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TV and Movies

Apple, J.J. Abrams team for music dramedy series Little Voice

Songwriter Sara Bareilles will serenade Apple viewers with original music.

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Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

J.J. Abrams may be best known for blockbuster action and sci-fi movies, but he's about to get in touch with his musical side.

Apple just placed a straight-to-series, 10-episode order for half-hour dramedy Little Voice. Abrams is set as to be executive producer through his Bad Robot Productions.

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles will write original music for the show, which shares its title with her 2007 major-label debut album. Showrunner Jessie Nelson previously worked with Bareilles on the Tony-nominated musical Waitress.

Apple describes the series as "a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York" and says it "explores the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early twenties."

Apple has already been spending some of its reported $1 billion budget for original programming as it prepares to take on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon in the booming streaming-video market. 

Apple announced last week it placed a straight-to-series order for half-hour coming-of-age comedy series Dickinson, based on the life and times of the reclusive 1800s poet Emily Dickinson. It stars Oscar-nominated actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld.

Dickinson joins already announced shows that include a reboot of the cult '80s horror anthology Amazing Stories and an as-yet-unnamed comedy starring Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters). 

Details are still scarce about how viewers will access the programming. Apple's under-the-radar original shows Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke have been available through the Apple Music service.