AppleTV+ has been up and running for 10 days, and after a launch that was greeted with mixed reviews, there are already changes in the executive suites.
Kim Rozenfeld is leaving as head of current scripted programming and unscripted content. Ironically, he was one of the first hires by Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the co-heads of AppleTV+ programming. Rozenfeld worked with both executives at Sony.
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Matt Cherniss, who oversees scripted development, adds Rozenfeld's duties to his portfolio.
The move comes just one day before Disney+ enters the more-crowded-by-the-day streaming wars. Two of Disney's big selling points -- Marvel and Star Wars -- are actually offering countdown clocks for when you can access the comic book and space opera offerings from both on the new service.
Disney is hoping its original offerings, such as "The Mandalorian" from the "Star Wars" universe, will receive better reviews than the AppleTV+ series garnered, which were at best mixed.
Its highly touted drama "The Morning Show," starring Jennifer Anniston, "looks fantastic," according to The Atlantic, but critic Sophie Gilbert added that the first three episodes "are remarkably flat for such a lavish venture."
TV critic Matthew Gilbert wrote he "wasn’t bored watching the first three episodes" in The Boston Globe but was "consistently underwhelmed by the show’s hazy point of view."
Words were a little more positive for "See" starring "Aquaman" headliner Jason Momoa. Cnet offered that the series "is an entertaining post-Thrones watch. I've certainly seen worse". But that may have been Momoa's high-water mark for this apocalyptic tale where 21st-century survivors of a virus are all blind. Joel Kelly of Decider called it "silly" and Dan Jackson of Thrillist targeted the drama as a "misfire."
Amazon scored a hit with its "Man in the High Castle," a tale of "what if" Germany had won World War II. Apple counters with an alternative history space drama, "For All Mankind," which was seen as "pretty slow to get going," according to Kristi Turnquist of The Oregonian. In Chicago though, Richard Roeper of the Sun-Times saw a little more potential: "If every episode of 'For All Mankind' reached the level of the first 20 minutes of the series premiere, I'd be hailing it as one of the outstanding shows of the year." However, Roeper added that "things slow down after that."
"If every episode of 'For All Mankind' reached the level of the first 20 minutes of the series premiere, I'd be hailing it as one of the outstanding shows of the year. . . . (but) "things slow down after that."
The longtime bible of the entertainment industry, Variety, was unsure what to make of Apple's fourth offering. "Watching 'Dickinson' is a strange experience," the trade publication wrote of the series starring Hailee Steinfeld as the 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson with a modern millennial's point of view.
But critics be damned, Apple has already renewed all four series. This should not be much of a surprise, as The Hollywood Reporter -- though Apple declined to confirm at the time -- announced that production was already underway for "See" and "Dickinson" on Oct. 15. The trade publication also reported that "The Morning Show" is looking for a replacement for Steve Carell, who had only agreed to a one-year deal.
Apple will add two more original series in the next few weeks. M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense" and "Wayward Pines") brings his thriller "Servant" to the service on Nov. 28, and Octavia Spencer's "Truth Be Told" is due Dec. 6.