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Apple sought original content deals with Bill Simmons and Top Gear cast, reports say

Coming on the heels of rumors pointing to Apple's interest in creating original content, which included a bid for the cast of hit BBC show Top Gear, a report on Tuesday claims the company was in discussions to bring former ESPN star Bill Simmons on board.

Source: ESPN

According to Re/code, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue was in talks with Simmons this summer to forge an exclusive podcast deal. Nothing came of the negotiations, however, which sources point out were "preliminary at best," the report said.

Yahoo was also looking to nab the sports commentator for its video service, but Simmons ultimately landed at HBO in a multi-year deal that covers multiple content platforms, including a podcast title launching in October.

Apple is said to be mulling an entry into original content production in a capacity akin to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. The project is in its very early stages and might never see the light of day, but Cue is apparently testing the waters in Hollywood for potential partnerships on long-form movies and episodic series.

A report on Monday said Apple made an "audacious bid" for Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the cast of BBC's Top Gear, who recently left the show after Clarkson was dismissed for punching a producer in the face while on set. The trio was picked up by Amazon in July for what is thought to be a large-sum contract.

Some expected Apple to enter the entertainment industry through music, an area long dominated by iTunes, but the company's content creation efforts are so far limited to Apple Music's Beats 1 radio.