WSJ: Apple Shying Away From R-Rated Original Content

Tripp Mickle and Joe Flint, reporting for the WSJ:

Tim Cook sat down more than a year ago to watch Apple Inc.’s first scripted drama, “Vital Signs,” and was troubled by what he saw. The show, a dark, semi-biographical tale of hip hop artist Dr. Dre, featured characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns.

It’s too violent, Mr. Cook told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine, said people familiar with Apple’s entertainment plans. Apple can’t show this. […]

Apple’s entertainment team must walk a line few in Hollywood would consider. Since Mr. Cook spiked “Vital Signs,” Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.

I’ve been curious about exactly this point ever since Apple began this. What’s the difference, though, between R-rated original content produced by Apple and R-rated content produced by others that Apple sells in the iTunes Store? Mickle and Flint point out that even Disney is producing raunchy movies like the Deadpool series.

And how in the world did Vital Signs go the distance into production without knowing where the red line was? Shouldn’t this have been flagged when it was just a screenplay? It really does seem like the Eddy/Jimmy content team is an island within the company. I actually hope there’s some sort of misunderstanding in the sourcing for this story, and that they didn’t really shoot a pilot (or a whole season?) only to throw it away.

Saturday, 22 September 2018