Now the big question: Will it work?
Asked to describe what will keep their bosses happy, Mr. Erlicht said, “Critically acclaimed quality shows, first and foremost. Ultimately subscribers matter. But Day 1, high-quality, distinctive, critically acclaimed programming will drive everything.”
In addition to “The Morning Show,” several other Apple series have been made available to critics, including: “Dickinson,” starring Hailee Steinfeld as the poet Emily Dickinson; “See,” a fantasy epic starring Jason Momoa that takes place in a future where everyone has gone blind; and a space drama, “For All Mankind,” co-created by Ronald D. Moore.
Apple has gone Hollywood for a reason. With iPhone sales flattening, the company sought out other ways to generate revenue. In addition to Apple TV Plus, it has unveiled a credit card and started a video-game subscription service.
Unlike Facebook and Google’s YouTube, which have tentatively dipped their toes in entertainment, Apple has gone all-in. Within a year, Apple TV Plus could have as much content as longtime cable networks like FX or Showtime.
Apple is going into the business at a time when tech rivals like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have a huge head start in making original streaming fare. Apple will also face vigorous competition from the Walt Disney Company, AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit and NBCUniversal. Disney Plus, offering decades of movies and shows, will be available Nov. 12. NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service and AT&T’s HBO Max will be ready next year.
The next few months will suggest whether or not the executives in Cupertino, Calif., have the stomach for the unpredictable entertainment business. Before Apple TV Plus, the company only flirted with the idea, under Eddy Cue, its senior vice president for internet software and services. In 2017, Mr. Cue hired Mr. Erlicht and Mr. Van Amburg, who were the top executives at Sony’s television studio, as the heads of Apple TV Plus.