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.

 

NBC Universal Expands ‘hayu’ Streaming Service in Asia

NBC Universal has expanded its subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) reality service “hayu” to the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Launched in 2016 in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, hayu features reality TV content, including “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and its spin-offs along with “The Real Housewives,” “Million Dollar Listing” and “Top Chef” franchises, “I Am Cait,” “Made in Chelsea,” “Flipping Out,” “Shahs of Sunset,” “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (UK and Ireland) and “Don’t Tell the Bride” (UK and Ireland), among others.

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The service expanded to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark in 2017, and to Canada last year.

“Our direct-to-consumer launches in [Asia] — along with improved functionality on the platform — are two key milestones for hayu,” Hendrik McDermott, SVP, branded on-demand, NBC Universal International, said in a statement.  “Now available in 14 markets, hayu has distinguished itself as the must-have, all-reality service — built upon the foundation of NBC Universal’s expertise producing top-quality reality programming and the best third-party content.”

 

Netflix Launching First Mexican Reality TV Series

Netflix may not be interested in sports programming, but reality TV is fair game for the SVOD pioneer.

The world’s largest subscription streaming service announced that its first-ever Mexican reality series, “Made in Mexico,” featuring Mexico City’s wealthy socialites and their opulent lifestyles, is set to debut globally on Sept. 28.

Netflix launched service in Mexico in 2011, and currently has more than 6 million subs in the country – with household penetration above 70%. Netflix is projected to generate approximately $295 million with its Mexican streaming segment in 2020.

Made in Mexico follows the lives of nine well-to-do socialites in Spanish (with English subtitles), revealing the flawed lives of the seemingly perfect elite. They are passionate, unapologetically real, fashionable and sophisticated, and know how to set trends in one of the world’s most culturally vibrant cities, where family name is your bond and legacy is everything.

Cast members include Pepe Díaz, a 35-year-old successful businessman and nightclub impresario who wants to shed his playboy past and settle down into a new life.

Kitzia Mitre, born and raised into Mexico’s high society, is a fashion designer who splits her time between the city and her family’s sprawling ranch. When she’s not chasing after her toddler son, Kitzia sits atop her social circle, keeping a tight rein on who gains access while acting as the de facto arbiter of taste and style.

Carlos Girón Longoria is at the center of his social scene and is the connector between everyone in the “Made in Mexico” cast. Estranged from his father, Carlos keeps his focus on his fast-paced life as a TV host, actor and model when he is not refereeing the drama of his high-society friends.

Liz Woodburn is a cultured, well-traveled American food blogger who is recently engaged and finds that she must re-climb the social ladder as she adjusts to her new home after leaving New York City to live with her fiancé.

Columba Díaz is a high-fashion model who is the life of the party. The highly sought after bachelorette discovers herself in the middle of a love triangle, but wants nothing more than to focus on her career and philanthropy work.

Chantal Trujillo is an American expat who left a job at Vogue to follow the love of her life to Mexico. In short time, Chantal has made a name for herself as a lifestyle blogger running in Mexico City’s it-crowd. But the young fashionista must decide whether she made the right move coming to the city and if the prospect of a marriage proposal is really in her future.

Shanik Aspe is a TV personality and former swimsuit model who has dreams of being a pop star. While she enjoys the lavish life of TV celebrity, she has to figure out if she wants to give it all up for one last chance to become a singer or settle down to raise a family.

Roby Checa is a brother-in-law to Kitzia and the bad boy of the Checa clan. He is loud, proud and the ultimate showman who is always ready to entertain. The 31-year-old is balancing his desire to party with a need to find success in his business partnerships and prove to his family that he can make it on his own.

Hanna Jaff is 30-year-old politician and philanthropist who runs the Jaff Foundation. Hanna passionately pursues causes that are important to her, but sometimes finds her ambition leads to friction within her social circles.

 

 

 

NBC Universal, Roku Bow Reality TV Streaming Service Outside U.S.

Roku and NBC Universal March 16 announced the launch of a reality TV streaming service in the U.K. Dubbed, “hayu,” the service – available on the Roku Channel Store – 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.

Priced at £3.99 ($5.57), hayu offers subscribers a one-month free trial.

The shows – the majority of which debut on the service the same day as they premier 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.

“Reality TV continues to capture the hearts and attention of British consumers,” Ingo Reese, director content acquisition at Roku, said in a statement.

Hayu represents a further attempt by NBC Universal to market direct-to-consumer following the short-lived (one year) SVOD comedy platform SeeSo.

Hendrik McDermott, managing director at hayu, said the service enables NBC Universal to extend distribution of well-known U.S. brands beyond the pay-TV ecosystem in foreign markets.

“The launch of hayu … is an important step reaching even more consumers across the U.K.,” said McDermott.

The service is also available in Ireland, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.