Five days before the official relaunch of TVGN as Pop, the network’s president Brad Schwartz made his first TCA appearance to give TV critics a preview of what its identity and programming. Pop, which officially launches Jan. 14, announced four unscripted shows in development, including Losing It, based on Morgan Spurlock and John Stamos’ Web series, and a docu-series starring popular radio host Elvis Duran. They will look to join the shows from Pop’s starting lineup that includes Rock This Boat: New Kids On The Block, set on the 90s boy band’s celebrity cruise, The Story Behind, about the genesis of hit series, Queens of Drama, starring a slew of soap stars, and season 2 of Unusually Thicke.
Schwartz reiterated Pop’s focus on fandom and adults 25-35 who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s whom he called “modern grownups.”
He outlined Pop’s approach to celebrity when he talked about the network’s daily Popsugar-branded show. “It is not gossipy, it’s a fun, optimistic celebration of what’s going on in pop culture.”
Schwartz dismissed any suggestion of a conflict as Pop’s red carpet coverage is being handled by corporate sibling ET, while its daily program is wit Popsugar. As for collaborating with ET on live red carpet coverage, Schwartz called it “perfect marriage with our owners,” noting that ET has never covered red carpet live despite being very well positioned as celebrities’ first stop on the carpet. “We will get all the big stars and will get them first,” he said.
One of the existing TVGN programs that will make the transition to Pop is companion Big Brother series Big Brother After Dark, also a result of corporate synergy. (TVGN/Pop is co-owned by Lionsgate and CBS). He noted that Big Brother After Dark is TVGN’s second highest rated show whose ratings go up +50% in C3.
Schwartz was asked about TVGN’s move to pull 7th Heaven repeats after the child molestation charges against star Stephen Collins surfaced. He called it “an easy decision.” “It was a show that was heartfelt, and the father (Collins’ character) was a priest. It wasn’t a big hit for us.” “Cosby is a little bigger,” Schwartz said when asked to weigh in on the Bill Cosby controversy that has led to the pulling of reruns of his 1980s sitcom by TV Land but wouldn’t comment further.
Schwartz said that as a new network, they have to “watch pennies very closely,” so the plan was to possibly expand into original scripted programming 2-3 years down the road until the network had the opportunity to acquire Eugene’s Levy’s comedy Schitt’s Creek, which reunites him with Catherine O’Hara. “This dream of a show came to us,” Schwartz said, noting that Pop’s target audience grew up with Levy and O’Hara’s SCTV and that their new series is “a sharp commentery about pop culture.”
Here are details on Pop’s projects in development:
Based on the popular Yahoo web series, this celebrity-hosted television series will capture sit-down interviews with stars as they recount their unforgettable and often hilarious real-life stories of losing their virginity. Bits are recreated by puppets, animation, live action and claymation leading up to and following the big event. LOSING IT is produced by Warrior Poets and John Stamos Productions with executive producers Morgan Spurlock, John Stamos, Ethan Goldman and Jeremy Chilnick.
ELVIS DURAN PROJECT
Elvis Duran, one of the most listened-to syndicated radio personalities in the U.S. and host of his own show on Z100 in New York (“Elvis Duran and the Morning Show”), is the subject of a docu-series that follows Elvis and his employees both at work and play. The series will feature superstar guests and platinum selling artists who stop by the radio show, road trips with fans, and best moments from fan-fueled music festivals and live events. ELVIS DURAN PROJECT is produced by Left/Right with executive producers Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Elvis Duran, David Katz and Mitchell Stewart.
CELEBRITY INC. pairs celebrities with their dream product and an aspiring inventor to showcase the ultimate product launch and illustrate the power of celebrity endorsement. In each episode, a different celebrity is featured while teaming up with top product development company Edison Nation, LLC to identify the most talented aspiring inventors. After spending a week in product development camp, the inventors pitch their product to the celebrity, and one person is chosen to have their product launched, with the celebrity’s name attached, in stores nationwide and online. CELEBRITY INC. is executive produced by Robert Friedman of Bungalow Media + Entertainment, LLC and Colby Gaines of Back Roads Entertainment.
A handful of celebrities take the stage in WORST EVER to recount their hilarious, embarrassing and sometimes shocking “Worst Ever” scenarios such as a date, audition, break-up, fight, family dinner, sexual encounter or interview. Hosted by actress Christine Lakin (“Step by Step”), and based on her and Alec Ledd’s live stage show in Los Angeles, the series is a wry, candid and honest look at how celebrities aren’t immune to life’s most awkward moments. WORST EVER is produced by Thank You, Brain! with executive producers Krysia Plonka, Tracey Baird, Christine Lakin and Alec Ledd.