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Apple has cancelled one of the original shows that would have aired on Apple TV Plus on the eve of the launch.
Bastards was planned as an eight-episode series about two Vietnam veterans who go on a shooting rampage after the woman they both love dies in an accident, but creative differences between showrunners Warren Leight and Howard Gordon and Apple executives put an early stop to that.
Leight and Gordon reportedly preferred to concentrate on the story’s darker aspects, but Apple executives didn’t agree.
They were looking for “aspirational programming” and wanted to highlight the two men’s friendship.
This is a clear indication that Apple plans to focus on family-friendly content.
That would place it on the other end of the spectrum from HBO, which makes fewer TV shows than its cable and network competitors, but specifically targets an adult audience with shows about ‘anti-heroes’ such as The Sopranos (Tony Soprano) and The Wire (Omar Little).
Networks such as AMC and FX did quite well following the same route.
Apple clearly prefers not to directly compete with them.
The company’s TV Plus might have more in common with Disney+, which will soon launch a couple of original series aimed at families.
However, Disney does have an advantage with its existing selection of TV shows and films that people can watch while they wait for new shows.
Apple Plus TV will most likely come with a free trial offering series such as Dickinson and The Morning Show.
Its initial selection is nevertheless not nearly as extensive as any of its competitors, making the cancellation of Bastards a significant setback.
Apple, on the other hand, has huge financial resources, and unlike competitors such as Netflix that rely heavily on subscriptions to survive, it can be profitable without Apple TV.
The company is expected to announce information such as subscription rates and the official launch date next week.