LIFE IMITATING ART

Now’s your chance to audition for Apple’s reality TV version of “Silicon Valley”

Obsession
Glass
Obsession
Glass

Imagine “American Idol” crossed with “The Bachelor.” Add in a bit of “The Apprentice,” and you might arrive at Apple’s newest gander: an unscripted reality TV show about app developers jockeying for venture capital funding.

This week, Apple and the production company Propagate, its partner on the project, announced an open casting call for “Planet of the Apps”—a new series that, according to Propagate’s press release, simultaneously “will give app creators the chance to break through and share their ideas with the world” and “taps into what is driving culture today.” Applicants must be 18 years old and currently developing an app compatible with Apple’s mobile operating systems (iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS).

While the entry rules are clear, nothing else is. Apple says the show’s inaugural season will film sometime in late 2016 or early 2017 in Los Angeles, California—but remains tight-lipped on both the format of the show and the exact prizes for which people will be competing. Here’s what contestants stand to win right now:

  • featured placement for their app in the App Store
  • up to $10 million in funding from (unnamed) “top-tier VCs” over the course of the season
  • mentorship from some of the world’s (also unnamed) “best experts in tech and entertainment”

Also unclear is how and where the show will air. We can assume the series will be available on Apple’s native platforms, like iTunes and Apple TV, but whether the company is looking to broaden its reach to TV networks or streaming services is anyone’s guess.

Apple has its hands in several other television ventures, including a documentary series on global music and an original drama about Dr. Dre—and the proliferation of these projects suggests the company is serious about carving out space for itself in video, the same way it’s pulling out all the stops on Apple Music, its audio streaming platform. “Planet of the Apps” serves an ingenious dual-purpose, both bolstering Apple’s place in video and promoting Apple’s primary product: mobile phones and apps.

The casting call for the new reality show closes August 26, after which Apple will pick through the undoubtedly massive application pile to select 100 participants. And after that: Expect your ordinary reality-TV dose of chaos, tears, and juicy drama—with the addition of mobile phones and code.

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