Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Micronations’ & Adaptation Of Wondery Podcast ‘Imagined Life’ Lead UCP Unscripted Development Slate


UCP is ramping up its development on unscripted programming and is moving into the family space.

The company is working on family-friendly projects with Seth MacFarlane, Jim Henson Company and Wondery.

This comes after the division of Universal Studio Group has produced a slew of true-crime series and investigative doc series such as Netflix’s Business of Drugs, FX’s A Wilderness of Error and Oxygen’s DNA of Murder with Paul Holes and Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers.

Micronations, which is exec produced by MacFarlane and and Erica Huggins for Fuzzy Door, looks at what it takes to build a country, what it means to be a citizen and takes a host on an adventure around the world to the countries that don’t exist. Jason Clark and Sarah Ullman will also exec produce.

Imagined Life is based on the eponymous Wondery podcast, which takes people on an immersive journey through the surprising moments and challenges that shaped the lives of celebrities and historical figures. It is part mystery and part immersive story. Don Argott, director of music doc As The Palaces Burn, will direct and exec produce with Sheena Joyce (Believer). Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy and Aaron Hart will produce for Wondery.

It is the latest project between Wondery and UCP, which have partnered on Dirty John, Dr. Death and Joe Exotic.

Coming Attractions sees UCP team up with The Jim Henson Company. The show will find real communities in need of hope, and help their towns develop and build themed, roadside tourist attractions as part of a “feel-good” competition series. Brian Henson and Vince Raisa will executive produce for The Jim Henson Company, which previously teamed with UCP on Netflix’s The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell.

Finally, Courting Love is a dating format with a period twist. The dating experiment format will take single and transport them to a bygone era where they will shed their modern lives and follow real courtship rituals of the past in hopes that they can find love and get married. At the end of the fantasy experiment they’ll emerge back in 2021 and face the present day with their new love. Amanda McPhilips is developing alongside UCP.

“While we have had great success in the realm of true-crime, we also have a softer side that we want to show off. I can’t think of a better time for some fun, smart, light-hearted yet timely fare for our unscripted slate,” said Dawn Olmstead, President, UCP.

“We are excited to partner once again with Fuzzy Door, Wondery, and The Jim Henson Company on these fresh and original shows,” added Jessica Grimshaw, SVP, Head of Unscripted Programming, UCP. “From world-wide travels and roadside tourist attractions to inspirational celebrities and blast-to-the past dating, we have some really entertaining, escapist programming in the pipeline.”

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