Over the weekend, Apple introduced the first two episodes of its new Apple TV+ show, "Oprah Talks COVID-19," for free viewing. In the first episode, Oprah Winfrey interviews actor Idris Elba, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, as well as his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, who is also positive. In the second episode, Oprah talks to longtime friend and supporter Reverand Wintly Phipps about the pandemic.
The interviews are conducted over FaceTime video calls with guests and are meant to offer hope and thought leadership, Oprah explained on Twitter.
"Like millions of people all over the world, I've been staying safer at home for over a week now. I know a lot of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, & uncertain," Oprah wrote in a tweet. "[Because] of that, I want to offer some hope & gather thought leaders & people going through it to add some perspective," she said.
Like millions of people all over the world, I've been staying safer at home for over a week now. I know a lot of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, & uncertain. Bc of that, I want to offer some hope & gather thought leaders & people going through it to add some perspective
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) March 22, 2020
In her interview with Elba, they talk about his decision to go public and his wife's decision to quarantine with him, plus the result of her test. The shows have a more inspirational tone, compared with traditional news interviews.
"I think we all lose as human beings if we just think of this as a physical virus. I think it's here to teach us, show us something about ourselves, as a world. This is a moment for our humanity to either rise or not," Oprah says in one episode.
— Apple TV (@AppleTV) March 22, 2020
Though the majority of Apple TV+ programming is only available on a subscription basis, this COVID-19 show is available for free.
It can be watched across platforms, including via the Apple TV app for Mac, iPad, iPhone, tv.apple.com and Apple TV, as well as through the Apple TV+ app for streaming platforms or via AirPlay-enabled TVs.
The program is one of several Oprah is involved with for Apple TV+.
In 2018, Oprah and Apple announced a multi-year partnership on original content for the Apple TV+ streaming service. That has already resulted in an Apple TV+ show that brings back Oprah's Book Club as a series of author interviews. Another show, produced in partnership with Prince Harry and focused on mental health, has yet to arrive. A third, a documentary about sexual assault in the music industry, was canceled.
This new show, put together quickly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis and using lower-production values, is the first show of its kind on Apple TV+, where the content is typically highly produced and made available in 4K. Apple hasn't said how many episodes will arrive in total, but this is a unique situation.