The Wall Street Journal reports that the company dropped the project, claiming it was “too violent” for the platform. Filled with violence, sex and drugs, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook personally made the call to cancel the production, with claims that the company was looking to steer away from “gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.”
Back in 2016, the company revealed they were planning to dabble in the video streaming business, competing with household names Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. As part of their announcement, the tech giant was reportedly working in-house, tapping Dr. Dre to star and executively produce the six-episode series dubbed Vital Signs.
Top tier actors have been tied to the series like Michael K. Williams, Ian McShane (Deadwood) and Sam Rockwell, with six episodes shot and produced by a variety of filmmakers like Paul Hunter and Dre himself. Rolling Stone notes that some of the graphic content included characters snorting lines of cocaine and engaging in motel room orgies. McShane shared a few details behind the series last year, revealing that the series was scheduled to drop in August of 2018.
At the time of inception, Vital Signs was the first and only scripted original on deck at Apple. Set to be a semi-autobiographical drama, each episode would thematically tackle one of Dre’s emotions. Conceived by Dr. Dre himself, the vehicle apparently took off when the mogul pitched his idea to partner Jimmy Iovine, who had previously assisted Dre in the widespread success of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
In addition, Apple’s crackdown is apparently affecting more than Dre and Iovine. The company has also axed comedian Whitney Cummings’ #MeToo themed show while asking other productions to water down sensitive themes.
As of now, Apple Music has approximately 20 shows on their roster, with little to no wiggle room for adult content.