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Apple lands Spielberg, Hanks drama

Technology giant Apple has won the race to host Masters of the Air, a drama series set in the Second World War from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and actor Tom Hanks, for its streaming service.

Director Steven Spielberg was among those joining Apple for the launch of its new service

Apple TV+ will be home to the drama series which also has Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone US production label on board. It will be the first time Apple has also served as the studio on a project.

The series is based on a book by Donald L Miller and was originally slated at WarnerMedia-owned US premium cablenet HBO, which is locked with Apple and several other big US players, including Netflix, Amazon and Comcast, in an ongoing arms race for their respective streaming services.

HBO confirmed on Friday it had decided not to move ahead with the project, which is the third part of a trilogy of epic wartime miniseries from Spielberg and Hanks, following on from 2001’s Band of Brothers and 2010’s US$200m epic The Pacific, both of which aired on HBO in the US.

The latest series focuses on the American Eighth Air Force and Band of Brothers’ writer John Orloff is again on board.

Spielberg, Hanks and Goetzman will serve as executive producers. Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Graham Yost will co-executive produce alongside Amblin Television’s Darryl Frank and Playtone’s Justin Falvey and Steven Shareshian.

In 2017, Spielberg paired with Apple to develop a 10-part reboot of his science fiction classic Amazing Stories.

In September, Apple confirmed the pricing structure of its forthcoming SVoD service and announced its launch date of November 1.

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