Reese Witherspoon in "The Morning Show"

  • Two seasons of Apple's upcoming TV series, "The Morning Show," cost $300 million, according to Bloomberg.
  • That's the equivalent of R4.6 billion, and would make it one of the most expensive TV shows ever, on par with Netflix's "The Crown."
  • The show stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell as Apple prepares to take on Netflix at its own game.
  • Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.

Apple is betting big on original content for its upcoming streaming platform, Apple TV Plus.

Front and centre in the tech giant's jump into the streaming war is "The Morning Show," a drama series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell about "the free fall of an early morning newscast in the wake of a scandal, and its struggle to survive in an era when news arrives in the palm of your hand."

Apple is dropping $300 million – the equivalent of R4.6 billion – for two seasons of the series (20 episodes), according to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Aniston and Witherspoon would make $1.25 million (around R19 million) per episode.

At R2.3 billion a season, that makes it one of the most expensive TV shows ever, though the Bloomberg report didn't specify whether that includes both production and marketing costs, as well as actors' salaries.

Regardless, Apple is heavily investing in Apple TV Plus to compete with Netflix and the upcoming Disney Plus.

For comparison, the first season of Netflix's "The Crown" cost $130 million for 10 episodes, according to The Daily Beast. The hospital drama "ER" cost $13 million an episode in its later seasons, and seasons exceeded 20 episodes.

In its final season, "Game of Thrones" had a production budget of $15 million an episode, or $90 million for the entire six-episode season, according to Variety. These are regarded as some of the most expensive TV shows ever made.

Bloomberg also noted that Apple wants to roll out the service by November, when Disney is launching its own. The company is eyeing a monthly price of $9.99 in the US, according to Bloomberg, though that could easily change.

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