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ABC Rebrands iOS and Apple TV Apps With 'Throwback' Shows and New Interface

ABC today announced a rebranding of its Watch ABC app for iOS and Apple TV devices, now simply called "ABC," aimed at offering a wider breath of content as well as new, exclusive digital series for users who download the app. The interface has also been redesigned and the app is exclusive to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (via Entertainment Weekly). One of the more interesting aspects of the new ABC app is that the network has added 38 full seasons of "throwback" shows, meaning that anyone can download the app and watch entire seasons of now-cancelled ABC series, without having to sign into a paid TV service account. Some of these old shows include Ugly Betty, Schoolhouse Rock, Ellen, My So-Called Life, and Dinosaurs. “Our team has completely re-imagined the digital viewing experience for ABC fans,” said Karin Gilford, ABC’s senior vice president of digital media, in a statement. “In addition to the current ABC shows that fans know and love, we are introducing new ABCd original digital series that are fun, fresh and perfect for mobile, and we are making full seasons of all-time favorite shows available for binging.” Otherwise, ABC will function much in the same fashion as its predecessor, allowing those who can provide proof of a TV subscription access to brand-new episodes of the latest TV from the network, like Scandal and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the addition of new digital short-form video series. Users will also be able to stream live TV from within the app. ABC is available to download from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link

Apple Enlists Networks to Negotiate With Local Affiliates in Streaming TV Talks

Apple's discussions with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox for its much-rumored streaming TV service are gaining momentum, according to the New York Post. The report claims that Apple has enlisted networks to negotiate with local TV stations on their behalf, and the networks are said to be close to securing those rights with affiliate groups such as Tribune and Sinclair. Networks are reportedly telling affiliates that they will be able to share the revenue generated from Apple's streaming TV service if they offer their feeds on the platform. The inclusion of local TV stations is important for the success of Apple's cable-cutter service, expected to launch in the fall for devices including iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The service is speculated to cost between $10 and $40 per month.At CBS, executives are talking to affiliates about conducting Apple negotiations on their behalf, one TV source confirmed. At Fox, the network “has the ability to negotiate with Apple [for affiliates], or it will have it very soon,” a second executive added.Disney and CBS will likely be among the first networks to reach a deal with Apple for its à-la-carte streaming TV service, according to the report, although some sticking points remain in the negotiations. Cable channels such as Discovery and ESPN are also expected to be included in the subscription-based service, which is rumored to include a skinny bundle of around 25

Apple Collected Over 18,000 Hours of Health and Fitness Data for Apple Watch

ABC was recently invited to Apple's top-secret health and fitness lab for the Apple Watch for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the testing facility, accompanied by Apple executives Jeff Williams and Jay Blahnik. The network shared a preview of its visit on Good Morning America earlier today, and has now provided a closer look at the facility on the latest episode of late night show Nightline. The five-minute interview behind closed doors revealed that Apple collected over 18,000 hours of health and fitness data based on over 10,000 workout sessions that Apple employees participated in over the past two years at the company's secretive fitness lab. Blahnik, director of fitness and health technologies at Apple, also confirmed that the company tested the Apple Watch outdoors based on a variety of activities. Lower-quality YouTube video available for viewing outside the United States Apple Watch will be available April 24, with pre-orders starting April 10 in the first wave of launch countries: United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and United Kingdom. The wrist-worn device starts at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport, while the stainless steel models will retail for between $549 to $1,099 and the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will cost up to $17,000.

How Upcoming 'Modern Family' Episode Was Shot Entirely on iPhone and iPad Cameras

Last week, it was announced that the February 25 episode of Emmy-winning sitcom "Modern Family" would take place solely on a MacBook screen and only be shot with cameras from iPhones and iPads. BuzzFeed News got in touch with the episode's director and series co-creator Steven Levitan to find out how they shot the episode. In a video originally provided to BuzzFeed News, and now available for download on iTunes [Direct Link], Levitan explains that all of the iPhones were kept in holsters held by cameramen. To avoid making the shot look like it was being filmed by a floating device, the actors were told to hold their arm near the cameramen's arm. Initially, Levitan and the crew wanted the actors to hold the phone throughout film, but they found it wasn't as east to control and that actors would misplace the devices as well as shoot off-set. The episode took over three months to complete, with a lot of time dedicated to post production as the special effects team had to rebuild OS X Yosemite from the ground up, mimicking its animations and art style while also taking artistic license to make certain things better suited for the story they wanted to tell. While the episode's format isn't the same as the standard "Modern Family" format, Levitan says there have been other instances during the show's six year run where they've used iPhones to shoot certain scenes. For instance, instead of staging a basketball game for a scene where a character dresses as a mascot, Levitan shot his son's basketball game on his iPhone and used special effects to splice the character

Upcoming 'Modern Family' Episode Shot Entirely on iPhone and iPad Cameras

The upcoming February 25 episode of ABC's multiple Emmy-winning sitcom "Modern Family" will take place solely on a MacBook screen (via The Verge). The episode, being shot by director and series co-creator Steve Levitan, used an iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 to shoot every scene. The episode's story focuses on Claire Dunphy's (Julie Bowen) attempt to reach her daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland) by contacting various other members of the Dunphy/Pritchett clan via multiple forms of MacBook apps, all while stuck in an airport. The show will not only use various chat apps like Apple's own FaceTime and Messages, but include references to everything from Reminders to the now-obsolete iPhoto. Levitan mentioned that the idea for the episode came from his own experience communicating with his kids in college through the vast array of chat software available today."I have two daughters at college, and we do a lot of FaceTiming," he said at a recent press event in Los Angeles. He was working one day with a number of emails and websites open on his machine, when a video chat from his daughter popped up. On the screen he saw his work, his daughter, himself, and his wife doing something behind him all at the same time. "And I realized on that screen you could tell so much about my life. So the original idea was from there."The show has been a proponent of Apple-related gadgets in the past, with an early-series episode mostly dedicated to Claire's attempt to get Phil the original iPad. Apple was even reported to lend the show a slew of iPhones, iPads, and MacBook Pros for shooting the video