The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the Richard Gere drama, Bastards, is out at Apple’s new service, TV+. Scrapping a show before the first episode even airs isn’t uncommon in the realm of TV. But scrapping a show because it didn’t focus enough on being aspirational and exploring the joys of friendship sure as hell is.
According to THR, Bastards was the subject of a bidding war late last year. Apple won the war with a lucrative offer and noted producers Howard Gordon (24, Homeland) and Pulitzer nominee Warren Leight (Law and Order: SVU & CI) and were set to co-write the show and serve as showrunners.
The show would follow Gere’s character and his best friend, best friends and Vietnam veterans who were both in love with the same woman. After the woman is killed in a car accident the friends reunite, rehash old grievances, and then embark on a shooting spree intended as vigilantism.
Apple thought yikes as well. The company has already been rumoured to be averse to controversial content. Last year Apple killed early TV+ offering, Vital Signs, a violent drama about the life of regular Apple partner Dr Dre. It was apparently too violent.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that The Morning Show, which just dropped a trailer last month and is about a morning news show facing a major crisis after one of the hosts is accused of assaulting women, was delayed because Apple objected to the comedy and dark tone.
According to THR, Apple apparently didn’t object to the planned shooting spree in Bastards. Instead, it was upset with the focus of the show. Gordon, backed by the production companies involved, wanted to focus on the darker elements of the show’s conceit. Apple “wanted to ensure the series was focused on the heart and emotion of the central friendship.”
The show has now apparently been killed at Apple, though it is unclear if it could be picked up at another streaming service, or traditional network. This is the first show that has been out and out killed by Apple since Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg took over as Apple’s worldwide video and chief content officers.