Streaming Round-Up (1/15/21): Apple TV Plus Orders Oprah Docuseries, HBO’s ‘Insecure’ To Shoot Final Season
Apple TV+ has ordered a two-part docuseries about Oprah Winfrey, which charts 25 years of American history through Winfrey’s eyes, as actress (“The Color Purple”), philanthropist and popular talk-show host. Kevin MacDonald will direct the series, alongside executive producer Lisa Erspamer. They are the team behind the doc “Whitney,” about singer Whitney Houston.
Also, “Insecure” will end after its upcoming season five on HBO/HBO Max. The acclaimed comedy was renewed for a fifth season in May 2020 as season four kicked off. The fifth and final season is scheduled to begin production later this month and to stream later this year. “Issa Rae has turned insecurity into an iconic form of comedy,” said Amy Gravitt, executive vice president of HBO Programming.
Series co-creator Issa Rae heads the ensemble cast, which also includes Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales and Alexander Hodge.
Here’s a look at other deals and upcoming projects:
Julia Child is getting a drama based on the famed chef’s life at HBO Max. It’s inspired by the ebullient cook and her TV show “The French Chef.” Child will be played by Sarah Lancashire. The series also stars David Hyde Pierce, Brittany Bradford, Fran Kranz, Fiona Glascott, Bebe Neuwirth, Isabella Rossellini, and Jefferson Mays. “We are so happy to help bring the incomparable Julia Child back to the small screen, when we need her more than ever,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max.
“Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel” will be a future new four-episode docuseries on Netflix. It addresses the true disappearance of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian visiting Los Angles who was staying at the Cecil Hotel in February 2013. When she vanished, all her possessions, wallet, ID, etc. were left in her room. The doc also examines the Cecil Hotel, which was a rest spot for serial killers.
“Flora & Ulysses,” which premieres on Disney+ on Feb. 19, released its trailer. The film, based on the Newbery Award-winning book by Kate Dicamillo, is about 10-year-old Flora, a comic-book fan whose parents have separated. After rescuing a squirrel she names Ulysses, Flora discovers he has superhero powers, which changes her life. “Flora & Ulysses” stars Matilda Lawler, Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz, Anna Deavere Smith, Danny Pudi, Benjamin Evans Ainsworth, Janeane Garofolo and Kate McCucci.
“Kitbag,” the next Ridley Scott film, will be financed and produced by Apple Studios. It’s about the life of Napoleon and stars Joaquin Phoenix as the French military leader who created an empire but lost the woman he loved. “Kitbag” examines Napoleon’s origins and military successes, as well as his volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine. David Scarpa wrote the screenplay. Scott’s company also has a first-look TV deal with Apple TV+.
Disney+’s reboot of Doogie Howser has nabbed its new Doogie: Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who plays a mixed-race 16-year-old on “Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.” Lee starred on Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack.” Set in modern-day Hawaii, the 10-episode comedy follows Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha as she balances her medical career and life as a teen.
“Ramy” star May Calamawy is expected to join the Disney+ series “Moon Knight.” No word yet on what her role will be. Oscar Isaac plays the title character, a mercenary with various alter egos to better fight crime.