‘Carpool Karaoke’ will become a series … on Apple Music

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Apple has emerged as the surprise buyer of the unscripted TV series based on the “Carpool Karaoke” segment of CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

The tech giant’s Apple Music service will distribute the series to its members in 100 countries worldwide. Apple sees the show as a natural vehicle to drive online activity for its streaming-music venture.

“Carpool Karaoke” segments, in which Corden drives around with a musician or celebrity singing hit songs, has been a spur for sales and streaming activity for the songs featured in the segments — which made it a natural acquisition for Apple Music. The show sparked a bidding war among cable and subscription VOD outlets because of the segments have been such viral sensations for “The Late Late Show.”

Apple’s announcement comes just a few hours after Spike TV gave a green light to a similar show, “Caraoke Showdown,” hosted by Craig Robinson.

“We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services. “It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”

The most recent installment with first lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliott has grabbed nearly 32 million views on YouTube since July 20. “Carpool” segments to date have generated more than 800 million views, according to CBS.

Corden will be an executive producer of the series but will not serve as host. “Late Late Show” EP Ben Winston will also be an exec producer.

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