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Oprah, Spielberg help Apple launch new streaming service

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NEW YORK (AP) — Apple trotted out few details on its long-awaiting streaming service on Monday, but it didn’t skimp on high-wattage celebrity.

Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston were part of a parade of A-listers who took the stage at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, where the main attractions are usually the company’s latest high-tech gadgets.

This time, though, it was the likes of Big Bird and Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, who took the spotlight at Apple’s latest live-streamed product launch.

“I’m joining forces with Apple,” declared Winfrey. “They’re in a billion pockets, y’all.”

Apple chief executive Tim Cook gave what he called “a sneak peek” of the tech giant’s plans to transform television viewing and jump — some analysts say belatedly — into the streaming business Netflix has pioneered.

The service, dubbed Apple TV Plus, will debut in the fall in more than 100 countries and feature ad-free original series and films. Cook and Apple declined to say how much the nascent streaming service will cost. It was unveiled as an extension of Apple’s redesigned TV app, which will bundle third-party services like HBO, CBS and Showtime, along with a user’s cable subscription and some streaming services like Hulu. Netflix has said it won’t partake.

Much of both Hollywood and Silicon Valley had eagerly awaited details on Apple’s much-ballyhooed foray into original programming, something the company had been quietly prepping for the last few years — and laying aside at least $1 billion to do so. But it’s not the only company readying a rival to Netflix, which spent $12 billion on content last year. The Walt Disney Co. and AT&T’s WarnerMedia are both set to unveil their own platforms later this year.

Standing out from the pack will be a challenge for each. Disney’s streaming service, named Disney-Plus, even bears a plus-symbol just like Apple’s service.

“It’s not just another streaming service,” said Zack Van Amburg, who along with Jamie Erlicht was hired away from Sony TV to head Apple’s video programming.

Cook didn’t map out how extensive Apple’s streaming library will be; it has about two dozen series and a handful of movies in the pipeline. But he promised big ambitions. “We partnered with the most thoughtful, accomplished and award-winning group of creative visionaries who have ever come together in one place, to create a new service unlike anything that’s been done before,” he said.

But what the presentation lacked in particulars it sought to make up for with star power and sizzle-reel teases of its upcoming slate. Some of the highlights:

— Oprah: Winfrey said she has two documentaries in the works for Apple TV Plus (one on mental health, one on the toll of sexual harassment in the workplace) and is planning “the most stimulating book club on the planet.” The TV personality, whose book club choices have made dozens of works into instant best-sellers, said the Apple broadcast will include streamed conversations with authors. Winfrey already has her OWN network and “O″ magazine where she still makes book picks, most recently Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” ″I am proud to be a part of this platform where I can connect with people around the world to create positive change,” said Winfrey.

— “Amazing Stories”: Executive produced by Steve Spielberg, “Amazing Stories” is a science-fiction anthology series the filmmaker is reviving. It first ran for two seasons from 1985-1987 on NBC. “We want to transport the audience with every single episode,” said Spielberg.

— “The Morning Show”: Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell star in this series about the behind-the-scenes drama at a TV morning show. Witherspoon said it will “pull back the curtain on men and women in the high-stakes battle of morning television.” It is, notably, Aniston’s first time back in television since “Friends.” ″And I’m really excited about it,” she said.

— “Little America”: Kumail Nanjiani unveiled this anthology series based on true-life tales of immigrants or children of immigrants from across the country. “This is no such thing as the other,” said the comedian-actor-writer. “There is only us.”

— “See”: This post-apocalyptic series stars Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard takes places centuries after a cataclysmic event where all of humanity has lost its sight.

Other shows in development include the thriller “Defending Jacob,” in which Chris Evans plays a father whose 14-year-old son is accused of murder; an untitled drama from M. Night Shyamalan; a series from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle; a show about computer coding for preschoolers called “Helpsters,” with Big Bird; a drama series about youth basketball produced by Kevin Durant; “Dickinson,” starring Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson; and “Little Voice,” a show about a young musician produced by J. J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles, who performed the theme song Monday.

Apple’s nascent movie aims were harder to discern Monday. It previously entered into a partnership with A24, the indie label behind films like “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird.” Their first film together is to be “On the Rocks,” Sofia Coppola’s reunion with “Lost in Translation” star Bill Murray. He plays a larger-than-life father reconnecting with his daughter, played by Rashida Jones.

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Celebrity

[PHOTOS] 2022 Cannes Film Festival: Supermodel Adriana Lima Boasts Baby Bump on ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Red Carpet

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Adriana Lima walks the "Top Gun: Maverick" Cannes Film Festival red carpet with boyfriend Andre Lemmers a baby bump. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

CANNES, France (FNN) – Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima brought a guest with her to the red carpet premiere of Top Gun: Maverick. No, we don’t mean her boyfriend Andre Lemmers, but her adorable–and well-styled–bun in the oven.

Lima, 40, graced the red carpet dressed in Chopard jewelry and a black long-sleeved Balmain gown with a baby bump cutout.

Lima announced in February that she was expecting her third child, this one being the first with Lemmers, and her first son. She has two daughters, Valentina, 12, and Sienna, 9, with ex-husband Marco Jarić.

 

Boyfriend Andrew Lemmers holds Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima's baby bump on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick." Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Boyfriend Andrew Lemmers holds Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima’s baby bump on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick.” Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

 

Boyfriend Andrew Lemmers and Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima enjoy a quick smooch on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick." Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Boyfriend Andrew Lemmers and Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima enjoy a quick smooch on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick.” Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

 

Supermodel Adriana Lima's hair almost perfectly the texture of the her baby bump-baring Balmain gown on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick." Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Supermodel Adriana Lima’s hair almost perfectly the texture of the her baby bump-baring Balmain gown on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick.” Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

 

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Florida National News editor Mellissa Thomas and FNN News international correspondent Patience Eding contributed to this report. | info@floridanationalnews.com

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[PHOTOS] 2022 Cannes Film Festival: Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Cast Grace the Red Carpet

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The "Top Gun: Maverick" cast pose for photos on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

CANNES, France (FNN) – Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, and the cast and crew of Top Gun: Maverick landed for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet in style. (No, literally–the aircraft actually landed.)

Executive Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his wife also joined the excitement on the red carpet for one of the most anticipated sequels in all of Hollywood.

 

"Top Gun: Maverick" star and producer Tom Cruise poses for photos on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the film's premiere. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

“Top Gun: Maverick” star and producer Tom Cruise poses for photos on the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the film’s premiere. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

 

The "Top Gun: Maverick" cast pose for red carpet photos at the top of the Palais for the film's premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Their arrival also included a flyover of red, white and blue smoke, in honor of the film, which everyone watched in amazement. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

The “Top Gun: Maverick” cast pose for red carpet photos at the top of the Palais for the film’s premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Their arrival also included a flyover of red, white and blue smoke, in honor of the film, which everyone watched in amazement. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Tom Cruise talks with "Top Gun: Maverick" co-star Jennifer Connelly during the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet premiere of their film. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Tom Cruise talks with “Top Gun: Maverick” co-star Jennifer Connelly during the 2022 Cannes Film Festival red carpet premiere of their film. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Top Gun: Maverick star and producer Tom Cruise poses for photos during the 2022 Cannes Film Festival photocall earlier in the day prior to the film's premiere. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

Top Gun: Maverick star and producer Tom Cruise poses for photos during the 2022 Cannes Film Festival photocall earlier in the day prior to the film’s premiere. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept via Florida National News.

 

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Florida National News editor Mellissa Thomas and FNN News international correspondent Patience Eding contributed to this report. | info@floridanationalnews.com

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Interfaith Group Asks Starbucks to Drop Vegan Milk Surcharge

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FILE - Actor James Cromwell arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Cromwell glued his hand to a midtown Manhattan Starbucks counter to protest the coffee chain’s extra charge for plant-based milk, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A group of Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders is asking Starbucks to stop charging extra for vegan milk alternatives, saying the practice amounts to a tax on people who have embraced plant-based lifestyles.

In a statement issued Friday, an interfaith coalition led by Nevada-based Hindu activist Rajan Zed pressed the coffee chain to end the surcharges it called “unethical and unfair.”

“A coffee company should not be in the business of taxing individuals who had chosen the plant-based lifestyle,” said Zed’s statement, which was also signed by Thomas W. Blake, an Episcopal priest; Greek Orthodox clergyman Stephen R. Karcher; Buddhist priest Matthew Fisher; and Jewish rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer.

The religious leaders cited numerous reasons why some Starbucks customers prefer alternatives to dairy, including dietary restrictions, ethical issues, environmental concerns, lactose intolerance, milk allergies and animal welfare.

Those who want plant-based milk should not have to pay more, they said, calling on the Seattle-based company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, and board chair Mellody Hobson to immediately drop the surcharge.

Starbucks outlets in the United States typically charge 50 cents to a dollar more for drinks made with plant-based milks.

Starbucks doesn’t charge for a splash of nondairy milk, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk, though it does levy a surcharge for customized beverages made largely with those substitutes, spokesperson Megan Adams told The Associated Press.

It is not the first time Starbucks’ surcharge has riled the public. On Tuesday, activist and actor James Cromwell glued his hand to the counter of a Starbucks franchise in New York City to protest the practice.

Cromwell, 81, later used a knife to scrape it off. Police said there were no arrests.

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