Esquire Network and Oxygen Media announced their new lineups at today’s upfronts in Manhattan. The rollout includes Comedians Of L.A. (working title) and Living With Funny, a joint project of the two channels that will feature one cast on two complementary shows featuring working comedians onstage and at home. Appearing at the presentation was Brandon T. Jackson, one of the featured stand-up guys, who was pretty darned funny: “We moved to the suburbs when I was 15,” he said. “My school was so white they put my picture in every grade in the yearbook so the school” would look integrated. The Oxygen presentation was high-kicked with a personal appearance by the five enthusiastic members of The Prancing Elites Project (just a few blocks east of their Kinky Boots colleagues on Broadway). The Mobile, Alabama-based traveling dance troupe of gay men, whose show was previously announced, debuts on April 22.
Here are the official announcements:
ESQUIRE NETWORK UNVEILS 2015 UPFRONT LINEUP BOLSTERING ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING WITH FIVE NEW SERIES
Network Achieves Double-Digit Growth Across All Key Demographics Over Prior Year
Greenlights First-Of-Its-Kind Co-Production With Oxygen
Companion Docu-Series COMEDIANS OF L.A. And LIVING WITH FUNNY
NEW YORK – March 30, 2015—Esquire Network today announced a robust slate of innovative programming initiatives for 2015 including five original series that reinforce the network’s impressive portfolio and illustrate its ongoing commitment to creating authentic lifestyle programming that speaks to the passions and interests of men today. The new line-up of highly engaging content features COMEDIANS OF L.A. (WT), a groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind series produced in partnership with Oxygen utilizing one cast for two different shows providing viewers a ‘his and hers’ point of view. GOING DEEP WITH DAVID REES, SOMM (WT), THE AGENT and UNITED STATES OF BURGERS round out the network’s 2015 new programming slate. As part of NBCUniversal Lifestyle Networks, the announcement was made today at the Bravo Media, Esquire Network and Oxygen Media Upfront Press Presentation.
Since its September 2013 launch, Esquire Network remains on a growth trajectory that continues to surpass its onset goals: it has built a men’s television channel from the ground up; converted a women’s network to a men’s network; and attracted a highly coveted audience of upscale, affluent, and educated men. Going into the 2015 Upfront, the network’s growth has been accelerated with a marked spike in ratings making it the 2nd fastest growing entertainment cable network and #2 cable network for affluent and educated Men 18-49. Esquire continues to experience remarkable development, achieving double-digit increases across all key demographics in 4Q14 vs. 4Q13.
“It’s an exciting time at Esquire Network and we are proud of our significant and continuous growth. This new line-up will present even more of the compelling, dynamic content that is engaging our male audience, setting us up for further momentum,” said Matt Hanna, Senior Vice President of Original Programming, Esquire Network. “As a young network, we’re constantly on the look-out for new and innovative ways to deliver quality programming – COMEDIANS OF L.A., delivers a groundbreaking concept not only in the way it is produced and presented, but also in the unique and transparent perspective it will give viewers.”
A key factor of Esquire Network’s success has been the steady increase amongst its target demographic. The channel is up +71% Adults 18-49, +57% Men 18-49 and +63% in Total Viewers (1Q15TD vs. 1Q14TD). These metrics confirm Esquire Network’s ability to understand, and effectively connect with the audience it seeks to entertain.
“Esquire’s momentum continues to build, and, as one of the fastest growing cable networks, there is no other destination to reach this multi-dimensional, affluent and educated male audience across platforms within truly rich storytelling experiences,” said Laura Molen, Executive Vice President, Lifestyle Advertising Sales Group, NBCUniversal.
COMEDIANS OF L.A. (working title)
Produced by L. Plummer Media with Lemuel Plummer as Executive Producer.
In this first-of-its kind partnership with Oxygen, Esquire Network points an unflinching lens at the working life of a stand-up comedian onstage, backstage, and offstage. COMEDIANS OF L.A. (WT) follows rising comedians in Hollywood as they tour in concert halls worldwide and appear in blockbuster movies trying to take their careers to the next level. As they live and work in the same circles, the camaraderie and rivalries will surface as they all stand on the precipice of stardom, hustling to arrive. Oxygen’s series, LIVING WITH FUNNY (working title), focuses on their personal lives and relationships with their wives and girlfriends. The series will air during the same period on each network so fans can follow both shows seamlessly. Brandon T. Jackson is the first comedian to commit to both shows. Additional cast will be announced at a later date.
GOING DEEP WITH DAVID REES
Produced by True Entertainment with Christine Connor, Glenda Hersh, Jo Honig, David Rees and Steven Weinstock serving as Executive Producers.
Comedian, writer and entrepreneur David Rees reveals the not so obvious complexities of the most seemingly simple things we do in everyday life. Deemed a “phenomenal cult hero” by Variety and “drolly hilarious” by The New York Times, Rees plays scientific and anthropological host to this how-to show of epic proportions. Each episode delves into the science and the history behind everyday tasks, attempting to de-familiarize the ubiquitous so as to increase our appreciation and wonder. The perfect fit for Esquire, the network will air the original season and produce eight new episodes.
SOMM (working title)
Produced by Left/Right productions with Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman serving as Executive Producers.
Master Sommelier is more than just a title; it’s a badge of honor, and to earn it you need to be a wine expert in mind, body, and spirit – an achievement measured by passing one of the world’s most difficult exams. If you can pass it, you’ll be let into a club with just over 200 members worldwide and granted access to the most desirable jobs in the entire food and wine industry. SOMM (WT) follows six aspiring master sommeliers from New York, as they prepare for the Court of Masters Sommelier exam. The series will also deliver “takeaway” information for the Esquire man, like how to navigate a daunting wine list or how to engage a sommelier without sounding like a fool.
Produced by Herzog & Co. with Josh Mamann serving as Executive Producer.
The Agent is the real-life Jerry Maguire… a documentary series following four top sports agents as they navigate the cutthroat world of professional football. The series will provide an inside look at America’s biggest sports obsession and will deliver exclusive access that will show viewers the money. Revealing how far they are willing to go to recruit the top football talent with hopes of getting them drafted, the series highlights relentless ambition, ruthless pressure and the high-stakes of the pursuit.
UNITED STATES OF BURGERS
Produced by Coolfire Studios with Jeff Keane, David Johnson and Steve Luebbert serving as Executive Producers.
There’s no food more quintessentially American than the burger. This summer, Esquire Network is hungrily on a mission to find the next best iconic classic. A new generation is looking to take burgers to a whole new level, and that means a bigger, better, more adventurous experience that dares the taste buds. In this 6-part competition series, ingenuity is on full display as backyard BBQ kings and up-and-coming culinary hopefuls have a shot to showcase their perfected version of one of the nation’s greatest obsessions: the burger.
OXYGEN MEDIA INCREASES ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING
BY 25 PERCENT WITH ADDITION OF EIGHT NEW SERIES
Oxygen and Esquire Network Greenlight First Ever Co-Production
With Companion Series Living With Funny and Comedians of L.A.
Network Lands Exclusive Cable Rights To
NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution’s
Daily Syndicated Comedic Program Crazy Talk
The youngest skewing women’s network in prime, Oxygen Media continues its commitment to increase original programming by 25 percent with eight new series targeting millennial women. Reinforcing the network’s new programming filter, these vibrant and bold series include Douglas Family Gold, The Hustle, Pretty. Strong., Player Gets Played, Boss Nails and the third installment of the popular franchise, Preachers of Atlanta. The network secured the exclusive cable distribution for the half-hour syndicated daily comedic show, Crazy Talk, debuting this fall from NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution. As part of NBCUniversal Lifestyle Networks, the announcements were made today at the Bravo Media, Esquire Network and Oxygen Upfront Press Presentation.
An unprecedented co-production, Oxygen and Esquire Network have greenlit companion docu-series featuring talented and successful comedians, but with an emphasis on different aspects of their lives and told from different viewpoints. The Oxygen series, Living With Funny, follows their personal lives and relationships, while the Esquire series, Comedians of L.A., focuses on the working life of a stand-up comedian onstage, backstage, and offstage. The series will air during the same period on each network so fans can follow both shows seamlessly.
After becoming the network’s highest-rated freshman series premiere among all key demos in 2014, Sisterhood of Hip Hop has been picked up for season two with all five cast members returning. In addition, successful business mavens Randi Zuckerberg, Ido Leffler, Sarah Prevette and Lauren Maillian will serve as mentors and investors on Time to Quit Your Day Job. Previously announced as The Investment Club, this risk-taking new series brings passionate young hopefuls together to pitch their innovative new products and make their mark as successful entrepreneurs.
“Oxygen is unveiling our most ambitious slate, embracing the new brand filter with bold and optimistic programming for young multicultural women,” said Frances Berwick, President, Lifestyle Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “We are excited to be partnering with leading producers to create content that cuts through the clutter, connects our millennial viewers to the things that matter to them, with depictions of real people living life on their own terms.”
Oxygen was a top 25 ad-supported primetime cable entertainment network among F18-34 and F18-49 and the #3 most social cable reality network in 2014. Among the Top 10 most social cable reality networks, Oxygen reached viewers with the greatest number of followers – helping to drive show and advertiser buzz faster and further. Additionally in 2014, Oxygen was the youngest skewing women’s network in primetime by over nine years. Post rebrand (4Q 2014), viewers of Oxygen’s original series are younger and more likely to be early adopters, influential and receptive to advertising.
“With its dynamic slate of programming, Oxygen continues to strengthen its position as the youngest women’s network in prime while providing creative opportunities to seamlessly weave in marketing messages across platforms to reach this unique and coveted millennial audience,” Laura Molen, Executive Vice President, Lifestyle Advertising Sales Group, NBCUniversal.
Living With Funny (working title)
Produced by L. Plummer Media with Lemuel Plummer serving as Executive Producer.
This companion docu-series showcases the personal lives behind the curtain of rising comedians in Hollywood and the women in their lives. Cameras will follow the howling tale of what happens when they drop the mic and come home to their family, friends and significant others. Because when you are a comedian, the jokes don’t stop just because the show does. Brandon T. Jackson is the first comedian to commit to both series. Additional cast will be announced at later date.
Produced and distributed in the U.S. by NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution with Paul Faulhaber serving as Executive Producer.
Hosted by Tanisha Thomas (“Bad Girls Club”) and Ben Aaron (WNBC’s “New York Live”), the fast-paced, laugh-out-loud first-run comedic syndicated daily program raises an eyebrow on the most outlandish and sometimes bizarre moments on reality television. Taped in front of a live studio audience, this half-hour series filled with raw and hilarious banter also invites reality stars to rehash their “15 minutes of fame” and provide insight behind their most-watched clips.
Produced by Relativity Television and Ellen Rakieten Entertainment with Tom Forman, Brad Bishop and Ellen Rakieten serving as Executive Producers.
It is football like you have never seen it before as fierce, young women engage in one of the roughest, yet fastest growing sports in the country — the Legends Football League. This is full contact, hard tackle football with two-time reigning champions the Chicago Bliss going for the coveted three-peat. These athletes are juggling careers as dentists, lawyers, and receptionists, but come game time, they are on a girl power-fueled mission to inspire, blaze trails and defy the odds.
The Hustle (working title)
Produced by NCredible Entertainment with Nick Cannon and Michael Goldman serving as Executive Producers in association with Evolution Media with Douglas Ross, Alex Baskin and Greg Stewart serving as Executive Producers.
Being a boss is tough, but being an assistant is impossible. This coming-of-age series follows the dynamic and hard-working assistants to successful entrepreneurs and entertainers. With blood, sweat and tears, these ambitious 20-somethings are willing to do whatever it takes to learn the ropes one step at a time so they can climb the ranks. These assistants are exposed to a life of privilege at work, traveling on private jets and attending lavish red carpet events, however, at the end of the day, they struggle just to pay rent and find time for their own personal lives.
Player Gets Played
Produced by DiGA with Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley and Cheryl HornerSirulnick serving as Executive Producers.
In each episode, one woman with a lurking suspicion will uncover a heartbreaking truth with the help of social media and friends when it’s revealed she is not the only woman in her boyfriend’s life. These young women are given the ultimate opportunity to change the game without letting him in on the plan. The newly empowered women will join together and plot a surprising confrontation to give the player a taste of his own medicine.
Douglas Family Gold (working title)
Produced by WV Enterprises in association with Lionsgate TV and Televisa USA with Wilmer Valderrama, Jessica Acevedo, Natalie Hawkins and Gabrielle Douglas serving as Executive Producers.
Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas stunned the world in 2012 by becoming the first African American in history to win the individual all-around gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Behind her meteoric rise was a supportive family willing to sacrifice everything for years to help her dream. Now 19, Gabby is ready to do it all over again in hopes of making it back to the medal podium in 2016. The bi-coastal Douglas family shuttles between California and Ohio to support Gabby’s training regimen while also juggling their own lives. Her brother John is the family’s second Olympic hopeful in track and field, while devoted sisters Arie and Joy are eager to blaze their own paths. “Momager” Natalie keeps this tight-knit family in-check, knowing regardless of what happens, “Team Douglas” has already won gold.
Produced by Jarrett Creative, with Julie Jarrett, Seth Jarrett and Carmen Mitcho serving as Executive Producers and Rock Shrimp Productions NYC with Bobby Flay and Kim Martin serving as Executive Producers.
Welcome to Tippie Toes Nail & Beauty Salon where Miami’s fashionistas come for one-of-a-kind pop-culture nail designs. This series centers on 26-year-old burgeoning business owner Dana Cody, known for her signature crystal embellished manicures that cost upwards of $10,000, as she juggles managing her boisterous staff, expanding her salon empire, and living up to the legacy her late mother left behind.
Preachers of Atlanta
Produced byL. Plummer Media in association with Relevé Entertainment with Lemuel Plummer, Holly Carter, Chris Costine and Mark Scheibalserving as Executive Producers.
Atlanta is not only the home to fast cars, sprawling mansions and the southern elite, but a new generation of up-and-coming preachers who are superstars of the pulpit. The third installation from the popular franchise, “Preachers of Atlanta” documents the lives of the city’s young elite mega-pastors as they focus on the daily struggles and triumphs as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and friends, while also maintaining their duties as men and women of God.
Time To Quit Your Day Job (working title)
Produced by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia Company with Phillip D. Segal, Jeff Conroy and Kevin Williams serving as Executive Producers.
Aspiring millennials will have the unique opportunity to pitch themselves and their innovative ideas to Randi Zuckerberg, Ido Leffler, Sarah Prevette and Lauren Maillian, who will also serve as mentors to the young professionals. These hopefuls will have to win the confidence of these four investors and prove they have what it takes to turn their concept into a viable business.
Sisterhood of Hip Hop Season Two
Produced by 51 Minds with Christian Sarabia, T.I. and Greg Johnston serving as Executive Producers.
With Grammy-Award winning recording artist T.I. as Executive Producer, season two of this powerful and uplifting series will continue to follow the next generation of female MCs on their journey to become the next breakout star with some new twists, more celebrity mentors and break out music. Navigating the Los Angeles hip-hop scene, these five up-and-coming, ambitious artists — Siya, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond, Brianna Perry and Bia— are breaking boundaries and rewriting the rules of the male dominated music industry.