Despite its almost universally negative reception from critics, Apple has chosen to renew James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” series for Apple Music for a second season. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves announced the renewal on the company’s earning call this week, as part of its commitment to producing more original content, according to a report from Deadline.
The series, which is based on the recurring segment from “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” has been streaming on Apple Music since August 2017. It’s essentially an expanded format of what had previously been much shorter clips when it was aired on TV. It also doesn’t have Corden hosting, save for a couple of the episodes.
In 20+-minute long videos, the Apple series has featured a cavalcade of guests like Will Smith, Alicia Keys, John Legend, LeBron James, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Seth MacFarlane, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, John Cena, Shakira, Trevor Noah, and many others.
Despite the big names, reviews for the show have not been kind.
The Guardian, for example, called it “marginally more watchable than the feeble ‘Planet of the Apps,’” which is a low blow, considering how badly “Planet of the Apps” tanked. Variety said that by making the show a standalone series, its “weaknesses are magnified.” And TechCrunch’s Brian Heater said the show is “not a compelling reason to subscribe to Apple Music.”
And yet, it will return – which must indicate that at least some people are watching. Deadline says, in fact, that “Carpool Karaoke” has been the most popular video content on Apple Music. (It didn’t say how it sourced this claim, however.)
Of course, the series currently has very little competition, as Apple Music today features few other original series. That will soon change, however.
Apple has upped its investment in originals, and now has a number of more promising shows in the works, including a Witherspoon-backed comedy starring Kristen Wiig and thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a documentary series about extraordinary homes, a revival of “Amazing Stories” exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, a new space drama from “Battlestar Galactica’s” creator Ronald D. Moore, called “See,” a scripted basketball show based on Kevin Durant’s life, and show from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle.