Roku Greenlights Original ‘The Real Bros of Simi Valley’ High School Reunion Movie

Roku has greenlighted the original feature film The Real Bros of Simi Valley: High School Reunion, which will stream exclusively on The Roku Channel this summer.

The movie is a continuation of the original comedy series, co-created by Jimmy Tatro and Christian Pierce, that became a social media hit generating more than a billion views across video platforms. The movie reunites “bros” Jimmy Tatro, Nick Colletti, Tanner Petulla and Cody Ko. Christian Pierce also returns as Aldis.

With their 10-year high school reunion around the corner, Xander (Tatro) and his squad (Colletti, Petulla, Ko) embark on a journey to become the “dopest” versions of themselves.

“One simply cannot make a show about a group of friends who peaked in high school without highlighting an event as monumental as their 10-year reunion,” Tatro and Pierce said in a statement.

The Real Bros of Simi Valley: High School Reunion is produced by Studio71, with Michael Schreiber serving as producer, and Adam Boorstin as executive producer. The film is written by Pierce and Tatro, who also directs. Morgan Pichinson oversees the project on behalf of Roku Originals.

Tatro most recently starred in Searchlight’s Independent Spirit Award nominated film Theater Camp, which won Best Ensemble at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 Independent Films of 2023. He will also be seen in Nick Stoller’s You’re Cordially Invited, opposite Will Ferrell and Reese Witherspoon for Amazon Studios. On television, Tatro was nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award for Best Actor for his role in “American Vandal.”

Pierce is also known for his various roles on the YouTube Channel “Life According to Jimmy” (3.43 million subscribers), which hosts more than 200 original sketches that he’s written and directed.

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The CW Network, Roku, Aussie Streamer Stan Partner for Original Dramedy Series ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’

The CW Network, Roku and Australian streamer Stan have teamed up for the original scripted series “Good Cop, Bad Cop,” starring Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girl”), Luke Cook (“Katy Keene,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) and Clancy Brown (“Dexter: New Blood,” “Billions”).

The series is set to premiere on The CW in 2025 and will stream on The Roku Channel in the United States and on Stan in Australia.

Production on the eight-episode procedural dramedy, created by John Quaintance (“Reboot,” “Will & Grace”) and produced by Jeff Wachtel’s Future Shack Entertainment and Jungle Entertainment, is slated to begin later this spring in Queensland, Australia.

The one-hour show is centered around Lou (Meester) and Henry (Cook), an odd couple sister and brother detective team in a small Pacific Northwest police force. They must contend with colorful residents, a serious lack of resources, and their very complicated dynamic with each other and with the police chief Big Hank (Brown) — who happens to be their father.

“[This] is the type of series that will instantly draw viewers in,” Brian Tannenbaum, head of originals at Roku Media, said in a statement.

The series is produced in association with and distributed by ITV Studios in the United Kingdom. The production is supported by the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy.

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NBCUniversal Content Video Clips Launch on The Roku Channel

NBCUniversal and Roku Feb. 28 announced that short-form video clips from “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” are now available on The Roku Channel after airing on NBC. Clips from NBC Sports will be launching in the coming weeks.

Viewers can also access each show’s regularly updated library of clips via specific landing pages, discoverable through the Roku Home Screen and Roku Search.

“Roku is an important partner, bringing our entertainment and information to tens of millions of homes and broadening our footprint for our audiences and partners,” Matt Schnaars, president of content distribution for NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

Current and newly launched NBCUniversal apps and services on Roku include Peacock, NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, USA, NBC Sports, NBC News and CNBC. FAST Channels include NBC News Now, Dateline 24/7, Today All Day, LX, NBC and Telemundo local owned stations, The Rotten Tomatoes Channel, Saved by the Bell, American Crimes, Bravo Vault, E! Keeping Up, GolfPass, Historias de Amor, Lassie, Made in Chelsea, Million Dollar Listing Vault, NBC Sports, Oxygen True Crime Archives, Real Housewives Vault, SkyNews, SNL Vault, The Long Ranger, Top Chef Vault, Murder, She Wrote, Alfred Hitchcock, Little House On The Prairie, Bad Girls Club, TNBC, Universal Action, Universal Crime, Universal Monsters, and Universal Westerns.

Through Dec. 31, 2023, The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 120 million people and is a top 10 streaming app in the U.S., according to Nielsen.

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Roku Greenlights John Cena Talk Series About Cars and Conversation

Roku Nov. 16 announced that it has greenlit the celebrity talk series “What Drives You,” hosted by John Cena.

The show — Cena’s first-ever talk series — expands Roku Originals’ existing relationship with the former WWE star-turned-actor/pitchman, which includes his prior role in the comedy series “Die Hart 2: Die Harter” and the upcoming docuseries “WWE Superstars of Tomorrow,” which is produced by Cena.

In the talk show, Cena will hit the road with his celebrity friends in their favorite vehicles that hold a special meaning to them. In each episode, he’ll hitch a ride with a new guest for an in-depth interview and excursion, as they discuss a wide variety of both funny and deeply personal topics, all the while reminiscing about some of the guest’s favorite memories associated with their prized ride.

“The car you drive and where you drive it can say a lot about who you are, from your personality type to what you value and prioritize the most,” Cena said in a statement.

Brian Tannenbaum, head of originals, Roku Media, said Cena’s gift of gab, quick wit and charm make for a compelling show.

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“John infuses extraordinary energy into every conversation he has, giving viewers an under-the-hood look into the lives of each guest,” Tannenbaum said.

The series is produced by ITV America’s Leftfield Pictures. David George, Shawn Witt, Sean Moran, Jay Bienstock, Cena and Dan Baime are the series’ executive producers. Sean Boyle oversees the series on behalf of Roku Originals.

Roku Orders Second Seasons of Reality Shows ‘UFO Cowboys,’ ‘Reptile Royalty,’ ‘Lincoln Log Masters’

Roku is ordering second seasons of unscripted original series “Reptile Royalty,” “UFO Cowboys” and “Lincoln Log Masters.”

Season one of “Reptile Royalty” showed viewers how running the world-renowned Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a never-ending adventure for social media sensation Jay Brewer and his team.

Season one of “UFO Cowboys” introduced viewers to the Cowboy Sky Watchers, a group of ranchers who investigate extraterrestrial encounters and paranormal activity throughout the American West — an area with more paranormal sightings than anywhere else in the United States.

Based on Hasbro’s childhood toy Lincoln Logs, season one of “Lincoln Log Masters” follows a home building company as it designs, builds, breaks down, and rebuilds log homes and structures across Oregon.

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“Each of these series invites viewers into unbelievable, everyday realities,” Brian Tannenbaum, head of originals, Roku Media, said in a statement.

The Roku Channel Nabs Exclusive U.S. Rights to ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’

Roku Oct. 10 announced it has landed exclusive U.S. rights to “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” the television adaptation of the book series of the same name by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.

Produced by Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television, the eight-episode series will debut on The Roku Channel in early 2024.  The adventure novels reached No. 1 on the New York Times’ best-sellers list, with 20 million copies sold, and have been translated in over 30 countries.

“The Spiderwick Chronicles” follows the coming-of-age story of the Grace Family as they move from New York to Michigan and into their family’s ancestral home. Upon arrival, the family not only uncovers mysteries hidden inside their great grandfather’s Spiderwick Estate, but also discovers a secret, fantastical world around them.

The cast includes Joy Bryant as Helen Grace; Noah Cottrell as Simon Grace; Lyon Daniels as Jared Grace; Mychala Lee as Mallory Grace; Jack Dylan Grazer as the voice of Thimbletack, and Christian Slater as Mulgarath.

Paramount Global Content Distribution distributes the series internationally.

The series joins Roku’s growing slate of Roku Originals including WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story, “The Great American Baking Show,” “Die Hart 2: Die Harter,” “Meet Me in Paris,” “Honest Renovations,” and “Morimoto’s Sushi Master,” among others.

NBCUniversal Ups FAST Distribution on The Roku Channel

NBCUniversal and Roku Aug. 15 announced an expanded deal bringing catalog TV programming to The Roku Channel, the latter’s free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) platform. 

Starting today, NBCUniversal’s Global Distribution Studio Entertainment Channels available on The Roku Channel include “Murder, She Wrote,” featuring episodes of the Emmy-winning mystery drama starring Angela Lansbury; “Little House on the Prairie,” starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert that centers on the Laura Ingalls family, who ventures out west in the late 1800s in search of a new life and land; and “Universal Crime,” which is comprised of notable library series such as “Columbo,” “Kojak,” and “The Rockford Files,” among others. 

Additional FAST channels coming to The Roku Channel today include “Saved By The Bell,” featuring all the series in the comedy franchise that follows the inventive schemes and mischievous dreams of a tight-knit group of friends, as they navigate high school, college, and beyond; “TNBC” (Teen NBC), presenting series such as “Punky Brewster,” “Major Dad,” and “Hang Time”; and “Bad Girls Club,” featuring seven bold, brazenly misbehaved women attempting to transform their reckless ways. 

More channels will also be launching later this year, including “Universal Action,” featuring series like “The A-Team,” “Magnum P.I.,” starring Tom Selleck, and “Knight Rider,” starring David Hasselhoff, and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” the Emmy-winning anthology series showcasing the iconic mysteries created by the legendary filmmaker. 

NBCU’s existing FAST relationship with Roku includes NBC News Now, Dateline 24/7, Today All Day, LX, NBC local channels, Telemundo regional news channels, Sky News International, and The Rotten Tomatoes Channel, as well as a broadening of NBCU Global Distribution’s relationship with Roku, beyond the licensing of films, TV series, and Telemundo programming. 

“As FAST continues to gain popularity in the marketplace, bringing content options – including a strong roster of very well-known, fan-favorite programming – [is key] to our viewers,” Jennifer Vaux, VP, content acquisition & programming for The Roku Channel, said in a statement.

Bruce Casino, EVP, sales & distribution, U.S. for NBCUniversal Global Distribution, said the media companies legacy TV programming has stood the test of time with audiences around the world. 

“Expand[ing] our relationship with The Roku Channel and the dramatically growing FAST sector…brings our TV shows to [a larger audience],” Casino said. 

Roku Channel Unveils Trailer for Original Series ‘Reptile Royalty,’ Due July 21

The Roku Channel has released the trailer for the first season of its original reality series “Reptile Royalty,” which starts streaming July 21.

In the six-episode season, running the world-renowned Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a neverending adventure for social media sensation Jay Brewer and his team. Viewers will encounter one scale-covered tale after the next, as Brewer cares for more than 600 of the rarest and exotic reptiles on Earth alongside his daughters and fearless fellow animal lovers. Get an all-access pass to the famous zoo, jam-packed with laugh-out-loud adventure and unavoidable chaos.

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Nielsen: 2.5% Uptick in May Streaming Use as The Roku Channel Enters Chart for the First Time

After a 2.1% decline in April, May saw a 2.5% resurgence in U.S. streaming video usage across U.S. household televisions with 36.4% total TV viewing time, up from 36% in April, according to new Nielsen data.

Nielsen attributed about 50% of the viewership gain to implementing a methodology change that credits the viewing to streaming originals (as identified by Nielsen Streaming Content Ratings) via cable set-top boxes to the streaming category. This viewing was previously included in the “other” category.

The Roku Channel for the first time generated standalone coverage in Nielsen’s monthly “The Gauge” report, capturing 1.1% of total TV usage in May, driven in part by original programs “The Great American Baking Show” and comedy “Die Harter” season two.

Despite the overall market gains, however, total TV usage (including broadcast, cable and other) fell 4.4% from April.

Nielsen said the breakout performance of The Roku Channel in May underscored the growing footprint of free ad-supported television (FAST) services. Combined, the three FAST services (Pluto TV, Tubi, The Roku Channel) generated the same streaming video usage as Peacock and Max. And in aggregate, they account for more viewership than Prime Video.

Meanwhile, Netflix and Prime Video each gained momentum in May, posting usage gains of 9.2% and 5.1%, respectively. Roughly half of the Netflix increase was driven by the methodology change, coupled with the fact that the platform had the top three streaming titles this month: “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” (5.4 billion viewing minutes), Sony Pictures’ A Man Called Otto (3.1 billion) and original movie The Mother (3 billion). Capturing 3.1% of TV, Prime Video benefitted from the strength of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Citadel,” which combined for 2.7 billion minutes. And for the fourth straight month, YouTube maintained its stance as the top streaming video platform, gaining 0.4 share points to account for 8.5% of total TV viewing.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s MotorTrend Brand Adds Free Ad-Supported TV to The Roku Channel

Warner Bros. Discovery June 5 announced that it will bring its MotorTrend brand’s free ad-supported television (FAST) linear channel to The Roku Channel. The expansion is a significant step in MotorTrend’s strategy to offer automotive content to wider streaming audiences.

“Since launching seven months ago, we’ve seen over 10 million hours of ad-supported viewing across five continents, cementing MotorTrend’s mission to transform the way car fans connect with their favorite automotive programming,” Alex Wellen, CEO of MotorTrend Group, said in a statement.

Roku and MotorTrend in April announced co-production for the second season of “Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew” created in partnership with Hartbeat Productions, and streaming on The Roku Channel as a Roku and MotorTrend Original series.

“Given the popularity of the automotive content previously distributed with MotorTrend, Roku is [eager] to bring our millions of streamers access to additional premium automotive content,” said Jennifer Vaux, VP of content acquisition and programming at Roku.

Additionally, the new FAST distribution deal strengthens the long-standing partnership between MotorTrend Group and Roku, in which 7,000 episodes of MotorTrend content can be viewed ad-free through MotorTrend+ on the Roku platform, and on the MotorTrend channel with a MotorTrend Roku Premium Subscription.

MotorTrend FAST TV is also available on Amazon Freevee, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio WatchFree+, Xumo, and Plex, the latter providing international distribution. The FAST channel is also available on MotorTrend.com and MotorTrend+ as an owned-and-operated channel.

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