truTV Greenlights Six New Series as Part of Bold Brand Evolution
April 21, 2014 - truTV has greenlit six new series, part of a new wave of programming on tap as the network embarks on an extensive brand evolution. truTV is working with some of the industry's top producers to create programming designed to appeal to "funseekers," a younger, dual-gender audience that looks for television to take them on a fun ride that both surprises and entertains. Over the past eight months, truTV has put significant resources behind reshaping its brand and has turned over a slate of more than 30 new projects in development.
On the programming front, the network is focusing on creating shows that are authentic, clever and buzz-worthy – shows that viewers want to talk about and share. truTV's slate of new shows includes Fake-Off, a Kabuki-inspired, pop-culture-themed talent competition series; Way Out West, a reality western about three rival outfitter families in the Idaho backcountry; How to Be a Grown Up, a comedic take on the relatable trials and tribulations of true adulthood; Local News (working title), a look at the playful rivalry between the news teams at two small town television stations; and Hair Jacked, a new ambush game show that gives contestants the opportunity to win big money or go home with the cut of the day.
truTV has also responded quickly to the positive reaction surrounding the April 1 sneak peek of the new series The Carbonaro Effect by ordering 13 additional episodes before the first season even launches. The Carbonaro Effect, which stars comic magician Michael Carbonaro (pictured at left), is set to premiere Thursday, May 15, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). And the network will leverage the success of its hit series Impractical Jokers, which finished the first quarter of 2014 ranking as basic cable's #1 program in its Thursday night timeslot with adults 18-34. The network has ordered not only a fourth season of Impractical Jokers, but also a brand new spinoff series entitled Jokers Wild!
"We're extremely excited to be rolling out a robust slate of programming, including big swings in new areas including reality/scripted hybrid shows, sketch comedy, docusoaps and competition elimination as we continue to shape and evolve the truTV brand," said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for truTV. "Working with outstanding producers like 3 Arts Entertainment, Mission Control Media, Bunim/Murray Productions and Shine America, we are moving forward to give our targeted audience of 'funseekers' the type of programming they crave: a dynamic mix of action, comedy and competition series featuring engaging characters and compelling new worlds. These are the kind of shows that pull you in, take you on a fun ride and leave you wanting more."
truTV's newly greenlit series will join such recently announced pickups as The Carbonaro Effect; Friends of the People, truTV's first-ever sketch comedy and the design competition show Motor City Masters. In addition, truTV has more than 30 new series in development.
"At truTV, we are moving full speed ahead to build a lineup packed with new and different shows that are worthy of investment," Linn said. "A perfect example is The Carbonaro Effect, a series we are so excited about, we've already ordered additional episodes. We want producers to know that truTV is a place where they can come and play, an environment where they can develop their most innovative ideas into really great television."
In addition to expanding its programming slate, truTV is working with award-winning entertainment branding agency loyalkaspar on a refresh of the truTV brand. Currently in development, the creative strategy will include new design applications for all platforms.
"truTV's brand evolution will be a reflection of our new programming focus and the attitude of our target audience of funseekers," said Puja Vohra, senior vice president of marketing and digital for truTV. "Knowing that funseekers are tech-savvy, truTV can push the envelope on creative disruption to drive interactivity across all fan touchpoints."
truTV's new programming and brand update are being announced in the midst of the network's annual meetings with advertisers, a key component of truTV's Upfront strategy.
"We have listened to our advertising partners, worked hand-in-hand with the network on this brand evolution and are proud of what we are presenting to the marketplace this Upfront," said Donna Speciale, president of Turner Broadcasting Ad Sales. "This direction supports our overall Turner Upfront message by providing valuable content to advertisers across more screens and platforms than ever before."
Below is a rundown of truTV's five main programming categories, with details about the new series and projects that fall into each category.
Way Out West – Rogue Atlas Productions in association with Lionsgate Television
Way Out West takes viewers inside the Idaho backcountry, where three charismatic families are engaged in a rivalry in the outfitting business that has gone on for 150 years. truTV has ordered 12 episodes, plus the one-hour pilot, with plans to launch the series in July.
Local News (working title) – Electus
When a spunky young reporter from Connecticut lands her first big job in a small-town news market, an unexpected shake-up occurs. Local News follows a group of local anchors as they compete for the top spot in the game. The character-driven docu-soap will spotlight the playful – and at times cut-throat – rivalry between two local news stations and the dynamic newscasters who are determined to take their jobs seriously, even when some of the news they cover is less than serious. truTV has ordered eight episodes of Local News, which is slated to premiere in fall 2014.
The Carbonaro Effect – Fields Entertainment and 11 Television
This brand new series will follow comic magician Michael Carbonaro as he uses his skills to trick, amaze and amuse an unsuspecting public. truTV originally ordered 12 episodes of the series for the first season, plus a pilot presentation. The show generated a great deal of social media buzz with its April 1 sneak peek, prompting truTV to order 13 additional episodes before the series officially launches on Thursday, May 15, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).
Jokers Wild! – NorthSouth
From the producers of Impractical Jokers comes this new project featuring everyone’s favorite funny friends: Sal, Murr, Q & Joe. And this time they’ve got new skits, new bits and new guests that will keep audiences laughing week after week. In addition to greenlighting this new series for six episodes, truTV has renewed Impractical Jokers for a fourth season, ordering 26 episodes. Impractical Jokers recently finished Q1 2014 as basic cable's #1 program in its Thursday night timeslot with adults 18-34.
Motor City Masters – Bunim/Murray Productions and Aegis Media's The Story Lab (previously announced)
Fasten your seatbelt. The search is on for America's next great car designer as truTV and Chevrolet team up on this brand new competition series. Hosted by Brooke Burns (pictured at left), Motor City Masters will pit 10 designers against each other to test their limits of design expertise and creativity. Challenges on Motor City Masters will explore various aspects of design, inside and out. The designs will be judged by Jean Jennings, president and editor in chief of Automobile Magazine and internationally renowned car designer Harald Belker. They will be joined each week by a special celebrity guest judge. truTV has ordered 10 episodes of the Motor City Masters, which is scheduled to launch in June 2014.
Fake-Off – Shine America
Fake-Off is an original entertainment format featuring teams of performers who recreate and reimagine iconic moments in pop culture. A captivating mix of Kabuki theatre, acrobatics, dance, costume and illusion, Fake-Off is a highly visual talent competition series like nothing you've ever seen. For the first time ever, these colorful and creative teams will compete in an elimination battle to see who’s got the skills to be named America’s Fake-Off champions. truTV has ordered eight episodes of Fake-Off, with plans to air the series in the early fall.
Strip Series & Game Shows
Hair Jacked – Mission Control Media, Hazy Mills Productions and CORE Media Group
Produced by the team behind Hollywood Game Night, Hair Jacked is a hilarious, high-energy game show in which unsuspecting contestants have the chance to win cash prizes, all while getting a haircut. But they have to play smart because one wrong answer could send them packing with the worst hairstyle of their lives. truTV has ordered 16 half-hour episodes of Hair Jacked, with plans to launch the series in fall 2014.
How to Be a Grown Up – Mission Control Media
On How to Be a Grown Up, comics will offer humorous advice and common-sense solutions to universal issues facing all adults who feel like they’re a kid stuck in a grown-up body through interviews, sketches and animation. If you’re 40-going-on-21, this is the series for you. truTV has ordered 16 half-hour episodes for this series, which is slated to launch in summer 2014.
High-Concept & Hybrid Formats
Friends of the People – 3 Arts Entertainment & Marobru Productions (previously announced)
truTV's first-ever sketch-comedy series stars comedians Kevin Barnett, Jennifer Bartels, Jermaine Fowler, Lil Rel Howery, The Lucas Bros. and Josh Rabinowitz. The network has ordered 10 episodes, including the pilot, with plans to launch the series in fall 2014.