Apple has landed half-hour romantic dramedy Little Voice, from J.J. Abrams and the Waitress duo of Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson. The upcoming streaming platform has given a straight-to-series 10-episode order to the project, which will feature original music by Grammy and Tony Award nominee Bareilles, who is co-hosting Sunday’s 72nd annual Tony Awards.
Nelson (I Am Sam, Stepmom) will write and direct the first episode and serve as showrunner for Little Voice, from Warner Bros TV and Abrams’ studio-based Bad Robot Prods.
A love letter to the diverse musicality of New York, Little Voice, which shares the title of Bareilles’ breakthrough album, explores the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s. It is described as a fresh, intensely romantic tale of the search to find your true voice… and then the courage to use it.
Bareilles and Nelson executive produce with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson.
Apple landed Little Voice after recently making a play for another Abrams/Bad Robot series, the sci-fi drama Demimonde. Bad Robot’s current slate also includes the upcoming Stephen King–inspired drama Castle Rock for Hulu and the drama Lovecraft Country and current hit drama Westworld (created for television by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy and recently renewed for a third season), both for HBO.
Bareilles rose to fame in 2007 with her hit song “Love Song” from her major-label debut album Little Voice, which reached No. 1 in 22 countries and landed her Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy nominations. Bareilles’ sophomore release, 2010’s Kaleidoscope Heart, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard top 200 chart and yielded the hit single “King of Anything,” which earned another Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Bareilles’ third studio album, the 2013 The Blessed Unrest, debuted at No. 2 and was nominated for two Grammys, Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance for her hit single “Brave.”
In her Broadway debut, Bareilles teamed with Nelson for the musical Waitress, based on the 2007 movie. Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics and Nelson wrote the book for the musical, which landed four Tony nominations in 2016 including Best Musical and Best Original Score (Bareilles). Most recently, Bareilles wrote the original song “If I Dare” featured in Fox Searchlight’s 2017 movie Battle of the Sexes.
Nelson’s feature credits also include The Story of Us and Corrina, Corrina.
Little Voice joins Apple’s other upcoming series including three from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine: a morning-show drama starring Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer, and a comedy toplined by Kristen Wiig. Also on Apple’s slate are an Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg, a Ronald D. Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle series, world-building drama See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, as well as an M. Night Shyamalan psychological thriller and comedy Dickinson starring Hailee Steinfeld.