April 25, 2017 / 12:56 AM / 8 months ago

Apple delays release of first original series 'Carpool Karaoke'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Apple Inc’s Apple Music has delayed the release of its first original video series, an adaptation of comedian James Corden’s popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment, the company said.

FILE PHOTO: Show host James Corden speaks at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

At the Code Media conference in February, Apple said the show would debut in April and be available only to Apple Music subscribers. Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, showed a trailer for the series featuring celebrities such as Will Smith, John Legend, Ariana Grande and Alicia Keys.

A premiere party for “Carpool Karaoke” scheduled for March in Los Angeles was postponed without explanation days before it was to take place. This week, the company again postponed its launch party, which had been rescheduled for Monday.

Apple, a company known for its precisely coordinated product launches, declined to explain the delays, but said in a statement that “Carpool Karaoke: The Series will premiere on Apple Music later this year.”

The series is an adaptation of a segment than runs during CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and sees him driving with a celebrity and singing a medley of songs.

A representative for CBS Television Studios said in an email on Monday: “We’re excited about our ‘Carpool Karaoke’ for Apple Music, and look forward to everyone seeing it later this year.”

In January, Corden told reporters at a Television Critics Association panel that he was “incredibly proud” that it would be Apple Music’s first show.

Launched in mid-2015, Apple Music has struggled to gain traction. The company said that the service, which sells for $9.99 a month and is heavily promoted to iPhone users, had 20 million subscribers at the end of 2016.

Rival streaming platform Spotify, which offers both a free version and a $9.99 monthly subscription, said in March it had 50 million subscribers.

Apple Music has primarily offered streaming music to its subscribers, but hoped additional exclusive video content would lure new customers.

Apple has said that each of the 16 half-hour episodes it is planning of “Carpool Karaoke” would pair two celebrities spending the day driving around together.

Apple Music has also announced plans for a reality show, “Planet of the Apps,” which Cue said was due this spring.

Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sue Horton and Peter Cooney

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