Apple Buys Rights to Series Based on New York Times Climate Change Article

Source: By Brooks Barnes, New York Times • Posted: Friday, August 24, 2018

LOS ANGELES — A recent New York Times Magazine article about climate change and the political forces that have stymied efforts to combat the phenomenon will become an Apple television project.

Apple announced on Tuesday that it had bought the rights to a series produced by Anonymous Content and based on “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change,” a novelistic article by Nathaniel Rich that stretched more than 30,000 words and took up an entire issue of The Times Magazine this month. At least a half-dozen bidders sought to acquire the nonfiction project.

Anonymous Content is a production and management company known for films like “Spotlight” and partly owned by a firm controlled by Laurene Powell Jobs. Mr. Rich, who is working on a related book called “Losing Earth” to be published next year, will serve as an executive producer with Steve Golin, the Oscar-winning founder of Anonymous.

The “Losing Earth” article recounted how, from 1979 to 1989, a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians tried to save the world from the ravages of climate change before it was too late. The article was produced with the support of the Pulitzer Center and was based on more than 18 months of reporting and over 100 interviews.

“‘Losing Earth’ is an extremely important piece of journalism, and we are thrilled it will get a wider audience,” Jordan Cohen, a spokesman for The Times, said.

Apple has said it will start streaming its television offerings next year, when it will begin competing against Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in earnest. When Apple began courting producers last year, it said it had a budget of about $1 billion to work with, a sum that appears conservative based on the large number of projects the company has scooped up.

Apple has announced a content deal with Oprah Winfrey; ordered a show called “Little Voice” from the producer J. J. Abrams, with songs written by Sara Bareilles; and given the green light to “Little America,” an anthology series from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the husband-and-wife screenwriting duo behind “The Big Sick.” Other projects include an expensive drama with a morning-show setting that stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston and a revival of the 1980s Steven Spielberg anthology series “Amazing Stories.”