Apple and Oprah Winfrey have joined forces in a multiyear content deal, the company announced Friday.
It is the latest high-profile producing partnership for the technology behemoth, which is currently developing TV series with writers and actors including Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Wiig and M. Night Shyamalan as it ramps up its plans to create and distribute original content.
It is also the latest salvo in a talent arms race among streaming services. In the last year, Netflix has announced deals with the major producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, and with Barack and Michelle Obama, who will produce shows and films for the service. Amazon recently signed film and TV deals with Jordan Peele and Nicole Kidman.
In a news release, Apple said Winfrey would “create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.” It did not offer any specifics about what type of programming she would create, or the terms of the deal.
Apple, which is building a 128,000 square foot headquarters for its entertainment division in Culver City, California, has said it was investing $1 billion into original programming. Its first show, last year’s “Planet of the Apps,” was a flop. But since then, the company has courted big name producers with the allure of high budgets and a respected brand.
For Winfrey, Apple presents an opportunity to expand her empire. She, of course, has many projects, including overseeing her cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and being a contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning” (in addition to fending off persistent rumors about running for president in 2020). This week, Winfrey announced that she would be hosting a three-day “Girls’ Getaway” cruise in 2019 with her longtime friend Gayle King on a Holland America ship.
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