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Apple signs up Bates Motel co-creator

Apple has agreed an overall deal with Bates Motel co-creator Kerry Ehrin, who will begin by taking over as showrunner on its forthcoming Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon drama.

Kerry Ehri

Ehrin will replace Jay Carson (House of Cards) as showrunner on the untitled drama, which revolves around a morning TV show and two of its hosts.

The multi-year development and production deal, thought to be Apple’s first overall agreement, will kick in once Ehrin’s deal at Universal Television ends in the coming weeks.

Carson cited creative differences for leaving the forthcoming drama, to which Apple gave a two-season order in November. Aniston and Witherspoon are attached to executive produce and star in the show, which is based on an idea by producer Media Res’s Michael Ellenberg.

Ehrin, whose credits include Parenthood, was co-showrunner alongside Carlton Cuse on A&E’s Bates Motel, a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho.

Carson’s exit is the second high-profile departure from an Apple show, after Bryan Fuller reportedly left the tech giant’s forthcoming drama Amazing Stories earlier this year. His replacement has yet to be announced.

Apple has been rapidly expanding its originals slate over the past year, recently ordering a 10×30′ drama from Sixth Sense director M Night Shyamalan.

It is also developing Swagger, a drama based on the early life and career of NBA basketball star Kevin Durant, and Are You Sleeping, an original series based on a novel by Kathleen Barber, to be produced by Witherspoon’s prodco Hello Sunshine and Chernin Entertainment/Endeavor Content.

Additionally, it has commissioned a straight-to-series drama from La La Land director Damien Chazelle, as well as futuristic drama See from Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight.

Apple’s drama moves follow an aggressive staffing up during 2017, with the firm adding some of the biggest names in the content business to its exec team.

Hires include former Sony duo Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amberg, Amazon’s Morgan Wandell as head of international creative development and former Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt to lead efforts in Europe. Apple announced a US$1bn budget to invest in new shows last summer.

Apple’s deal for Ehrin is the latest talent tie-up agreed by a US streamer. Netflix has already secured the services of Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes.

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