YouTube is making its first big scripted series bet, giving a straight-to-series order to Step Up, a drama series from Lionsgate TV based on the film franchise that grossed $650 million at the global box office. The show will begin production later this year and will debut on YouTube Red next year as the subscription video service’s first full-fledged, big-budget original drama series. It is one of several new series unveiled today at Vidcon by YouTube’s global head of original content Susanne Daniels, along with Rhett & Link’s Buddy System, Dan & Phil’s Tour Documentary, Vlogumentary and a Michael Stevens project. She also announced the renewals of Scare Pewdiepie, Foursome and untitled Smosh movie.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who co-starred in the original Step Up film, will executive produce the series adaptation along with the movies’ producers Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton.
The Step Up series is described as a heart-pounding, sexy, music-filled drama about dancers in a contemporary performing arts school.
The original Step Up (2006), was followed by four other movies – Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up: 3D, Step Up: Revolution and Step Up: All In. The last two films were released by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label.
“I’ve been a fan of the Step Up movies for years and always believed the films would translate into an awesome original series,” said Daniels. “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.”
This is the latest example of Lionsgate TV helping a fledgeling original scripted player get into the space. The studio previously did it with AMC (Mad Men), Netflix (Orange Is the New Black), WGN America (Manhattan) and Epix (Graves), among others.
“Step Up is an incredible property with the global appeal to launch both a blockbuster film franchise and an exhilarating, high-energy series,” said Lionsgate TV Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. “After five exciting and successful movies, we’re proud to partner with YouTube Red, a major new force on the programming landscape, to adapt the films into an adrenaline-filled original drama series driven by its non-stop energy, spectacular dancing and A-list creative talent.”
Daniels, who joined YouTube a year ago, is encouraged by the early response to original series by Red subscribers. “With nine projects launched, we’re seeing fans sign up, tune in, binge and share their enthusiasm with their friends,” she said. “And a ton of this activity is happening in just the first 24 hours after our new series go live.”
Here are the rest of YouTube’s new series and renewals. As has been YouTube’s MO, many new shows feature established YouTube personalities:
RHETT & LINK’S BUDDY SYSTEM: In this new scripted comedy series, Rhett & Link must go out of their way to regain control of their internet empire from their mutual co-ex-girlfriend who is now an evil Infomercial Queen holding a very big secret over their heads. The series also features Saturday Night Live alums Molly Shannon and Chris Parnell, as well as Leslie Bibb and Page Kennedy.
DAN & PHIL TOUR DOCUMENTARY: Top YouTube comedy stars, Dan Howell and Phil Lester are taking their fans inside their latest world tour, The Amazing Tour Is Not On Fire. With hilarious anecdotes, sketches, and lots of surprises for their fans, we’re bringing Dan and Phil’s successful live stage show exclusively to YouTube Red. They’ll also be giving audiences a behind-the-scenes look with a documentary about the making of the tour.
VLOGUMENTARY: Executive produced by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, Maker Studios, and Shay “ShayCarl” Butler, Vlogumentary provides a personal, intimate lens into the world of some of YouTube’s biggest creators and demonstrates the power of the platform in shaping the lives of creative voices, their audiences and the media landscape.
UNTITLED ANIMATED SERIES: Top YouTube creators SeaNanners, TheMrSark and VanossGaming star in an animated comedy series, helmed by Michael Rowe, Emmy Award winning writer of Futurama and Family Guy, about a team of ill-equipped paranormal investigators who struggle to unfold the mysteries of the paranormal universe for their desperate clients.
UNTITLED MICHAEL STEVENS PROJECT: In this new educational series, Vsauce creator Michael Stevens will take a deeper look into the human mind, using real subjects, including himself and special guests, to show some of the most mind-blowing, important and least understood aspects of human nature.
SCARE PEWDIEPIE – SEASON 2: Produced by Maker Studios, the creator and executive producers of “The Walking Dead” franchise from Skybound Entertainment, and Felix Kjellberg under the Revelmode banner, the second season of the reality adventure series, Scare PewDiePie, promises even more thrills and chills.
FOURSOME – SEASON 2: Produced by AwesomenessTV, the second season of Foursome returns to YouTube Red following Andie’s adventures in the high school dating world. We meet a brand new Andie, a new era of extracurricular hooking up and high school awkwardness.
UNTITLED SMOSH MOVIE: After releasing the episodic series Part Timers on YouTube, Smosh is coming back for a feature-length comedy on YouTube Red. Luckless Charlie (Anthony Padilla) moves into a new apartment, only to find he has a roommate: a self-centered ghost named MAX (Ian Hecox). Max makes Charlie’s life a living hell, until they learn that the only way Max can get into heaven is by working together.