Apple TV+’s partnership with renowned talk show host Oprah Winfrey is going through a change. Puck reports that behind the scenes, the tech giant has decided not to renew Winfrey’s multi-year deal. The two parties will work on a “project-by-project basis.
In June 2018, Apple announced a multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey to produce original content for Apple TV+ to showcase her unique gift to captivate and connect with audiences.
Apple today announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.
Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.
Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.
But it was a non-exclusive deal that gave Winfrey the freedom to work with other Studios and create content for them and OWN.
Winfrey’s lackluster content for Apple TV+ pushed their relationship to a project-by-project basis
Currently, Winfrey is promoting the documentary on Sidney Poitier she produced for Apple TV+. and she has created shows like The Me You Can’t See, The Oprah Conversation, Oprah Talks COVID-19, and Oprah’s Book Club.
Apple TV+ was recognized by the GLAAD Media Award for a powerful and inclusive episode of “The Oprah Conversation” featuring Elliot Page. But that could not save their partnership.
According to the report, the tech giant is “disappointed” with the host’s output. For example, her successful Adele special or Prince Harry and Megan Markle interviews aired on CBS. The royals drew in 17.1 million viewers.
AppleTV+ programmers Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht probably would’ve loved the royals, and I’ve heard rumblings that they are disappointed with Oprah’s output for the streamer. But that’s the deal they made.
And Apple at least got a perception boost out of signing Oprah back in 2018, when Netflix and Amazon both wanted her. She was key in vouching for the nascent AppleTV+ at that weird celebrity cattle call in Cupertino back in March 2019, months before the service launched. “They’re in a billion pockets, y’all. A billion pockets,” she said, instantly explaining why so many top artists would sign on to Apple sight unseen.
Although she was good for the streamer’s image at the time of launch, things have changed now.
That big multi-year deal she announced in 2018 is ending, and Apple isn’t renewing. Apple confirmed the split to me but declined to comment, as did Winfrey’s rep.