not clear when the show would be available.

Apple has been trying to make inroads into the living room, where viewers still watch tremendous amounts of content and advertisers still jockey for screen time. But the company trails competitors. The streaming device category is dominated by smart televisions, the Roku box and Google’s Chromecast, data from the research firm eMarketer shows.

“There has been such a proliferation of video streaming services and hardware in the past year that the only way Apple can get a leg up in the market is to differentiate with original content,” said Paul Verna, an analyst at eMarketer.

But Apple has struggled with content, while companies like Netflix and Amazon already have award-winning original television shows.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for Internet software and services, has been trying to put together a bundle of television shows for Apple TV that would be smaller than what cable companies offer, said a person with knowledge of the plan who declined to be identified because the discussions are private. But television and cable companies have balked at a deal. Apple has also held talks with film and television executives about financing original programs to be offered exclusively through Apple TV.

Creating a show with Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, would help Apple overcome some of its content difficulties. Dr. Dre joined Apple after it acquired his Beats Music for $3 billion in 2014. In addition to working with Apple Music, he produced the 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton,” which is based on his musical career. The television show is Dr. Dre’s project and Apple is backing it, one person said.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the project, but noted that the last quarter of 2015 was the best for Apple TV sales.

Apple Music recently signed its own content agreements, including a deal to stream a concert film from Taylor Swift’s world tour.

“Like so many Apple products, Apple TV wants to be a self-sufficient ecosystem,” Mr. Verna said. “If a company has to look within to find entertainment industry talent, thanks to Apple Music and the company’s tremendous entertainment industry contacts, Apple is as well positioned as any company to do so.”



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