Stargate On Apple TV+? MGM Might Be Considering A Sale

The new streaming service needs content, and MGM has it. Could a sale to Apple be what finally gets Stargate back on the air?

SG-1 Team (Season 7)

While we generally don’t report on the ins-and-outs of the business world, recent news about MGM is certainly worth talking about in the Stargate community. In 2020 it’s looking not entirely unrealistic that the storied Hollywood studio — and with it the Stargate TV and film franchise — could end up under new ownership.

We’re not talking about the studio selling off the rights to Stargate. Instead, the richest company in the world appears to be interested in acquiring MGM and its library of assets.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Apple has been in preliminary conversations with both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and also the Pac-12 Conference (the western collegiate athletic group). Both would offer the company ways to expand the programming depth and audience reach of its new streaming service, Apple TV+, which launched in November.

A possible deal with MGM Holdings, Inc. could involve portions or even all of the company.

The Hollywood Reporter followed up with a report this week, suggesting that members of MGM’s board — who have thus far been resistant to the idea of selling — might now be open to changing their minds.

Jason Momoa in See

APPLE NEEDS SHOWS

Apple is worth over $1 trillion and is flush with cash — an estimated $250 billion, according to one Wall Street analyst. MGM could command $10 billion, which would be a hefty investment for sure. But it may be one that Apple is willing to make in order to energize its costly venture into the entertainment space.

Apple TV+ debuted with original shows like Jason Momoa’s See and Jennifer Aniston’s The Morning Show. Critics haven’t been all that kind to either — but more importantly, as Observer.com notes, Apple has not yet hit the cultural zeitgeist the way that its competitors have.

It’s most immediate competitor today may be fellow newcomer Disney+, which … well, Baby Yoda.

Apple TV+ debuted at $4.99 per month, with nine original shows and a need to build a subscriber base in order to compete in this rapidly changing, a la carte world of streaming entertainment.

Both Apple TV+ and Disney+ come with backing from big companies that can afford to go all-in, in the hopes of building the next Netflix or Hulu. But Apple has to strike now, lest it find itself in a distant fifth or sixth place in the streaming world when NBC’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max launch later this year.

The Langfords (Stargate Origins)

‘WE WANT STARGATE’

Stargate’s own portion of the MGM library boasts three films and three television series, together running 17 combined seasons and more than 350 episodes. And the fan base for the sci-fi franchise remains active and vocal, rallying (more than once) for the studio to give the green light to a new, in-canon project.

One obvious outlet for MGM’s content — including a fourth Stargate show — is Epix, the premium cable channel that the company bought outright more $1 billion in 2017. A number of niche series have found success there, including a TV adaptation of 1995’s Get Shorty. We mentioned Epix in 2018, as a potential new home for a Stargate show.

Instead Stargate got a 10-part Web series, in 2018’s Stargate Origins. Its home was Stargate Command, MGM’s own experimental venture into building a first-party streaming platform. The studio announced this past October that it was shutting down the service at the end of 2019.

An acquisition of MGM would put Stargate in the hands of a company hungry for hits. And Apple has already demonstrated a friendliness toward science fiction and fantasy. Set 600 in the future, See came with a reputed price tag of $240 million for two seasons (nearly $15 million per episode). Also premiering last November was Ronald D. Moore’s alternate history space exploration series For All Mankind. And Apple is also developing a television adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s class Foundation series, and a revival of Steven Spielberg’s classic anthology series Amazing Stories.

But the new service doesn’t have a popular, fandom friendly, outer space franchise to hang its hat on. Disney+ has Star Wars and Marvel. CBS All Access has Star Trek. Now even Amazon has The Expanse.

James Bond (MGM)

RISK AVERSE

One more reason MGM might be motivated to sell: the company is highly leveraged, according to THR. This means that while its assets are highly valued it also holds a substantial amount of debt, and selling to Apple (Comcast, Sony, and Viacom-CBS have also been floated as potential suitors) would offer stakeholders an immediate return on their investment.

The studio owns the likes of James Bond, Rocky, Tomb Raider, Legally Blonde, and a deep library of thousands of titles that for years has been coveted by investors and suitors. Its television business also goes back decades, featuring not only jewels like Stargate but more recent hits including Vikings, The Handmaid’s Tale, and a host of non-scripted programs, such as Shark Tank.

But MGM has also relied on numerous partnerships, both in production and distribution, in order to finance its more expensive pictures and manage its risk. This practice has become all the more visible since MGM’s 2010 bankruptcy.

That risk aversion, more than anything, might explain why Stargate hasn’t yet made a comeback — in an era where just about every IP from the past generation is finding new life somewhere.

But if Apple or another company were to acquire MGM, driven by a pressing need to fill its own outlet with marquee original programming? That’s when the abundance of caution goes out the window.

Tim Cook Apple TV+ announcement

WILL MGM SELL?

THR‘s reporting suggests that any decision on the part of MGM’s board won’t come until after the April release of No Time to Die, the twenty-fifth installment of the Bond franchise. Execs may be banking on a box office success to put the studio’s valuation in the strongest possible position.

Should Apple come to own the Stargate franchise one day, it would close a poetic circle. When Stargate SG-1 was cancelled in 2006, it was actually Apple that was in talks to rescue the show for an eleventh season. Serious talks were underway to make SG-1 an iTunes original series, until Syfy Channel flexed its non-compete clause in the network’s deal with MGM.

Might Apple end up becoming the franchise’s new home after all?

We’re keeping our eyes open for further developments on the business front that might affect the Stargate franchise. Keep it locked on GateWorld for the latest!

Thanks to Mac for the tip!

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StargateFan
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StargateFan

Such a great news that finally a streaming service might get Stargate and perhaps produce the next new Stargate show!! Although, Netflix would be preffered for convinience and more chances of Stargate getting more traction, Apple TV+ would be a pretty good choice considering the big budget they give to produce their originals and the fact that they already have one other great scifi show, For All Mankind. In the end I don’t think it matters on which streaming platform Stargate continues, as long as it comes back big time!! I’d love to see Stargate on Apple TV+ or even… Read more »

Xaeden
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Xaeden

Netflix would only be a good option if you don’t mind there being a high probability that they’ll cancel their Stargate show after 2-3 seasons. Their business model is simply not friendly to long form storytelling because how many people watch one of their shows is secondary to how many new subscribers a show can bring in. The very few shows that make it past season 3 on Netflix are in some way buzz worthy like “House of Cards,” which provided Netflix with free promotion by winning awards or “Stranger Things,” which is a zeitgeist type show that everyone talks… Read more »

Mollymouse
Member

I worry about something like this only because rebooting (if that’s what they do instead of just continuation) will make it — more “relevant”. I am remembering the 200th show and the young people they had playing the team. It was funny then, but it could be…. I hope that whoever eventually does a new SG (and I don’t doubt it will happen) will understand the ethos and not make it darker or more violent etc., etc.

Nekomajin
Member

If we take into account, that Stargate was never among the most know scifi franchises globally, but still, it was good enough to build a vast mythology, I think a hard reboot is a completely pointless idea. If you throw away the existing mythology, then you throw away the essence of the franchise. If anyone wants to make a show about aliens and history, they can call it Spacedoor or whatever. We have several examples from the past two years, that you can make a hit scifi show with an original idea, which makes you a huge pile of money.… Read more »

MacLean Fitzgerald
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MacLean Fitzgerald

It would be amazing if Apple jumped into fray and purchased MGM, and thus bring back SG with multiple series. Continuing SGU and creating new spin-offs. Re-watching SGU of late, been about 10y since I last watched, and the possibilities are endless. Side note, amazing how well SGU holds up 10y later.

I would subscribe to Apple in a heartbeat and I imagine so would every SG fan.

Reichard Konige
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Reichard Konige

Apple will never get my money

Joe citizen
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Joe citizen

Amen

Christopher Paul StClair
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Christopher Paul StClair

If only it wasn’t APPLE….

Joe citizen
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Joe citizen

Amazon take Stargate from apple or google YouTube please.

Jim Hutto
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Jim Hutto

It would be great to have Stargate continue somewhere. Hopefully a continuation and not a reboot.

NellumNai
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NellumNai

If this pans out and we get Stargate back … lets all thank Syfy for a decade and a half of no ‘gate for no reason other than to be awkward.

thomas lythe
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thomas lythe

Apple would be the worst choice! As big as a fan I still wouldn’t pay for the service, I’d just download it off torrent sites! Netflix or Amazon will be the best place for it to be successful

Joe citizen
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Joe citizen

Amen

Joe citizen
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Joe citizen

Amazon

Joe citizen
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Joe citizen

I heard Jeff was only thing between the expanse and it disappearing and jeff wouldn’t have take all of mgm, mean Jeff take Stargate in pieces at time. I heard he wants something where StarWars crazy fans like spend money. And he got studio that create custom setups for each series. I heard that lord rings series going amazing. If you think amazon got spending large amount of money for mgm viewing rights for series for prime customers currently. I not math expert but some point one or all series wouldn’t less expensive just bring Stargate in house and think… Read more »

Ky56
Member

Please most definitely not Viacom-CBS. They have ruined Star Trek. Don’t let Stargate be next.

Nekomajin
Member

I don’t think they would be interested in a rival franchise.