HBO Max Picks Up Second Season of Reality Show ’12 Dates of Christmas’

HBO Max has announced a second season pickup for holiday dating series “12 Dates of Christmas,” which follows single “leads” as they meet potential love interests and go on 12 dates in the hopes of finding that special someone to bring home for the holidays.

Season one was filmed at a castle in Austria and followed hopeless romantics as they searched for love in a magical winter wonderland. All eight episodes of the first season are available now on Max, and the new reunion episode “12 Dates of Christmas: Unwrapped” premiered Dec. 18. Hosted by D.J. Pierce, the reunion features original “leads” and their love interests discussing everything that’s occurred in their relationships since last Christmas — from settling scores and revealing behind-the-scenes stories, to unmasking secret hookups and answering whether the couples stayed together or said goodbye.

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“’12 Dates’ is the escapist holiday treat we all need right now,”  Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of nonfiction and live-action family at Max, said in a statement. “In season one, we wanted to shake up the snow globe to combine everything we love about holiday romcoms with a clever dating show format and a wink at our audience. We look forward to doing more of the same in season two, with a continued emphasis on casting to represent diversity of experience!”

IMDb: ‘The Boys,’ ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘Tiger King,’ ‘The Last Dance’ Among Top TV Shows in 2020

Amazon-owned movie and TV data base IMDb.com Dec. 8 unveiled the Top 10 TV Shows of 2020 and, for the first time ever, the Top 10 Docuseries and Top 10 Reality and Competition TV Series. Rather than base its annual rankings on small statistical samplings or reviews from professional critics, IMDb determines its list of most popular shows from its proprietary rankings of shows based on the actual page views of the more than 200 million monthly visitors to IMDb.

“Though reality TV was in its infancy when IMDb was founded 30 years ago, it’s grown enormously in terms of the diversity, scale and, in many cases, prestige of its offerings,” Brian Carver, head of content and licensing for IMDb, said in a statement.

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Carver said 2020 proved to be a standout year for TV and streaming series, with an assortment of true breakout shows, turning many of these programs — including Amazon’s “The Boys,” Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Tiger King,” and ESPN’s “The Last Dance” and Netflix’s “Too Hot to Handle” — into cultural moments.

Keith Simanton, managing editor for IMDbPro, said it’s notable that many of the top reality programs have had exceptionally long runs, including an incredible 40 seasons of “Survivor” and 12 seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

“We celebrate these shows for their ongoing creativity and longevity, keeping fans coming back for more, year after year,” Simanton said.

IMDb Top 10 TV Shows of 2020

  1. The Boys
  2. Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)
  3. Dark
  4. Ozark
  5. The Mandalorian
  6. The Queen’s Gambit
  7. The Umbrella Academy
  8. Westworld
  9. The Witcher
  10. The Crown

 

IMDb Top 10 Docuseries of 2020

  1. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
  2. The Last Dance
  3. Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
  4. The Vow
  5. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
  6. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
  7. Down to Earth with Zac Efron
  8. McMillions
  9. Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak
  10. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

 

IMDb Top 10 Reality and Competition Series of 2020

  1. Too Hot to Handle
  2. Selling Sunset
  3. Love Is Blind
  4. The Great British Bake Off (The Great British Baking Show)
  5. Keeping Up with the Kardashians
  6. The Masked Singer
  7. Top Gear
  8. Survivor
  9. RuPaul’s Drag Race
  10. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Nicki Minaj Docuseries Coming to HBO Max

Rapper Nicki Minaj will bow a docuseries on HBO Max based on her life.

Each of the six, half-hour episodes of the untitled project will tell the story of her personal and professional journey. Minaj will guide viewers through the most challenging and fulfilling times in her life, navigating highs, lows and misguided agendas in her rise to fame and her journey to motherhood. Minaj’s many achievements include 19 Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and 114 total entries on the Billboard Hot 100 — the record for “Most Billboard Hot 100 Entries Ever by a Female Artist.”

“Nicki Minaj is a multi-faceted artist, businesswoman, and innovator as well as force to be reckoned with. It’s a privilege to bring this project to HBO Max and provide our viewers with unprecedented access to her life,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, said in a statement.

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The series is directed by six-time Emmy nominee Michael John Warren, who made his directorial debut with Jay-Z’s Fade to Black. Executive Producers are Minaj, Warren and Aaron L. Gilbert, Brenda Gilbert and Cassandra Butcher for Bron Life, in association with Creative Wealth Media. Bron Life, the non-scripted arm of Bron Studios, is focused on original docuseries, documentary films and short-form digital content centered around socially relevant themes and topics. The division also recently announced the civil justice series “Homicide or Justified” with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.

“Nicki Minaj is one of the most important and influential recording artists of all time; never to be duplicated — and many have tried. We are proud to support this living icon, as she bravely opens her home to the world,” said Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Brenda Gilbert in a joint statement.

“I love that this series not only provides an all-access glimpse at one of the most iconic musicians of our generation; it also profiles the brave woman behind the artist, Onika. I believe all of us can learn a great deal from her remarkable professional and personal life. It’s an honor to be entrusted with this dynamic story,” said director Warren in a statment.

Minaj broke the news on social media with this announcement video.

NBCUniversal International Expands Realty TV Streamer ‘Hayu’ to Germany, Austria

Hayu, NBCUniversal’s foray into reality-TV program subscription streaming video, has expanded its Euro footprint beyond 14 countries to include Germany and Austria.

The €4.99 ($5.93) app is available via Amazon Prime Channels to Prime members following a free 14-day trial.

Launched in 2016 outside the U.S., hayu offers more than 5,000 episodes of U.S. and British reality TV shows, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and spin-off “Life of Kylie,” in addition to “The Real Housewives” and “Million Dollar Listing” franchises, among others.

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The shows — the majority of which debut on the service the same day as they premiere in the U.S. — include on-demand access to catalog episodes from more than 150 shows such as “Vanderpump Rules,” “Top Chef,” “Shahs of Sunset” and “Bad Girls Club,” among others.

“We are thrilled to launch hayu — and its world-renowned reality TV content — in Germany and Austria,” Hendrik McDermott, managing director of hayu, said in a statement.

 

Tastemade, Realtor.com Partner for House Buying Streaming Show

Tastemade, a video production company and subscription streaming service focusing on food, travel, and home and design, Aug. 26 announced it has partnered with Realtor.com for a home buying reality show called “Beyond the Block.”

The four-part series, which debuts Sept. 3, features couples and individual buyers looking to purchase homes in San Antonio, Los Angeles, Fort Collins, Colo., and Raleigh, N.C.

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Realtor, host Andrew Tyree

Hosted by realtor Andrew Tyree, the series takes first-time homebuyers on a journey to find a neighborhood that feels like home as they discover what they should really consider before they sign on the dotted line. Each episode goes beyond the typical house hunt, diving deeper into the other aspects of home buying — the neighbors, the surrounding businesses, and the community where roots will be planted; the things that really make a place a home.

Notably, production teams were filming in the field just prior to and during the national coronavirus pandemic. The series’ narrative and production was adjusted midway to showcase the realites of COVID-19. The series revisits the first-time home buyers and local businesses mid-pandemic to see how they were adapting, and discussed pandemic-related issues, including how some of the buyers had to re-qualify for their home loan.

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Tastemade is available on assorted ad-supported VOD platforms, including Philo TV, Peacock, Redbox TV, Sling TV, The Roku Channel, IMDb TV, Samsung TV Plus, YouTubeTV and Xumo, among others. The platform is also available as a standalone SVOD (Tastemade+) for $2.99 monthly or $19.99 per year.

Tubi Begins Streaming ‘The Masked Singer’ Episodes

Ad-supported VOD service Tubi April 23 announced it has begun streaming the first two seasons of Fox singing competition show “The Masked Singer” — the No. 1 show on television in its third season. It is the highest-profile program on Tubi.

Fox Corp. acquired San Francisco-based Tubi earlier this year for $440 million in cash.

The first two seasons can be viewed tonight at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Current season-three episodes of the show will be available on Tubi in the weeks following their airing on Fox.

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“The Masked Singer” features celebrities facing off against one another with one major twist: Each singer is shrouded from head-to-toe in an elaborate costume, complete with a full-face mask to conceal his or her identity.

With each performance, host Nick Cannon, panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong, and Robin Thicke, audience members, viewers, and even other contestants are left guessing who is singing behind the mask. Ranging from Grammy Award winners to legendary athletes, and everything in between, the singers may attempt to throw the crowd off their scent, while keen observers might pick up on tiny clues buried throughout the show. One singer is eliminated each week, ultimately revealing his or her true identity.

“This marks the first of many new initiatives we’ll pursue with Fox,”Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, said in a statement.

“The Masked Singer” is averaging a 3.3 Live + 7 Day rating and 15 million viewers across all platforms. Fox claims the show has helped it win Wednesday night ratings every week it’s been on the air. The season-three premiere after Super Bowl LIV drew nearly 30 million viewers and a 9.4 L7 rating, marking television’s #1 entertainment telecast in two years and the highest-rated and most-watched reality telecast in eight years.

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HBO Max Orders Dog Grooming Competition Show

HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia, has ordered the series “Hot Dog” (working title).

HBO Max is scheduled to launch in May.

The 12-episode, half-hour series features three dog groomers facing off in a creative competition showcasing canine breeds of all kinds.

Inspired by the social platforms and coffee table book from celebrity dog grooming expert Jess Rona, each episode will include challenges and themes meant to spotlight the best looks for man’s best friend. Along with comedic commentary from celebrity guests and a host, Rona will lead the judging panel with the best in show winner walking away with a cash prize and first place rosette.

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Rona built a following online with her signature slow-motion blow dry videos and serves as the dog grooming artist to many celebrity dogs. In addition to grooming, she is the author of Groomed, the director of Tegan and Sarah’s Closer video, and has appeared on “Drunk History” and “New Girl.”

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“Jess Rona has made a name for herself as dog groomer-to-the stars and it is so fun to be able to bring her incredibly successful online brand and business to life in this way,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of original non-fiction and kids programming for HBO Max, said in a statement. “Expect pure escapism that the whole family can watch together and root for their favorite pooch with the most fabulous and creative trans-fur-mations.”

Research: SVOD Wakes Up to Reality

Reality was the second-most commissioned genre for linear services and third-most commissioned genre for video on-demand (VOD) services, according to research from Ampere Analysis on commissions, renewals and cancellations in 2019.

Data from Ampere indicates that Netflix has ramped up production of reality content compared with previous years. While in January 2018 Netflix had four original reality TV shows available, by year-end 2019, the number had grown eightfold to 32 original reality titles, with dating show “Love Is Blind” among its top-performing shows in Q1 2020.

Other findings include:

  • The most commissioned genre in the United Kingdom and the United States in 2019 was documentary, with one-off commissions a frequent occurrence. Documentary represented 31% of all first-run series ordered in 2019.
  • The second most commissioned and renewed genre was reality — at 14% of all commissions in 2019.
  • In total, 337 reality shows were commissioned in the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Comedy closely followed reality and was the third-most commissioned and renewed genre. Almost one quarter (23%) of shows are yet to begin series production, reflecting the longer production period required for scripted series. First-run commissions accounted for 67% of all series announced in 2019 — this means shows being ordered for a first season, including limited series.
  • Most renewals were reality (24%), with comedy (17%) and documentary (17%) following closely behind.

Linear versus VOD findings include:

  • Renewals in 2019 are skewed towards linear commissions, with linear series representing 85% of all U.K. and U.S. renewals in 2019.
  • High-profile unscripted linear renewals included 19th and 20th season order for MTV’s U.K. Reality series “Geordie Shore,” and a 17th season order for NBC’s music competition show “The Voice.”
  • In 2019, linear channels cancelled 515 shows while VOD services cancelled 151. However, this is slightly skewed by the cancellations of series with a predetermined limit on the number of episodes. Once these shows are removed from the analysis, data shows that linear channels cancelled 178 shows, while VOD services cancelled 66.
  • 65% of linear renewals were unscripted series, in comparison with just 25% of all VOD renewals, with streamers preferring to focus on higher-budget, scripted fare.
  • Reality was relatively safe from cancellation on both linear and VOD platforms — only 8% of all cancellations were reality.

“While reality has been a staple for linear TV due to lower per-hour production costs and continued popularity among consumers, VOD services have been increasingly investing in the genre,” said Ampere analyst Olivia Deane in a statement. “With Netflix already commissioning two more seasons of top performing title ‘Love is Blind,’ reality looks like it will be the next battleground for linear and VOD services.”

Netflix Announces Expanded Korean Content Slate

Netflix March 23 announced a new slate of Korean shows — from reality to crime and sci-fi to romance and dramas, among others. The SVOD pioneer, which has long embraced South Korean content, next month (April 10) will bow the first Korean language original movie, Time to Hunt, since the 2017 release of Okja.

“From K-pop and K-food, to K-zombie and K-content, we’ve seen how much people in different parts of the world love Korean cultures and stories,” Minyoung Kim, VPt of Korean content at Netflix, said in a statement. “By making it easy for people to watch films and shows from other countries, we can help them build empathy and develop a shared understanding of the world”.

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Last year, Netflix’s “Crash Landing on You,” a romance about a couple from the two Koreas (North and South) showed the popularity of K-content making the top 10 list in the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Earlier this month Netflix began streaming the second season of “Kingdom.” The K-zombie series has again become one of the Top 10 titles in almost every Asian country, according to Netflix.

New Content includes police drama “Rugal,” premiering March 28 in Korea/APAC/all English speaking countries/Latin America; and on May 24 in Japan and the rest of the world. Main cast members include Choi Jin-hyuk and Park Sung-woong.

“Extracurricular,” about a group of high school students who have chosen a life of crime,” streams on April 29, starring Kim Dong-hee, Jung Da-bin, Park Joo-hyun.

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“The King: Eternal Monarch” is a romantic fantasy drama that revolves around relationships of the people from two parallel universes. Cast includes Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun, Woo Do-hwan, Kim Kyung-nam, Jung Eun-chae.

“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” is about an unusual romance between two people who end up healing each other’s emotional and psychological wounds. The show premiers in June starring Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji, among others.

Netflix series in suspended production include: “Twogether,” featuring two top celebrities from Seoul and Taipei who go on a trip to several cities in Asia to meet their fans and become friends. Cast: Lee Seung-gi, Jasper Liu.

In “The School Nurse Files,” a newly appointed high school nurse discovers secrets and mysteries with her supernatural abilities of chasing ghosts. Cast: Jung Yu-mi, Nam Joo-hyuk.

“Sweet Home,” about a reclusive high school student, moves into an old apartment complex after the tragic death of his entire family. He soon realizes complex residents, including himself, are trapped and surrounded by monsters in various forms of distorted human desires, which are about to sweep away mankind. Cast include Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young.

Currently streaming: “Itaewon Class,” about a group of youths, held together by their mutual stubbornness and bravado, start a “cool” revolt against an irrational world.

“Hyena,” about a jaded female lawyer willing to use every last sexy trick in the book to make money, no matter how evil the means can be. Other titles include, “Hi Bye, Mama!,” “Hospital Playlist,” “Kingdom S2” and “My Holo Love.”

 

Disney+ Unveils Updated Reality TV Slate

Disney+ Feb. 3 announced it is developing a reboot of reality TV series “The Quest,” now featuring teen participants and adding more worldbuilding interactive elements. The streaming service has also greenlighted the competition series “The Maze,” National Geographic’s “Meet the Chimps,” and an untitled docuseries that follows Pixar’s SparkShorts program as they discover talented new storytellers.

“The Quest,” which originally aired on ABC for 10 episodes in 2014, features a cast of everyday teens who are transported to a fantasy world called Everealm, where they have adventures and compete to be the last “true hero” remaining.

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“These projects take people on epic adventures, immerse them in fantastical worlds and shine a light on extraordinary people and creatures, which are all important benchmarks of our Disney+ nonfiction content philosophy,” Agnes Chu, SVP of content at Disney+, said in a statement.

Filmed at a castle outside Vienna, Austria, “The Quest” is a reality competition that takes place in the fantasy world of Everealm. Teen contestants compete in an unfolding drama where they encounter mystical beings and magical encounters that rival their favorite books, games and movies. They will be embedded in a fully immersive, 360-degree world complete with seamless technology, creature design, practical effects and scripted characters who interact dynamically with them. The series is executive produced by Court Five’s Mark Ordesky (“The Lord of the Rings”) and Jane Fleming; Scout Productions’ David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric (“Queer Eye”); and New Media Collective’s Bertram van Munster, Elise Doganieri and Mark Dziak (“The Amazing Race”).

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Adventure competition “The Maze” brings five teams consisting of one adult and one teen relative on a journey of mind-bending proportions. Participants will solve riddles and decipher clues that will guide them through European cities and fairytale villages. In each episode, the characters will reveal information to participants pushing them onward and closer to their final destination where all contestants will convene, but only one team will solve the Maze. It is also executive produced by van Munster, Doganieri and Dziak.

National Geographic’s “Meet the Chimps” takes viewers into one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world — Chimp Haven — a 200-acre refuge tucked deep in the forested heart of Louisiana, which is home to more than 300 chimpanzees. This six-part series tracks the ups and downs of this extraordinary group of chimps that are given a second chance at life by a staff whose dedication, compassion and commitment knows no bounds.

Through a seamless blend of natural history and observational-documentary filmmaking, “Meet the Chimps” puts the chimps — the heart and soul of the series — at front and center. A real-life drama with a full emotional range, the series gives unparalleled access to everything happening at Chimp Haven, including food squabbles, alliances, romances, “bromances,” tears, tantrums, high jinx and heartbreaks. “Meet the Chimps” is produced by Blink Films (“Meet the Penguins,” Meet the Orangutans,” and “The Creative Brain”), with Justine Kershaw and Michael Welsh serving as executive producers, and Virginia Quinn as series director.

The untitled Pixar series from Supper Club (“Chef’s Table”) will follow Pixar’s inventive SparkShorts program. By offering a select group of Pixar employees the opportunity to make their own animated short film, the SparkShorts program helps discover and support the next generation of Pixar storytellers. The series will give audiences an exclusive and immersive look at the filmmakers and their films, while exploring the creative philosophy and community that makes Pixar unique. Brian McGinn, Jason Sterman and David Gelb executive produce.