Freeform has pulled back the curtain on its move into non-fiction with two docuseries and a reality series kicking off its unscripted slate.
The Disney-owned network has ordered The Deep End, a four-part docuseries about controversial spiritual teachers, Dear Pony: Keep This Between Us, a series about grooming in U.S. high schools directed by Phoenix Rising helmer Amy Berg and Day to Night, an eight-part reality series set in New York City.
The slate is overseen by Jihan Robinson, VP, Alternative Development, Freeform, the former Quibi and Netflix exec who joined in December 2020.
Robinson said that non-fiction is a genre that its Gen Z and millennial audience loves.
“Freeform as a whole is just really looking to be reflective and authentic to the young adult experience,” she told Deadline. “As a part of that, this audience is really engaged and loves the category of nonfiction programming across the board. What I’m doing is just a piece of a larger, puzzle in terms of growing and continuing to connect Freeform storytelling with the young adult, new adult audience.”
The Deep End is an exploration inside the world of one of today’s most controversial spiritual teachers and her dedicated followers. Filmed over three years with unprecedented access, it looks at the lengths people will go to in their search for connection.
The series, which is directed by When Lambs Become Lions’ Jon Kasbe, produced by The Vow’s Bits Sola and exec produced by The Documentary Group’s Tom Yellin and Gabrielle Tenenbaum. Freeform came on board during production and the series will premiere on May 18 at 10pm.
Dear Pony: Keep This Between Us is a four-part series that follows one woman’s journey as she reexamines her past relationship with a trusted teacher. The series exposes an epidemic of widespread grooming in U.S. high schools.
It is directed by Amy Berg, who recently made Evan Rachel Wood/Marilyn Manson doc Phoenix Rising, Dear…’s Jenna Rosher and Solitary’s Kristi Jacobson. It is exec produced by Vox Media Studios’ Chad Mumm, Mark W. Olsen and Dana J. Olkkonen, The Front Media’s Thalia Mavros and Cheryl Nichols, Ari Basile, Berg and Sarah Gibson. It launches June 15 at 10pm.
Finally, Day To Night follows the next generation of “icons” as they emerge from downtown New York to pursue love, art and friendship on their own terms. The series takes viewers into the creative NYC underground, where culture is created, and lives are changed forever.
It is produced by New York production company Cousins, which is known for commercials and music videos.
Megan Sanchez-Warner, who has exec produced series including The Real Housewives of Orange County and Love and Hip Hop Hollywood, is showrunner for the eight-part series, which features half-hour episodes. Cousins’ Jessica Chermayeff, Ana Veselic and Anne Alexander executive produce with Chermayeff and Veselic also serving as series directors.
It will launch later this summer.
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