Apple's $1 billion bet on original TV shows may begin as soon as March 2019

This time next year, you may be sitting down to watch Apple's first serious push into the world of original TV shows, according to a new report this week.

Between March 2019 and the summer of that year, Apple is planning to launch its new original programming initiative, reports The New York Times citing producers and entertainment executives who have met recently with the company.

Apple's budget is sizeable for a rookie streaming contender starting at $1 billion (about £703m, AU$1.3b). Indications are it'll blow well past that initial figure, too. 

To put that into perspective, Netflix, the most dominant player in video streaming right now, plans to spend up to $8 billion in 2018, says The Times.

Here comes the Apple TV shows

How serious is Apple on original TV shows? It's already made deals for 12 series that are remarkably more ambitious than Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps – its first and critically panned try at original programming through Apple Music.

Nine of Apple's shows already have 'straight-to-series' orders, notes The Times, meaning they're confidently skipping the pilot episode song and dance.

Steven Spielberg is rebooting his 'Amazing Stories' anthology series from the 1980s, the producer behind 'Battlestar Galactica' is working on a new space drama, and the creator of Fox's 'Bob's Burgers' is making a new animated series.

Other big Hollywood names are here, too. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon will star in a series about a fictional morning TV show, SNL alum Kristen Wiig is starring in an unnamed comedy, and Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer will be in an unnamed drama. 

Its stable of directors is even longer. It includes 'La La Land' director Damien Chazelle who will write and direct every episode of a new top-secret series, documentary filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer taking you through lavnish homes, and twisted narrative director M. Night Shyamalan bringing his craft to a new TV series.

On top of all of this, Apple was able to pouch veteran TV executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht from Sony Pictures Television after making hits like 'Breaking Bad' and 'The Crown.' They're heading up Apple's new entertainment division in the same city as Sony Pictures, Culver City, Calif., with a new 128,000-square-foot headquarters.

Apple is setting up shop in Hollywood's backyard and with its biggest names in tow. How it changes the Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video trifecta should be realized in as little as 12 months.

Matt Swider