The distinctive nature of Apple CEO Steve Jobs has always made him a ripe target for satire. Over the years, he’s been lampooned blatantly on sketch shows Saturday Night Live and MADtv as well as more subtly on shows like 30 Rock and Chuck. Now cable channel Epix is taking Jobs-inspired entertainment to a whole new level: the sitcom.
The New York Times reports that Epix and Media Rights Capital have teamed up to produce the half-hour show, billed as a satire about “a fictional Silicon Valley CEO whose ego is a study in power and greed.” Before you object that such a vague premise could be based on any number of executives in the tech industry, you might want to consider two things: first, the series will be written by Newsweek contributor Dan Lyons—better known as Fake Steve Jobs—and second, it's titled iCon.
I know: totally about Larry Ellison, right?
Overseeing the show is Larry Charles, a writer and producer on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm as well as director of Sacha Baron Cohen vehicles Borat and Brüno. Charles described the show as “nothing less than a modern Citizen Kane” showing that, if nothing else, he’s already mastered a Jobs-like talent for hyperbole.
Jobs is notoriously prickly about how he’s portrayed in the media. At one extreme, Apple infamously pulled all titles by publisher Wiley from its store shelves after the company released a book called iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business (no relation to the TV show). On the flipside, after Noah Wyle portrayed the Apple co-founder in the 1999 TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, Jobs invited the actor to reprise his role at that year’s Macworld Expo keynote.
Which path will iCon take? Since Epix isn’t currently airing any original shows (its first is due out this year), it can at least take solace in the fact that there’s nothing for Apple to pull from the iTunes Store.