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Disney launches The River on iTunes ahead of UK bow

US horror series The River is to launch via iTunes in the UK 24 hours after its launch on ABC after Disney struck a deal with Apple. This is first time the Hollywood studio has debuted a TV series on the download-to-own service ahead of a traditional launch.

Meanwhile, The River’s creator Oren Peli, the man behind hit supernatural feature film Paranormal Activity, tells TBI why he believes the show will have universal appeal and what it’s like to work with Steven Spielberg.

The River, which is produced by ABC Studios and Spielberg’s Amblin Films, launches on ABC on February 7th as part of the network’s midseason slate. The show tells the story of a famous wildlife expert who goes missing in the Amazon and his family and friends must deal with the supernatural to find him.

Peli told TBI: “One interesting thing is that the cast is very international and features British, German and Mexican actors. The location is not in an American hospital or police station so we think it has universal appeal.”

The Israeli-born director added that after DreamWorks picked up the homemade Paranormal Activity, he had a meeting with Spielberg. “He said ‘we should do a TV show together,” said Peli. “There’s nothing scary on television so it’s great if we can do something raw and authentic.”