Hulu to Bow Series on Wayne Brady’s Family

Hulu has announced an eight-episode series order for the an untitled Wayne Brady and family project from Fremantle and A Wayne & Mandie Creative, the joint production company founded by Wayne Brady and Mandie Taketa.

A launch date on the platform is forthcoming.

The series follows Wayne Brady, actor, comedian, host and singer, and his blended family. He’s still best friends with his ex-wife, soulmate and business partner Mandie Taketa. Together, they co-parent their 20-year-old daughter Maile Brady, a student and aspiring artist, as well as run their production company, A Wayne & Mandie Creative (“Wayne Brady’s Comedy IQ”). Jason Fordham, Mandie’s life partner of 12 years, handles the family’s cinematography and post-production; and Mandie and Jason recently expanded their already blended family with the birth of their son, Sundance-Isamu. 

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The series offers an intimate look into his blended family’s personal life — revealing unexpected points of view and values that most people (including his own family) have a hard time understanding. Viewers see their social media posts from vacations to dancing in Tik-Toks, but the series explores what’s behind them.

Hulu Orders 10-Episode Unscripted Series ‘Vanderpump Villa’

Hulu has announced a 10-episode order of the unscripted show “Vanderpump Villa.”

“Vanderpump Villa” follows the hand-picked staff of Lisa Vanderpump’s luxury French villa as they live and work together to navigate every extravagant desire of their well-to-do guests.

Lisa Vanderpump (“Vanderpump Rules,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”) will executive produce.

The show will be produced by Bunim/Murray Productions (“The Challenge,” “The Family Stallone,” “Surviving Bear Grylls,” “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”). Entertainment 360 is also attached as a producer.

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Born and raised in London, Lisa Vanderpump is a businesswoman, TV personality, author and philanthropist. In addition to being a producer and television personality, Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, have been entrenched in the restaurant and nightclub industry since they started their partnership over 30 years ago.

Roku Greenlights Three New Reality TV Shows

Roku announced the expansion of its unscripted original content slate with the greenlight of three new reality adventure series: “Fight to Survive,” “Reptile Royalty” and “UFO Cowboys.”  

Hosted by Akbar Gbajabiamila (“American Ninja Warrior,” “The Talk”), “Fight to Survive” takes viewers to a remote tropical island for an intense survival competition across episodes involving 17 contestants from previous reality survival shows, including “Survivor,” “Naked and Afraid” and “Alone” competing for the $250,000 top prize.

“Reptile Royalty” introduces viewers to the unpredictable world of social media’s Jay Brewer and his Reptile Zoo in Fountain Valley, Calif. Working alongside his three daughters and a colorful group of animal lovers, Brewer cares for more than 600 of the rare and exotic reptiles across six episodes. 

“UFO Cowboys” follows a group of ranchers, known as the Cowboy Sky Watchers, as they investigate paranormal happenings along the 37th Parallel over eight episodes.  Known as the “UFO Superhighway,” this area is known for UFO sightings and disturbances, with more supernatural and extraterrestrial sightings in the American West than anywhere else in the United States.

“Our latest trio of Roku Originals underscores our commitment to showcasing everyday people in extraordinary circumstances,” Brian Tannenbaum, head of alternative originals, said in a statement. “Each series offers our streamers a glimpse into an almost unbelievable world – with a mix of high stakes, fight, heart, and some humor along the way.” 

The series will exclusively debut later in 2023 on The Roku Channel. 

Netflix Renews ‘Love Is Blind’ for Two More Seasons, Plans More Romance Reality Shows

Netflix is doubling down on unscripted dating shows, adding seasons of “Love Is Blind,” “Too Hot to Handle,” “Indian Matchmaking” and “Love on the Spectrum” as well as new shows.

To unveil Netflix’s year-round offering of reality romance shows, stars of “Love Is Blind” and “Too Hot To Handle” teamed up to form the (fake) 2000s-style boy band N-2-LUV and previewed their debut single “Love Has No Offseason” for Nick Lachey, releasing a music video.

“Love is Blind” has been renewed for seasons four and five, which will each feature new singles and new cities. Season two marked five consecutive weeks on Netflix’s global top 10 list for English-language TV series, reaching the top 10 in 54 countries after it premiered on Feb. 11. A new season two installment, “Love Is Blind: After the Altar,” premieres later this year. Season three also premieres this year. In season three, singles who want to be loved for who they are, rather than what they look like, have signed up for a less conventional approach to modern dating in Dallas where they hope to meet the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with — without ever having seen them. With no distractions from the outside world, the singles talk to a stream of potential love interests and when a meaningful connection is made, they propose and then lay their eyes on their fiancé for the first time. Engaged and back in the real world, as the couples plan their wedding day, they will quickly discover whether they can turn their emotional connection into a physical one before the fast-approaching ceremony. The 10-part series is hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey.

“The Ultimatum” premieres April 6, followed by an all-queer season coming soon. In the series, six different couples are on the verge of marriage. One partner is ready to get married, but the other isn’t quite as sure. An ultimatum is issued — and in just over eight weeks, they must commit to marriage, or move on. In the meantime, each will choose a new potential partner from one of the other couples, in an opportunity to get a glimpse of two different possible futures. Episodes one through eight premiere April 6 with final episodes April 13. 

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The “Love on the Spectrum” U.S version premieres this year following the success of the Australian series, It’s a docu-reality series following people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships.  

“Dated and Related” premieres this year. In the new reality dating series, pairs of siblings will see each other’s love life up close as they search for “the one” together.

“Indian Matchmaking” season two premieres this year, with season three coming soon. In the series, matchmaker Sima Taparia returns to help some familiar faces and new singletons across the globe who have decided that it’s time to put their love lives in the hands of the expert. 
“Jewish Matchmaking” is coming soon. The new series from the producers of “Indian Matchmaking” features singles in the United States and Israel as they turn their dating life over to a top Jewish matchmaker. 

“Too Hot to Handle” season four is coming soon. Viewers will meet a new batch of hellraisers arriving for a sexy vacation where their assignment is to stick to the rules and abstain from any kind of sexual contact (or self-gratification) in order to form meaningful connections and keep prize money.

Another new series, hosted by Nick Lachey, brings together still-single stars from past Netflix reality shows who couple up in hopes of finding the perfect match. Stars will include participants from “Too Hot To Handle,” “Love Is Blind,” “The Circle” and “Selling Tampa,” among others. 

Fans can apply for future seasons of these shows on For more about Netflix reality, they can listen to the new podcast “We Have The Receipts,” hosted by Lauren Speed-Hamilton (“Love Is Blind”) and Chris Burns (“The Betchelor”). 


Competition Series ‘Foodtastic’ to Debut on Disney+ Dec. 15

All episodes of the Disney+ original series “Foodtastic” will debut Dec. 15 on the streaming service.

Hosted by Emmy award-winning actress Keke Palmer, “Foodtastic” is a global competition series in which skilled artists create extravagant scene work and larger-than-life sculptures made entirely out of food. From vegetables and butter to fruit and cheese, everyday items are transformed into works of art. Each episode is rooted in iconic Disney IP and the food-based builds are an extension of that world.

Flour Shop founder Amirah Kassem and NYC’s City Cakes founder chef Benny Rivera serve as food art experts on the series.

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HBO Max Orders Cooking Competition Series ‘The Big Brunch’

HBO Max has ordered the unscripted cooking competition series “The Big Brunch” from Dan Levy and Boardwalk Pictures (“Chef’s Table,” “Cheer”). The series is slated to premiere next year.

Created and hosted by Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”), “The Big Brunch” will offer chefs the opportunity share their stories and their business dreams, while also competing for a life altering prize — all while finding innovative and personal ways to redefine what it means to dine between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Everybody has a friend, a family member, or a co-worker that is extraordinary at what they do, they just need a leg up so that their talents can be appreciated on a larger scale,” Levy said in a statement. “Thanks to an almost obsessive love of food, I’ve been lucky enough to come across many of those people in the culinary world — friends working out of cafes or food trucks, revolutionizing the menus at local diners — those special humans who create communities around their cooking, hoping to take their skills to the next level. I created this show for them, the local culinary heroes of America who deserve a spotlight. That, and who doesn’t want to watch maple syrup being poured slowly over a golden stack of perfectly cooked, creme brûlée inspired French toast?”

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“What we love about this special show is that it serves more than mouth-watering culinary delicacies; it’s about heart, a love of cooking and spotlighting talent whose unique skills elevate the beloved brunch menu,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement. “There’s no better foodie or creative partner than Dan and the team at Boardwalk Pictures to celebrate those undiscovered voices, and, well, Brunch, the best meal to indulge in decadent sweet and savory dishes that are fueled by cocktails and caffeine.”

HBO Max, Cartoon Network and TBS to Premiere Unscripted ‘Harry Potter’ Specials

WarnerMedia Kids & Family will celebrate the 20th anniversary later this year of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone film with two new unscripted Wizarding World specials — a limited Harry Potter fan quiz competition series and a dedicated retrospective special — to premiere on HBO Max, Cartoon Network and TBS in the United States.

The unscripted game show and retrospective will help to find some of the biggest self-proclaimed fans to celebrate and test their Wizarding World knowledge. Produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon, the limited series will include four one-hour quiz challenges followed by the film retrospective.

Casting is now underway in the United States. Fans can visit to learn more about the show.

Viewers will also be able to take advantage of a play-along component.

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“To celebrate the dedicated fans old and new who have passionately kept the Wizarding World magic alive in so many forms for decades, these exciting specials will celebrate their Harry Potter fandom in a must-see multiplatform TV event,” said Tom Ascheim, president of Warner Bros. global kids, young adults and classics.

Netflix Testing Weekly Rollout of ‘The Circle’ and ‘Too Hot to Handle’

The second seasons of the Netflix unscripted competition series “The Circle” and “Too Hot to Handle” will premiere in batches on Wednesdays beginning in April, instead of dropping all at once, according to a blog post.

Netflix is “experimenting with the release format so you have time to dissect and dish on every step of the competition as it unfolds,” according to the post from Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted and documentary series.

“We’ll debut several new episodes at a time on Wednesdays beginning with the first four episodes of ‘The Circle’ on April 14,” he wrote. “Once ‘The Circle’ wraps in May, ‘Too Hot to Handle’ takes over in June.”

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Season two of “The Circle” features 13 episodes in which a cast of eight new contestants enter The Circle, where they compete in challenges against each other for top influencer on a social media platform with $100,000 on the line. The four-week episode drop is as follows: April 14, episodes 1-4; April 21, episodes 5-8; April 28, episodes 9-12; and May 5, the finale.

Season two of “Too Hot to Handle” features 10 new singles competing for $100,000, with new episodes premiering on Wednesdays in June.

Ampere: Delays of Scripted Content to Last Well Into 2021

Producers of new scripted content — which typically spends an average of 11 months in production — will be battling against COVID-related delays well into 2021, far longer than their unscripted counterparts, according to a study from Ampere Analysis.

While producers of new unscripted content — which spends an average of just two months in production — have been able to adapt production to the new circumstances, already overcoming the worst period of delays, the same is not true for their scripted counterparts, according to the analysis.

Compensating for the lack of new high-quality scripted content, unscripted commissions increased from 66% in Q2 2019 to 72% in Q2 2020. Reality shows benefitted the most from this trend with 24% more titles commissioned in Q2 2020 than in Q2 2019.

The temporary stop in production also forced programmers to air older and less popular content to fill gaps, and some have turned to unscripted material to pad their schedules, according to Ampere.

While the proportion of new content aired dropped steadily over Q1 and Q2 2020, unscripted content has already made a rapid recovery, with new titles representing a higher proportion of primetime series than before COVID-19. However, the proportion of new scripted primetime shows has yet to return to pre-COVID levels.

Meanwhile, linear viewers in the U.S. and U.K. rated comedy, crime and thriller, sport, drama, and sci-fi and fantasy as their top five genres in Q1 and Q2 2020 — the same period that saw a considerable decrease in the proportion of new titles aired for all five genres.

“At the time of writing, almost half of all scripted commissions from the first half of 2019 had yet to be released, highlighting the long production periods for scripted shows and the impact of exposure to the COVID-linked production hiatus,” Ampere stated. “As a consequence, delays for scripted titles ordered in the same period in 2020 — also exposed to the production shutdown — will run well into 2021.”

The firm noted BBC’s “Staged,” one of the few scripted drama titles to be produced during lockdown, has already been licensed in multiple markets, illustrating demand for fresh new scripted shows. The series, starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen, follows actors whose play has been put on hold due to COVID-19, but whose director has persuaded them to continue rehearsing online.

While the production of some scripted genres such as drama and romance can often be expedited, the ability to shorten the often lengthy post-production process for genres such as action and adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, and horror — while maintaining output quality — will be key to limiting the onward impact of the pandemic, the research firm stated. Programmers that can air the highest volume of new scripted content, through commissions or acquisitions, in the next 12 months will win over consumers, the firm concluded.

“COVID-19 has hit the production of high-quality, scripted content most severely, and producers will be fighting delays well into 2021,” said Ampere analyst Olivia Deane. “Linear programmers know that viewers won’t accept poor quality content and repeats indefinitely, and they will lose consumers to both broadcast and on-demand competitors if they don’t address the situation fast.

“This is particularly problematic for channels that offer a high proportion of original scripted content. To maintain a competitive edge, they will need to adjust their acquisition models to compete in the race to broadcast new, high-quality content. This suggests a time to shine for independent studios with scripted projects already in the pipeline. However, with indies facing their own delays, it’s likely that supply will be outweighed by demand for the foreseeable future.”

COVID-19 Hangover: 60% of Scripted Releases at Risk of Delay

Audiences and the industry can expect disruption to the supply and release of new content for more than a year as a result of production delays caused by COVID-19, according to a new report by Ampere Analysis.

The report finds 60% of scripted releases at risk of delay and a further 5% to 10% that may be lost entirely.

“Our analysis indicates that the unscripted market will more easily weather the current pandemic thanks to the production of non-location-based, and COVID-related, content,” according to Ampere. “However, the delay of summer ‘blockbusters’ like ‘The Bachelorette’ and ‘Love Island’ will have a negative impact on even the unscripted sector. We predict the scripted sector will take a far bigger hit: even if production is able to restart in June, underlying effects of the shutdown will be felt in the scripted TV market for the remainder of 2020, and well into 2021.”

In the second half of 2020, Ampere expects that the world’s top TV commissioners will release between 5% to 10% fewer new scripted titles on a monthly basis than previously predicted. The effect will last into the first half of 2021, and potentially longer.

Over half of scripted titles which would normally have released in the second half of 2020 are at risk of delays in release schedules due to the current production hiatus. Titles scheduled for release from June to August are likely to largely be in post-production, and Ampere expects delays will be more limited for this period.

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The number of scripted TV titles at risk of delay remains high for a year, with impact particularly intense at the traditional start of the broadcast season in the autumn. At this point, between 50% and 60% of scripted titles that would normally have been released in the period are at risk of delay by Ampere’s estimates. A further 5% to 10% of scripted titles expected to have been released during the autumn months are likely be lost entirely due to the current production shutdown, Ampere predicts. The proportion of scripted releases unaffected by the shutdown only rises above 40% in March 2021.

Compared to 2019, only 51% of scripted projects ordered during March through May 2019 have been released to date. With commissioning of scripted content down by 40% in the equivalent period of 2020, Ampere predicts the current lack of commissions will impact the supply of content well into 2021.

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“There is one certainty among the current uncertainty — that the COVID-19 pandemic will change the TV production industry far beyond the end of the lockdown,” Ampere senior analyst Fred Black said in a statement. “Initially, we expect delays to cause gaps in scripted TV release schedules, which broadcasters and streaming players will have to fill with other content. However, as delayed productions begin to fill out content gaps in later months, these gaps will begin to close. But this has further ramifications. The knock-on effect of delayed releases is a likely depression of the number of new commissions for some time after the shutdown ends, as commissioners look to fill schedules with delayed projects they have already invested in before signing off new ones.”

Unscripted content is set to bounce back quicker, according to Ampere. While a number of unscripted commissions expected over Q2 and Q3 2020 will be delayed, Ampere predicts release schedules will begin to return to normal by the autumn, with the percentage of titles unaffected rising to 71% by October. The biggest misses in the unscripted space are likely to be returning summer series that cannot go into production, such as reality stalwarts ‘Love Island’ and ‘The Bachelorette.’ Unscripted commissions have actually increased in comparison to the same period last year, partly to fill schedule gaps left by delayed or cancelled scripted series. However, a large proportion of these titles have been COVID-19-specific commissions. If this content is excluded, unscripted commissions have been down 27% since the beginning of March. Unlike scripted content, commissioners can typically order enough adapted unscripted content during lockdown to cover normal numbers of new unscripted releases, as well as help cover schedule gaps from delayed or cancelled scripted content.

Commissioners are currently creating a large number of extra unscripted projects which can be used to cover gaps in the schedule left by delayed titles or the missed scripted commissions,” said Black in a statement. “This number of extra commissions will begin to wane as the shutdown ends, with audience appetite for COVID-19-specific content already showing signs of falling.”