Apple has announced that Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company, will be joining its "Planet of the Apps" reality TV series as a mentor. Alba joins Gwyneth Paltrow, will.i.am and technology investor Gary Vaynerchuk, who were previously announced as mentors and advisers on the show, which is expected to air in 2017.
Apple is bringing out the big guns for its foray into producing its first ever TV show. Jessica Alba is well known for transforming her career as a successful actress into head of the hugely successful Honest Company, which manufactures ethical household goods and beauty products and which has rapidly grown into a business with a multi-billion dollar valuation.
Alba joins heavy hitters Paltrow, who is also a successful Hollywood actress, along with having created the Goop website, a weekly lifestyle publication which also sells a range of products, and will.i.am, founder of the hitmaking group The Black Eyed Peas and successful recording artist and producer of hit songs for numerous other pop stars including Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Will.i.am is also involved in numerous technology ventures, and was also named "director of creative innovation" for Intel Corp. in 2011, aiding in the development of smartphones, tablets and laptops.
"I started the Honest Company because I saw an opportunity in the market for a brand that spoke to conscious consumers and created safe and effective products for every need. As a mentor on 'Planet of the Apps,' I'm looking forward to meeting entrepreneurs looking to address a problem with an innovative solution, and to help them realize their vision. I can't wait to see the ideas the app developers bring to the table," Alba said in a statement about her new role.
It was also announced that venture capital firm Lightspeed Ventures, who was the initial institutional investor in Alba's Honest Company as well as in Snapchat, has dedicated $10 million to funding the apps developed as a result of the program.
The producers of the show have been reviewing one-minute app idea submissions, with potential contestants promising to have a functional app ready by Sept. 21. The show is expected to tape in Los Angeles from late 2016 into early 2017.
Although Apple has tapped some huge stars to participate, it remains to be seen whether a technology competition will translate into compelling on-screen entertainment.
Recently, Yahoo scrapped its formerly hyped reality competition to find the next big EDM DJ, even though reality mogul Simon Cowell was slated to produce the show. That move, however, could have reflected the turmoil within the company itself, since it was purchased by Verizon, rather than the viability of the actual project.