POP, CBS and Lionsgate’s rebranding of TVGN, today unveiled more than 400 hours of original programming for its early 2015 launch, including six new original series, an exclusive after-show, live red carpet specials during awards season, and a curated line-up of television fan favorites.
Among the newly announced original series are: Sing It On, Queens of Drama docu series, and Street Magic. New series will join POP’s previously announced original programs premiering in 2015, including: Rock This Boat: New Kids On The Block, The Story Behind, Big Brother After Dark, and live red-carpet specials with Entertainment Tonight. In addition, Unusually Thicke, the reality sitcom starring Alan Thicke, his family and famous friends which premiered in April 2014 back when the network was TVGN, has been picked up for a second season. Rock This Boat: New Kids On the Block follows die-hard fans of the famous boy band who join their idols on a cruise ship; The Story Behind, tells the story of how TV’s biggest shows got their start. Rock This Band is envisioned as a franchise, with other 1990s groups following NKOTB. That would fit into the demographic POP will be targeting, 35-40-year-old affluent viewers who, POP’s president of entertainment and media Brad Schwartz has described as “modern grownups,” who have “pushed up maturing,” have often postponed marrying, and “who have a lot of disposable income and still go to the gym, want to look good and want to watch the show everyone is talking about.”
POP’s slate will also feature a curated line-up of fan-favorite television series and shows with passionate viewers, including: Jericho, 90210, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Survivor, The Amazing Race and Big Brother.
From today’s announcement:
SING IT ON (Working Title)
From the company behind “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” SING IT ON is the real-life “Pitch Perfect” only with steeper competition and higher stakes. This docu-series follows the world of collegiate a cappella groups across the U.S. and their journey as they prepare for and compete in the top a cappella competition in the country, the ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella). SING IT ON is produced by CORE Media Group, with Jennifer O’Connell and Teri Wagner Flynn serving as Executive Producers. Jenny Ramirez, Glenn Stickley and Amanda Newman serve as Co-Executive Producers.
QUEENS OF DRAMA (Working Title)
From the producers of “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” comes QUEENS OF DRAMA, a new docu-series which follows a group of former daytime and primetime soap stars as they attempt to produce a new primetime serial drama to star in. The cast will need to work in front of and behind the cameras as they develop, pitch, and produce this new steamy series hoping to land a pilot deal by the end of the season. The all-star cast is made up of Lindsay Hartley (“All My Children,” “Days of Our Lives”), Crystal Hunt (“Guiding Light,” “One Life to Live”), Vanessa Marcil (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” “General Hospital”), Chrystee Pharris (“Passions,” “General Hospital”) and Hunter Tylo (“The Bold and The Beautiful”), together with Donna Mills (“Knots Landing,” “Melrose Place”), who will make special appearances on the program. QUEENS OF DRAMA is being produced by Thinkfactory Media, with Adam Reed, Adam Freeman, Aaron Fishman, Tim Laurie, and Leslie Greif, serving as Executive Producers.
STREET MAGIC (Working Title)
STREET MAGIC takes viewers inside the world of underground street magicians as they perform for and mesmerize onlookers, including stars from favorite films and television shows. This docu-series features some of the greatest masters of magic in the world who have expertly crafted the nuanced sleight of hand and understand what it takes to wow their fans. For the first time, these renowned magicians will stun and amaze without the veil of secrecy—uncut and unfiltered. STREET MAGIC is produced in association with Lionsgate Television.
UNUSUALLY THICKE – Season Two
UNUSUALLY THICKE stars a real-life modern family—TV icon Alan Thicke, his beautiful, spicy and much younger wife Tanya, and his dry witted, often opinionated 17-year-old son Carter. The series follows the fun, humor and escapades in their unusual daily lives, including Alan’s career and Tanya’s focus on motherhood and a family of their own. Dozens of celebrity appearances have been featured in the series, including Robin Thicke, David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, John Stamos, Bill Maher, Tom Green, with many more to come. UNUSUALLY THICKE is an original series that blends reality television with situation comedy is produced by Peacock Alley Entertainment.
ROCK THIS BOAT: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Die-hard fans take the vacation of a lifetime when they board a cruise with the sole intention of being near the members of their favorite band for just a few days. New Kids on the Block (NKOTB), one of the hottest boy bands in music history with more than 80 million albums sold worldwide, will set sail on the wildly popular, sold out cruise with their most loyal fans for a four-day adventure at sea. The cast includes a whole range of NKOTB devotees from three sisters taking the family cruise they’ve always dreamt about to a group of single moms looking to let their hair down by partying with rock stars. Sail on back to your youth with ROCK THIS BOAT — celebrating fandom like never before. ROCK THIS BOAT is produced by Jarrett Creative Group in association with Executive Producers Donnie Wahlberg, Julie Insogna Jarrett and Seth Jarrett.
THE STORY BEHIND
THE STORY BEHIND features eight new episodes that go behind-the-scenes of TV’s greatest hits and most iconic shows, and how they got their start. The series reveals stories straight from the set with exclusive on-camera interviews with all the insider players from cast members to producers to television executives. The one-hour episodes will highlight TV’s treasured classics, including “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Will & Grace,” “The Cosby Show,” “Full House,” “Friends,” and “ER.” THE STORY BEHIND is an in-house production.
BIG BROTHER AFTER DARK
BIG BROTHER AFTER DARK is the ultimate fan after-show and the live, late night companion show to CBS’s BIG BROTHER, one of television’s most talked-about and socially engaged reality series. Airing exclusively on POP, BIG BROTHER AFTER DARK gives fans of the popular reality series an unfiltered, late night look at life in the “Big Brother House.” The show features a live television feed from inside the house, where nothing is sacred and anything goes.
“LIVE WITH ET” at the Oscars® and the Grammys®
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, television’s #1 syndicated entertainment show from CBS Television Distribution, will produce a LIVE red carpet show leading up to television’s biggest award shows, the Oscars and the Grammys, to air exclusively on POP.
Last month — 18 months after the cable network, once known as the TV Guide Network, became a joint venture of Lionsgate and CBS — it was rebranded as POP, “a multi-platform destination dedicated to celebrating the fun of being a fan” where “fans don’t sit at the outskirts of pop culture making snarky comments, they live right smack in the middle of it.”
The network brass considered both evolutionary and revolutionary approach for TVGN, the latter involving a complete makeover like NBCUniversal switching female-focused Style into male-oriented Esquire. In the end, the executives took the evolutionary route, staying close to the network’s pop culture roots. With TV Guide magazine and TVGuide.com going their separate ways and the network having no control over them, TVGN execs felt it didn’t make sense to keep the old name, which, even in its abbreviated form, is closely associated with the TV Guide brand.
Shortly after CBS acquired 50% of TVGN in early 2013, partnering with Lionsgate, CBS programs started to migrate to the cable network. Big Brother’s After Dark companion show, which previously aired on Showtime, has been a big ratings success for TVGN as have been repeats of the network’s soaps The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. Those shows remain on POP, along with such acquisitions as 1990s staple 90210, marathons of CW series and TV Guide Network’s signature Red Carpet coverage.
TVGN is going into the rebrand with a reach of more than 80 million homes and the programming guide, once taking over most of the screen, gone completely. With a shot in the arm from CBS programming, TVGN became the fastest growing network in the country, albeit from a small base, delivering its biggest primetime audiences in more than 5 years.