Harry Potter movie actors reunite for new iOS game

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The forthcoming Harry Potter iOS game, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will have an impressively star-studded cast. Developers Jam City have revealed that the game will feature six actors from the wizarding movie franchise reprising their roles. These include Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore, Warwick Davis as Professor Flitwick, Sally […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Watch ‘Harry Potter’ Actors, Fans Get Hype About ‘Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery’

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

We’re still not 100 percent sure when Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is going to be gracing our phones and tablets, though it’s already made it’s first cautious inroads toward release. In the meantime, Jam City has been doing an excellent job keeping the hype train to the Wizarding World fully fueled so we can all hop on at Platform 9 3/4 when the time arrives.

The company’s latest effort, which you can see below, is a video of fans getting their hands on Hogwarts Mystery (before you, but hey) at the A Celebration of Harry Potter event in Orlando back at the end of January. Now granted, there’s a certain home field advantage element to the reactions of people playing the game given the nature of the event, but it’s pretty clear that the attendees are pretty psyched about being able to create their own wizard or witch and sending them to Hogwarts.

Oh, and if you’re even the least bit observant, you’ll notice the familiar faces of actors from the Harry Potter movies getting to experience an early build of the game as well.

The video doesn’t show off too much in the way of gameplay, though previous videos have given more of a peek behind the curtain in that regard, and there are gameplay videos out there from people who have been playing the game in soft launch too. One thing that comes across in this latest clip is how much players enjoy interacting with the characters they know and love from the books and movies, and that might ultimately be what sets Hogwarts Mystery apart from other Harry Potter games, including the upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

In any case, we’ll send out an owl the next time there’s a video or more word on a release date, and if one of the Weasleys wants to help us get some hands-on time in the interim, we wouldn’t say no.


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Facebook knows it must do more to fight bad actors

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Not everything at SXSW 2018 was about films or gadgets. A few blocks away from the Austin Convention Center, where the event is being held, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) hosted a number of panels for its Innovation Policy Day. In a sessio…
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Apple TV Shows: What’s New, Release Dates, Actors, and More

Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s plans for original TV content.

Apple has spent the last couple of years filling out an executive team and buying up shows in an effort to build a slate of original content that it can offer customers. The people include executives from entertainment giants like Sony and Amazon. The shows include a drama that goes behind the scenes of morning shows and a sci-fi series from the creator of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.

That’s actually all we know for sure. Apple has said very little about its recent original content efforts outside the launches of Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. The company has said nothing about how these new shows will be distributed, when they’ll premiere, or how much it will cost to watch them.

In an effort to keep you up to date on Apple’s continuing original content efforts, here’s everything you need to know about them.

List of Announced Apple TV Shows

Untitled morning show drama with Jennifer Anniston and Resse Witherspoon

Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon will star in an as-yet untitled drama set behind the scenes of the highly competitive morning show industry. Apple has given this show a two-season order.

From Variety:

The untitled Aniston-Witherspoon drama hails from Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res studio, Aniston’s Echo Films and Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner. The starry project was highly sought after by a number of outlets and landed a two-season order (10 episodes per season) from Apple. Media Res, Aniston and Witherspoon are the principle owners of the show.

The series is based on an idea from Ellenberg and will draw background material from CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter’s 2013 book “Top of the Morning,” which recounted the recent rivalry between NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Jay Carson (“House of Cards”) is writing the pilot and will serve as showrunner. Stelter is serving as a consultant.

Given how many of Apple’s current projects seem sci-fi based, picking up this show should really help round out the programming.

Untitled new sci-fi drama from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica)

Coming from Battlestar Galactica‘s Ronald D. Moore, almost nothing is known about this series so far. Apple has given this show a straight-to-series order as well.

From Deadline:

Ronald D. Moore is heading back to space. Apple has given a straight-to-series order to a space drama from the Battlestar Galactica developer. The untitled project hails from Sony Pictures Television and Moore’s studio-based Tall Ship Productions.

Created and written by Moore, along with Fargo co-executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, the untitled series explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended. Tall Ship Prods.’ Moore and Maril Davis executive produce with Wolpert and Nedivi.

A terrific concept from a terrific team. This could be the type of show that gets people to sign up and stay signed up.

Amazing Stories reboot

Exciting, right? In a deal with Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Television, Apple will produce at least 10 episodes of this sci-fi/fantasy anthology series. This is a reboot of a series produced by Spielberg in the mid-1980s.

From Variety:

“Amazing Stories” hails from Universal Television and Amblin Television. Spielberg, Fuller, Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey and “Bones” creator Hart Hanson are exec producers. Spielberg spearheaded an earlier edition of “Amazing Stories” that ran from 1985 to 1987 on NBC.

The Apple iteration aims to enlist notable filmmakers and creative talent for each episode.

Amazing Stories occupies an almost Indiana Jones-style place in the hearts of many who came of age during the original series. Nostalgia, especially when it’s linked to so influential a creator, can be a powerful attractor.

See (from the creators o Peaky Blinders)

It is. Another straight-to-series order, this world-building drama set in the future will be written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence.

From Deadline:

In a competitive situation, Apple has landed the hot TV package See with a straight-to-series order. An epic, world-building drama set in the future, the project is written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2). It comes from the recently launched scripted drama venture between Peter Chernin’s Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content.

Peaky Blinders is grim but captivating. Another distopian future show among several, it’s the quality of the writing and acting that’ll have to stand out.

Are You Sleeping, starring Octavia Spencer

Based on the novel of the same name, this series starring Octavia Spencer follows a how the reopening of a murder case impacts the victim’s daughter and starts to reshape how the world sees the victim.

From Variety:

Created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, the series will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Chernin Ent/Endeavor Content.

The series is based on Kathleen Barber’s novel of the same name, which gives a glimpse into the obsession with true crime podcasts and “challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.” Sarah Koenig, the creator and producer behind true crime podcast “Serial,” will consult on the series.)

Crime stories, especially when given the room to really breathe, are proven commodities.

Home (documentary/reality)

The first documentary series from Apple, Home will consist of a 10-episode first season exploring extraordinary homes around the world and talk to the people who built them.

From Variety:

The series will offer viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary homes, and delves into the minds of the people who built them. Apple has ordered 10, one-hour episodes of the new series.

“Home” hails from executive producers Matt Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser of Altimeter Films, Matthew Weaver, Ian Orefice and Bruce Gersh from Time Inc. Productions, and Joe Poulin, CEO of Luxury Retreats. Tyrnauer also directs the docuseries. Altimeter Films, Time Inc. Productions, and Media Weaver Entertainment produce.

Even if it’s only Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous reimagined for the 2020s, the combination of wealth and reality TV should draw an audience.

Untitled half-hour comedy, starring Kristen Wiig

The first comedy series greenlit by Apple will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company and star Kristen Wiig.

From Variety:

The 10-episode, half-hour comedy is inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short story collection “You Think It, I’ll Say It.” It marks Wiig’s first regular television role since she left “Saturday Night Live” in 2012. She will also serve as an executive producer on the show.

Colleen McGuinness created the series and will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Witherspoon will executive produce via her Hello Sunshine banner along with Lauren Neustadter and Wiig. Sittenfeld will serve as a consulting producer. This also marks Apple’s first half-hour scripted comedy order.

People love to laugh, and it’s good to see a comedy on Apple’s production slate.

Untitled drama from La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle

Apple has given another straight-to-series order, this time for a drama from La La Land writer/director Damien Chazelle. Little is known about the plot of the series at this time.

From Variety:

Details of the series’ plot are being kept under wraps, but Chazelle will write and direct every episode of the series, as well as serving as executive producer. In addition to Chazelle, the series will be executive produced by Jordan Horowitz via his Original Headquarters banner, and Fred Berger for Automatik Entertainment. Media Rights Capital is the studio.

Apple’s producing it’s own TV shows?

Indeed they are. Of course, you may have already watched a couple of them. Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke both debuted in 2017, though there’s been no word at this time on continuation on either of those series.

As for future content, Apple has been hiring executives and ordering shows over the last year to offer a solid, if seemingly-modest, slate of content to customers.

Does Apple have a team for producing new shows, or is it just kind of winging it?

Apple has hired a number of executives from the world of television to help jumpstart its own efforts. One of its biggest moves came in mid-2017 when it hiredJamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, both formerly of Sony. The duo has helped shepherd projects like Breaking Bad, Justified, and The Crown.

At the end of 2017, Apple hired three high-profile entertainment executives away from Amazon Studios. Tara Sorensen, the head of Amazon’s children’s programming, has made the move to Cupertino, along with international development exec Carina Walker and business affairs head Tara Pietri.

What kinds of TV projects are being developed? Are they all kid-friendly?

While we don’t know the exact nature of every project that Apple’s ordered, we can infer some things about what their content offers will look like.

There were some rumors towards the end of last year that Apple would focus on more family-friendly programming, and the hiring of Sorensen from Amazon certainly suggests that they want to develop those kind of shows. But looking at some of the other shows that the company has ordered, it seems a likely that there will also be shows geared more towards adults.

For instance, Apple has ordered two seasons of a new drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston set in the highly competitive and cutthroat world morning TV news and lifestyle programs. That doesn’t exactly seem like children’s fare. There’s also the upcoming sci-fi drama series from Ronald D. Moore, currently the show runner of Starz’s Outlander. Before Outlander, Moore developed and ran the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Both shows certainly contain their share of adult content.

So if you’re worried that Apple’s just going to market their service towards one type of customers, it’s okay to calm down.

Is Apple going to start a Netflix competitor?

At this stage, we know so little about Apple’s distribution plans that everything is pure speculation. While it would seem likely that Apple would offer a new service, the company has so far distributed its original shows, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, using Apple Music. Subscribers to that service are able to watch every episode of both shows at no additional cost.

But could they create a standalone video service, like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video? Apple has the infrastructure but, at least right now, the company is a little light on content, though that’s bound to change. It also has a vast library of video content with the shows and movies on iTunes, but the company would have to cut deals to offer unlimited streaming on that content, rather than selling it all à la carte.

The most likely option, at least in the short term, is for Apple to keep doing what it’s doing and associate its streaming video efforts with Apple Music. The company could bundle it in with the service, or even treat it as a paid add-on.

Where will we be able to watch these shows?

Again, this is an area that’s a little fuzzy. That being said, if these shows to appear in the TV app on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad, I would personally be shocked. It comes pre-installed on all of those devices, and now that it has notifications, Apple can alert you whenever one of its original shows premieres or adds a new episode.

Any questions about Apple’s upcoming original TV content?

If you have any questions about Apple’s original content efforts, kindly leave a comment. Also keep coming back to this page, which we’ll be updating over time as more information comes in.

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Apple video content push reportedly helping increase actors’ salaries in negotiations with TV networks

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Apple’s drive for video content is seemingly having a wider effect on how much actors get paid, with a report claiming Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman bolstered their pay from HBO for a project following after Witherspoon made a similar high-value deal for an Apple-commissioned drama.
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Apple-owned FileMaker launches ad campaign featuring actors from TV show ‘The Office’

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Apple Subsidiary FileMaker Shares New Ad Starring Actors From The Office

Apple Subsidiary FileMaker, which makes a popular database platform, today launched a new ad campaign that brings together former stars of hit television show “The Office.”

Kate Flannery (Meredith), Leslie David Baker (Stanley), and Paul Lieberstein (Toby) team up in a three minute spot called “Farm Time.” The ad features a news report on a popular beet farm where the trio use FileMaker to run their operation.

FileMaker has had a teaser site in place for the last few weeks leading up to the launch of the ad spot, and that site initially led to some speculation that it a revival of a proposed “The Office” spinoff called “The Farm.”

There were also rumors floating around suggesting “Farm Time” could be a three-part commercial for Apple products, but as it turns out, it’s simply a promotional spot for FileMaker.

For those unfamiliar with FileMaker, it’s a database platform that’s designed to make it easy for businesses to build a range of customized apps that work across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and the web. The most recent version of FileMaker is FileMaker 16, introduced in March of 2017.

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YouTube CEO promises more moderation to prevent ‘bad actors’ from ‘exploiting our openness’

YouTube CEO Susan Wojicki published a blog post this evening, addressing some of the ongoing controversies around trust and safety that have roiled the video platform over the last year. Wojicki began by emphasizing all the ways in which she has seen YouTube become a force for good over the last decade. But the YouTube chief exec also acknowledged that she’s “seen up-close that there can be another, more troubling, side of YouTube’s openness.”

Wojicki is referencing the variety of extremist videos, child exploitation schemes, and other disturbing content on YouTube that’s resulted in massive backlash and pulled advertising campaigns. “I’ve seen how some bad actors are exploiting our openness to mislead, manipulate, harass or even harm,”…

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Video game voice actors reach deal to end almost year-long strike

SAG-AFTRA has reached a "tentative agreement" with leading video games publishers to end its strike. After months of debate, and rejected deals, voice artists began striking on October 21st. Along the way, they also carried out picketing campaigns ag…
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