YouTube is facing an uphill battle in their effort to jump into the fray of original scripted programming but today they made a very wise choice. To try and boost the profile of their YouTubeRed subscription service the company is partnering with Channing and Jenna Dewan-Tatum on a Step Up drama series based on the popular 2006 dance movie that cemented them as one of Hollywood’s sexiest couples.
Lionsgate TV will produce the show on which the Tatums, Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, and Meredith Milton will executive produce. Deadline noted that Lionsgate has a strong history when it comes to helping networks launch their original programming initiatives. They worked with AMC on Mad Men, Netflix on Orange is the New Black, and WGN America on the woefully underappreciated Manhattan.
Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s head of original content, made the announcement during Vidcon along with updates on several other series renewals and launches. Step Up is slated to debut on YouTubeRed next year.
“I’ve been a fan of the Step Up movies for years and always believed the films would translate into an awesome original series,” Daniels told attendees. “We know that dance is a hugely successful global category on YouTube, so I’m excited to have a series rooted in such an enormously popular genre on our platform.”
The other series coming to YouTubeRed are a mixture of established mainstream stars and social media personalities. Rhett & Link’s Buddy System will feature comedians like Chris Parnell and Molly Shannon in a story where two men must regain control of their internet empire form their mutual ex-girlfriend, and evil infomercial queen.
Vlogumentary is a personal look at the lives and behind the scenes elements of some of YouTube’s biggest content creators. Produced by Morgan Spurlock and Shay Butler.
An untitled animated series run by Family Guy and Futurama writer Michael Rowe will star three of YouTube’s top content creators – SeaNanners, The MrSark, and VanossGaming – as a team of paranormal investigators.
Michael Stevens, creator of YouTube channel Vsauce hosts an untitled educational series exploring the human mind, using special guests as well as himself to illustrate human nature.
YouTubeRed has also given renewals to Scare Pewdiepie, Foursome, and greenlit a Smoosh movie based on episodic series Part Timers.
YouTubeRed has really flown under the radar in the world of alternate service providers, partly because it’s still working out what it wants to be. Launched in 2014 as Music Key, an ad-free streaming music video service, it was retooled (in part) when a YouTube exec’s daughter couldn’t understand why videos from Frozen didn’t qualify to be ad-free. A subscription element was added and the company began looking for YouTube personalities that also had the unique, Hollywood ability to tell good stories as well as churn out content.
Now, in addition to access to original content, subscribing removes ads on regular YouTube videos on all apps and TVs, though ads will still show up on any paid channels or TV and movie purchases or rentals. YouTubeRed also allows for some videos to be downloaded for up to 30 days.
Some of those conditions may change if top celebrity content like Step Up starts to take off.
This new series is one of several that the Tatum’s are working on as either actors or producers. Jenna recently has been a regular on Supergirl and just signed with NBC for a new dance competition on which she’ll serve as a panelist/mentor. Channing is creating a Comedy Central animated series, a new 80s cop spoof series, and is starring in and/or producing the films Gambit, MIB 23, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle for 2017.