EXCLUSIVE: Dancing with the Stars winner Nicole Scherzinger, The Island’s Bear Grylls and British comedian Jack Whitehall are among the celebrities appearing alongside viral stars The Sidemen in a YouTube Red series – one of the digital platform’s most high-profile orders from a UK production company.
I understand that the SVOD service is launching The Sidemen Show from Blue Ant-backed Antenna Pictures, which is run by former Nerd TV chief Jago Lee, and Blue Ant Digital Studios, later this year.
The Sidemen Show is a seven-part series, with episodes of 30 minutes each. Shot around the world, the show is a stunt, challenge format. Each episode will see the Sidemen, a group of young YouTubers that pal around playing computer games and winding each other up, challenged to perform a different task alongside a celebrity guest. I hear episodes were filmed in locations including the UK, Marrakech, Russia and Austria.
The Sidemen Show is executive produced by Jago Lee, Dan Lubetkin, Austin Long and James Tooley. Craig Pickles serves as Series Director and Chris Lore is Series Producer.
It is thought to be one of the largest YouTube Red commissions for a British production company since Origins, a sci-fi drama produced by The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures. It is a major coup for Blue Ant and Jago Lee’s Antenna Pictures, which he set up in October 2016, with backing by the Canadian media group. Former Tiger Aspect Head of Documentaries Lee, who recently produced feature-length doc The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels for Sky, is thought to be in development with a number of other ideas for digital platforms and U.S. and UK broadcasters. Earlier this year, Blue Ant rebranded its production arm Omnia Media as Blue Ant Digital Studios with a number of Facebook commissions.
YouTube Red, which is currently available in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Mexico, is set to launch internationally later this year. YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki announced the move in February.