Discovery+ is expanding its unscripted programming fare. Parent company Discovery today unveiled a slate of five new shows, produced by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, ordered straight-to-series for the streaming service. They include Taking Back The House (working title) starring Robert Hartwell, from Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott, co-produced by OWN and corporate cousin HGTV in its first-ever partnership.
Taking Back the House will chronicle Broadway Collective founder Hartwell’s room-by-room renovation of an 1820 colonial house he recently purchased. Hartwell will executive produce alongside the Scott brothers. Taking Back the House (wt) will premiere exclusively on discovery+ in 2022.
Also ordered straight-to-series are The Great Soul Food Cookoff, a cooking competition series from Chopped producer Good Egg Entertainment; food truck competition series Burger Truck Brawl, from Guy Fieri’s Knuckle Sandwich Productions and Lando Entertainment set for premiere August 21; relationship series Like Mother, Like Daughter? (working title), produced by Bunim/Murray Productions; and Breaking Black, from Tina Knowles-Lawson, Trell Thomas and A. Smith & Co. Productions.
“OWN has built its loyal audience through programming that connects with viewers very deeply,
and it is that intention that drives the programming we are bringing to discovery+,” said Tina Perry, president, OWN. “This slate of new series will incorporate OWN’s unique style in genres that include relationship, docu-series, cooking, and the revelatory home renovation series Taking Back The House, which we are producing in an exciting first-time partnership with HGTV, and will appeal to discovery+ subscribers who are as varied and diverse as the programs themselves.”
The news comes a day after Discovery revealed in its second quarter earnings that direct-to-consumer streaming saw an increase to 17 million subscribers, from 13 million the previous quarter. As of this week, the tally is 18 million, an increase from the June 30 end of the quarter.
“Our young and diverse discovery+ streaming audience places a premium on content from innovative storytellers across a wide range of voices, and OWN possesses an unparalleled track record in developing successful projects fitting that same criteria,” said Lisa Holme, Group SVP of Content and Commercial Strategy for Discovery, Inc. “discovery+ provides the perfect platform for the OWN team and our creative partners to go even deeper in genres which all of our Discovery brands are known for, from food and home to lifestyle, docu-series and more.”
Here are details of the five new series:
Taking Back The House (working title)
Last year on Juneteenth, a day celebrating the emancipation of African-American slaves in America, Robert Hartwell made headlines when he purchased a historic property in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. This is a house with a complicated history, and Robert’s purchase set the Internet ablaze. When Robert, the founder of The Broadway Collective, Broadway’s #1 training academy, and a working actor who has performed on Broadway in five musicals from “Hello, Dolly!” with Bette Midler to “Motown the Musical, first saw the 200-year-old colonial house in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, he knew he had found home. It was not easy for the openly gay Black man to complete the cash offer only purchase but Hartwell just knew this was meant to be his house, so he persevered. Now, Hartwell will renovate the home room by room. The renovation of this house will unlock stories of his own history and lead him down a path of discovery about himself, his culture and the Black creatives who will inspire the ensuing designs. “I wish I could’ve told my ancestors when they were breaking their backs in 1820 to build this house that 200 years later a free gay Black man was going to own it and fill it with love and say their name,” Hartwell said when the purchase was complete. This finished home will be a celebration of Black excellence, the people and culture that built him. The series is produced by Scott Brothers Entertainment. Hartwell, Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott are the executive producers.
The Great Soul Food Cookoff
Black culture is being recognized as never before in music, film, fashion, TV, sports, and more. But in the kitchen – where Black cooks and cooking traditions are a cornerstone of what we call “American food” – that recognition remains long overdue. Now, for the first time on television, a cooking competition finally spotlights these culinary contributions. With challenges designed to highlight the past and present of Black food in America, eight chefs will go head-to-head in this new series, in a celebration of diverse deliciousness. Produced by Good Egg Entertainment, the company behind Food Network’s hit series “Chopped.” Michael W. Twitty, the esteemed culinary historian, educator and James Beard Foundation award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, will serve as culinary historian and consultant for the series.
Burger Truck Brawl
The Billionaire Burger Boyz (and the Burger Girl) own and operate one of L.A.’s most successful food trucks. They know better than anyone that it takes mad culinary chops, creativity and a whole lot of hustle to go from the bottom to the top of the biz. They’ve conquered the City of Angels, so now they’re hitting the road to lay down the challenge to other successful food trucks far and wide. In each episode, the Boyz will roll into a city, meet the challenging food truck, craft a new menu for that city, then sell, sell, sell. The winning truck walks away with a cash bet put up by both teams before the competition. Produced by Guy Fieri’s Knuckle Sandwich Productions and Lando Entertainment. Burger Truck Brawl will premiere on d+ on Saturday, August 21.
Like Mother, Like Daughter? (working title)
This new series follows six mother-daughter pairs who have serious issues between them, as they move into an isolated resort where they will be forced to work on their relationship. The pairs will embark on a three-week intensive experiment designed to cultivate the skills necessary for healthy and loving relationships with one another, but living in close quarters will put the pairs — and the therapists working with them — to the test. Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions.
Breaking Black (working title)
From Tina Knowles-Lawson, Trell Thomas and A. Smith & Co. Productions, “Breaking Black” sets out to challenge and debunk the negative stereotypes that have surrounded Black men for centuries, by reshaping the narrative and highlighting their authentic stories. Through interviews, historical footage, and personal stories from men across the country, “Breaking Black” aims to show the difficulties Black men face today, while highlighting and celebrating the triumphs and successes of everyday living. Produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions and award-winning showrunner P. Frank Williams.