Wednesday October 9, 2018

Kal Penn and Michael Schur? How does this not get a straight to series order?

FX has renewed Mr. Inbetween.

Season 3 of Riverdale premieres tonight.

A new reality series from TNT and Lionsgate will crowdsource the diagnosis and treatment of real medical cases on live television. The Turner network has ordered 10 episodes of M.D. Live, a two-hour weekly series will see patients battling various ailments consulting a recurring panel of doctors, who will discuss potential diagnoses before asking the live audience for additional feedback, solutions and support. As it deals with life-threatening illnesses and unusual maladies, the show will enlist a ‘top bio-ethicist to ensure the medical team is able to provide the best patient-forward support,’ according to the network.”

Is anyone surprised sexual assault allegations are being hurled at James Franco?

“Are American viewers finally ready to expand their love of culinary programming from reality to scripted? NBC, Sony and Will Arnett’s Electric Avenue think there’s a chance — exploring a restaurant workplace comedy based on U.K. format Whites. It's not a title that particularly seems ripe for adaptation, airing over just six episodes in 2010. But it earned better-than-average ratings for network BBC Two and managed to court some critics at the time. Per NBC, the new stab is “set in the high-paced and hilarious kitchen at a beautiful restaurant in upstate New York. Roland White, a disgraced wunderkind of the New York culinary scene has spent the last three years here in exile, and things are complicated when the owner hires a new pastry chef, Emily, who is as gluten-free, farm to table and gender-neutral-pronoun-using as anyone on the planet.”

Yeah, we know they chose Colton to be the Bachelor because he’s a virgin.

“Fatima Ali is a chef in NYC and a former Top Chef contestant. Last year, she was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and surgery and wrote about how the experience changed her relationship to food. In September, Ali learned that the cancer had returned and was told she had a year to live. Here, she writes about how the terminal diagnosis is giving her a new perspective on life. . . .It’s funny, isn’t it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living. When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel. I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before. . . .An odd sense of relief has settled inside me, knowing that I can finally live for myself, even if it’s just for a few more precious months. I call a local hair stylist to come to my hospital room to dye half my hair platinum blonde and buzz the rest. He panics a little as he’s setting up, whispering to my brother in his thick Italian accent. “The dye… it won’t, uh, burn her scalp will it?” I tell him to carry on even if it does. It’s the only sense of control I feel like I have right now. I have embraced my alter ego. She doesn’t hold back.”

MTV wants Jersey Shore fans to get their fix even when they’re at the gym, tanning or doing laundry — and to make it happen, Viacom Digital Network is launching a standalone Jersey Shore YouTube channel on Oct. 18, dedicated to bringing fans exclusive content from their favorite cast members. The channel will kick off with nine episodes of “Cooking in the Crib with Snooki & Joey,” a new weekly show where viewers hang out in the kitchen with cooking-challenged Snooki and her best friend Joey Camasta as she scrambles to figure out a new recipe. Episodes, which will feature a rotating cast of guests, will come out each Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. And if you’re looking for more Snooki, she’ll be reunited with longtime housemate Jenni ‘Jwoww’ Farley on Moms With Attitude, another YouTube-only show, where they’ll dish on all things sex, drinking, and, well, motherhood. The first Moms With Attitude episode will premiere Oct. 28, with 14 new episodes coming each Sunday at noon ET.” JUST what the world needs.

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Per Vulture, “When you’ve been doing comedy together for as long as Nick Kroll and John Mulaney have — nearly 20 years now — there comes a time when you write scenes where you talk dirty to each other and sloppily make out. For Kroll and Mulaney, that scene came in episode four of the second season of Big Mouth, which premiered this past weekend. But, it being Big Mouth, it was not so simple. For the characters they were voicing, Andrew and Lola, the make-out was the result of a complicated mix of shame and hormones — a complex collaboration between Andrew’s Hormone Monster and Shame Wizard.

“This scene is the focus of the premiere episode of the fourth season of Good One, Vulture Comedy’s podcast about jokes and the people who write them. Listen to the episode and read a short excerpt of the discussion below. Tune in to Good One every Monday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts:

How did you decide to pair Andrew and Lola?
Going way back to the beginning of the season, we had some ideas of things we wanted to hit. Big ideas. The biggest is the idea of a Shame Wizard. So, Andrew Goldberg, whom I created the show with, alongside Jen Flackett and Mark Levin, came to us thinking about season two, and I was like, “I think we should have a shame character, like a shame monster.” And I said I thought it should be a Shame Wizard because there is some kind of spell that shame puts over us and haunts us with. Then our room opens up, and we talk about what the season will look like. “We have this Shame Wizard — how will this manifest itself? What would be a good inciting incident for Andrew’s shame?” We decided Andrew gets caught masturbating to Nick’s sister’s Leah’s bathing suit that she has hung in the pool house. Leah sees him jerking off, Andrew runs off from the house, the Shame Wizard sort of follows him, and we see the beginning of the Shame Wizard. Then it becomes: What are some good examples or ways to express that? What are different manifestations of how shame would play out in a boy like Andrew?

I have all of the characters on the wall behind me in the writers room so that I am sort of looking around and seeing who would be fun to play with in this scene. All of a sudden it became very clear that some sort of relationship between Andrew and Lola would be a fun relationship to see play out. We just had not seen that combination of characters. Obviously, it is Andrew and Lola, but also it’s a different relationship for me and John Mulaney to play with.

Specifically you and John talking dirty with each other.
Andrew is filled with shame, and then all of a sudden he becomes physically excited by a girl telling him that he is a piece of shit. I was interested in the idea of an origin story of how someone got into BDSM. How do those patterns begin? How do we see a guy who 30 years from now might want to have his balls stepped on by high heels? Where does this begin? Maybe it begins with a kid filled with shame, some girl telling him that he is a piece of shit, and him getting turned on by it.

A funny thing about being a comedian, specifically one who does improv and sketch, is that you often find yourself in a situation where you might kiss your friends. Have you ever kissed John before?
Have I ever kissed John before? I don’t think Gil and George have ever kissed. No, I guess not. Well, Andrew and Nick kissed in season one. Yes, when Andrew is struggling to figure out if he is gay or not, Nick kisses him as a friend to give Andrew a sense if he would feel anything. But I don’t think any of our other characters have kissed. What has happened is, I voice the Hormone Monster and John voices Andrew who is constantly masturbating, so I have been present and encouraging of John to masturbate a lot of times.

There is a romantic quality to Gil and George’s relationship, but it is not sexual. Like, I believe there was a joke in Kroll Show where someone assumed they were partners. They said they don’t have sex, but then thought about how a lot of older couples don’t necessarily have sex either.
Yes. I mean, you could not have a more intimate relationship than George and Gil. I think the joke was that they have been friends and doing drugs for 50 years together. Undoubtedly, there were definitely a few times where George had sex with Gil. Or, at least, George definitely pimped Gil out to wealthy Saudi men. Over the years, we definitely believe strongly that that happened.

The first season of any animated show is made in a vacuum, but what was the timetable? Were you still working on the second season when the first came out?
We had written and voiced the majority of season two before the show came out, which was in a way a blessing because we got to make a show in our bubble. When the show came out and people responded to what they responded to, we felt pretty good. The stuff that people liked was the stuff that we liked, too, and we have continued along that line. What we couldn’t have foreseen was the #MeToo movement. Though even before that — before Trump’s election — you could feel there was a general feeling that there were some seismic shifts that were starting to unfold. It hadn’t exploded yet when we wrote the second season, so there were certain things that we then went through to see if it still tracks. Or we leaned into it in certain places. There is this episode called Guy Town, which is about boys moving Jesse’s dad, Greg, voiced by Seth Morris, into a man’s apartment building owned by Guy Bilzerian, Jay’s dad, who is also voiced by Jason Mantzoukas. The episode also deals with Andrew’s fallout with Lola, and really, about different versions of masculinity and toxic masculinity. So, we had Andrew grappling with the question, as he did in season one and he did in season two, and likely for the rest of this show: “Can I be horny and be a good guy, too?” I think this last year, a lot of men have had to ask that question.

What I like about the scene where Andrew and Lola kiss is, they realize the Shame Wizard and the Hormone Monster are sort of colleagues. They aren’t the angel and devil. It’s more complicated. How did shame evolve from being this antagonist to something more interwoven?
After season one, we had established that these kids have hormone monsters, but it felt like to just limit the idea that a kid has a hormone monster that is driving everything, or adults similarly just have an id that drives us, would do disservice to the emotional and scientific construction of the human personage. The idea that the Hormone Monster and the Shame Wizard are colleagues and affecting this kid Andrew felt to me like the way these things work. Sometimes they work in contrast with each other, and sometimes they work in tandem. As I said, I was interested in seeing how shame could inform someone’s desires.

We had written and voiced much of this season before the #MeToo moment took hold last fall, but when I started to read about the different people involved who had been called out for their behavior, in the parlance of our show, I thought there is a lot of Hormone Monster stuff here, but there is also a lot of Shame Monster. The idea of masturbating in front of a woman who does not want you to do it is, to me, a very shameful act. Like, “I am a piece of shit. I am doing this to you. It is a status play, but it is also gross and I know it, and it kinda turns me on …” To me, the Shame Wizard is very much a part of this thing as much as the Hormone Monster is as well. We were interested in figuring out where things are working together, for good or bad.”

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From TechCrunch: “Snapchat needs reasons for teens to come back every day as it struggles to grow amidst competition from Instagram, so it’s capitalizing on its Los Angeles roots. Today Snapchat unveiled its fall slate of a dozen ‘Original’ video shows including its first scripted programs from top producers like Keeping Up With The Kardashians creator Bunim/Murray and Friday Night Lights writer Carter Harris. There’s the supernatural soap opera Dead Girls Detective Agency, college comedy Co-Ed, and a docuseries about the “cash me outside” girl Bringing Up Bhabie.

“The Snapchat Originals will appear in Discover, which will soon have a dedicated section for Shows, as well as new permanent Show Profile pages available through Snapchat search where users can sign up for push notifications when each episode is released. Reaction lenses make it easy to post about a Show’s biggest moments. And with new Show Portal lenses, users can stick an augmented reality doorway in their Snaps that they can walk through to explore a scene from the Show and then tap to watch that Show, allowing them to spread virally.

“‘Time spent watching shows on Snapchat has tripled this year alone” Snap’s VP of Original Content Sean Mills tells me. The stats on Snap’s previous 60 shows from CBS, Viacom, the NFL and others since the project launched two years ago made it clear there was an opportunity to double down, especially as original mobile programming efforts like Facebook Watch and Instagram’s IGTV have stumbled. NBC News’ twice daily show Stay Tuned has doubled viewership in the past year to 5 million unique viewers per day, over half of which watch at least 3 days per week, while SportsCenter’s show reaches 17 million monthly viewers.

“Portal lenses use augmented reality to let viewers step inside a scene of an Original show and send the experience to friends

“Snap CEO Evan Spiegel telegraphed today’s announcement in a leaked memo, noting that the app sees ‘over 18 Shows reaching monthly audiences of over 10M unique viewers. 12 of which are Original productions’ and that ‘We are also working to identify content that is performing well outside of Snapchat so that we can bring it into Discover.’

“Snap Inc was cagey about sharing exactly how the deals to produce the shows work. Some Originals are funded entirely by Snapchat, some fully by production studios, and some are joint efforts. Mills claims ‘We’re not bidding on shows that are being shopped around town.’ They’re always shot vertically for Snapchat and will at least be exclusive to the platform for a window of time. Snap says the shows are created with fast-paced mobile behavior patterns in mind, employing overlaid graphics, split screens, quick cuts, and other modern video elements.

“One thing’s for sure: Snap doesn’t want to follow Facebook’s footsteps in funding original content. With Watch and Live, Facebook paid out big upfront sums to secure creators, but when that funding dried up, it was unclear how the unsubsidized shows would survive. “We want to set these things up for longer-term success” says Mills. “We’re not trying to just seed the market with huge investments and then hope it turns into something later. We’re very interested in the viability of this at the onset.”

“Originals will be monetized through two or three six-second unskippable Commercial ads in each show sold by Snap, the producers, or again a combination. Snap will try to seduce advertisers by pimping out its new Originals at the NewFronts West conference today in LA. The company will also embark on perhaps its biggest marketing effort to date after focusing on minimalist yellow billboards and airport security tray ads. Snapchat will be running ads on Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube plus some outdoor marketing in LA to clue people into its revamped content lineup. The dedicated Shows carousel  should also help the premium content rise above the news publisher clickbait and shoddy user generated content currently stuffed into Discover.

“Snap can’t afford to spend too much on Original programming and not have it pay off with ad revenue. The company llost $353 million last quarter, and at this rate may have to raise more money in 2019 or it could run out. An analyst yesterday predicted they expected Snap would lose $1.5 billion in 2019, which dragged the share price to $7 — by far its lowest ever.

“Snapchat’s forthcoming Shows channel in Discover and the new permanent profile pages for Shows

“As I wrote 18 months ago, Snap’s big opportunity is to fashion itself as the HBO of smartphones and use that draw to get people hooked on its whimsical ephemeral messaging. Though the slate of Originals look higher quality than much of the reality-style and vlogger video content already made for mobile, Mills says Snap isn’t ready to commit the resources to forge its own tent pole Game Of Thrones. ‘We’re still in the phase of learning about what the audience wants. We’re not setting up for one premium epic show that’s going to bring in all the rest’ Mills tells me. ‘It’s possible that in three months or six months we’ll start making bigger bets after learning what works.’ So essentially, Snap is in the Sex In The City, pre-Sopranos stage of turning into the mobile box office, or it’s like a modern Netflix funding lots of experiments but that’s yet to find its House Of Cards.

“After losing 3 million daily users and sinking to 188 million total last quarter, Snapchat needs something to reverse the growth trend. While Instagram and Facebook’s other apps have copied Snapchat’s Stories and visual messaging features, the Silicon Valley giant has yet to nail how to do premium mobile video content. If Snapchat can be the place for must-see TV on the go, it could lure in new and churned users looking for a relaxing escape from the competitive world of social media success theater.

Here’s the full list of new Snapchat Originals:

Endless Summer – Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan try to balance love, friends, family, and fame in this intimate snapshot of their lives in Laguna Beach. Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions. Docuseries – launching 10/10

Class of Lies – Best friends and college roommates Devon and Missy crack cold cases on their successful true-crime podcast. But can they solve the most important case of all when their best friend disappears without a trace? Produced by Makeready. Scripted – launching 10/10

Co-Ed –  Juggling classes, parties, and down-the-hall crushes, freshman roommates Ginny and Chris try their best to face whatever college throws at them, discovering who they are along the way. Produced by Indigo Development, Entertainment Arts and DBP Donut. Scripted – launching 10/10

Vivian – Vivian, the youngest scout at modeling agency Wilhelmina, takes us inside an exclusive world where she has the power to make wannabes’ dreams come true — but can she do that for herself? Produced by NBCU Digital Lab, the Intellectual Property Corp. in association with Wilhelmina. Docuseries – launching 10/22

The Dead Girls Detective Agency – This darkly comedic supernatural soap follows Charlotte Feldman, a young woman who must work from beyond to figure out how and why she died, in order to avoid an eternity in purgatory. Based on the young-adult novel by Susie Cox. Produced by Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, Insurrection, and Keshet. Scripted – launching 10/22

V/H/S – The next generation of the horror anthology series brings four new frightening experiences to the palm of your hand. Produced by Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Studio 71. Scripted – Launching 10/28

Bref – Based on the French format, Bref (loosely translated as “whatever”) is the story of a single man who is trying to live his best possible life with the least possible effort. Working title. Produced by Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Paramount TV. Scripted – launch date TBD

Bringing Up Bhabie – Follow the dramas of up-and-coming rap sensation and “cash me outside” viral star Bhad Bhabie, both onstage and off. Produced by Invent TV. Docuseries – launch date TBD

Growing Up Is a Drag – Follows the coming-of-age dramas of teen drag queens. Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions and PB&J TV + Docs. Docuseries – launch date TBD

Stunt Brothers – Three daredevil brothers obsessed with Hollywood movies recreate them at home with explosive consequences, and explore their archives of stunts from across the last 20 years. Produced by Magilla Entertainment. Docuseries – launch date TBD

Deep Creek – Follow a group of friends’ yearly summer trip to Deep Creek, Maryland — but this year, they all have emotional secrets to reveal. Produced by Woodman Park Productions. Scripted – launch date TBD

#Vanlife – Romantic comedy about a young couple that decides to opt out of the rat race and start a new life in a 2004 Dodge Sprinter — only to discover the glamorous life they’ve been following through hashtags is actually just straight-up living in a van. Working title. Produced by Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Above Average. Scripted – launch date TBS”

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From Variety: “ESPN Films’ 20-hour, six-week documentary Basketball: A Love Story more resembles a modern rom-com than your typical documentary. Rather than a chronological history lesson, it’s an episodic collection of anecdotes and stories that in some ways have more in common with Love, Actually than Ken Burns’ completist Baseball.

“The film weaves through the heartbreaking story of paralyzed player Maurice Stokes and his dedicated teammate Jack Twyman to the bitter women’s basketball rivalry of Tennessee’s Pat Summit and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma to tales of UCLA’s rise, the Dream Team, the Magic/Bird rivalry, the ABA and the emergence of international stars in the NBA with plenty of stops in-between.

“‘My film is not a history of basketball, because 20 hours is not even close to long enough,’ says director Dan Klores. ‘But it’s historical so there is a lot of stuff that is not obvious. I didn’t do the same old, same old story. I looked for new angles.’

“The series is comprised of 62 vignettes, features 165 interviews and a soundtrack of over 100 songs that together knit a rich tapestry. Among those to narrate are Chadwick Boseman, Julianne Moore, Chris Cuomo, Ashley Judd, Michael Che, Ansel Elgort, Ahmad Rashad, Robin Quivers, and more. Episodes air on ESPN on Tuesday nights starting on October 9th. Individual segments will also be available on the ESPN app, making the entire series accessible on any screen.

“LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird… The experience of watching Basketball: A Love Story is like sitting around a barbershop while the sport’s greatest icons cut up their favorite basketball moments and players with keen frankness and a surprising sense of humor. For example, one of Tuesday’s segments, entitled Signature Moves: The Feel, features famed center Wes Unseld. The Bullets star explains how he used to practice grabbing a rebound, turning in the air and throwing the ball off the backboard on the other side of the court in one move. ‘After you do it so many hundreds of times, it became quite easy,’ Unseld chuckles. ‘I used to win a lot of money that way.’

“Music plays a strong supporting role in the film, underscoring the scenes with subtle wit, such as when a segment about the 1970s ABA/NBA rivalry ends with Diana Ross & The Supremes’ Someday We’ll Be Together. In fact, because of the project’s episodic nature, music’s use as a narrative device feels even more pronounced and central to each story, as opposed to being used primarily as a transitional or interstitial element.

“Says Klores: ‘I didn’t want to overdo it with jazz because I don’t like that comparison. Oh basketball is like jazz. Yeah? so what. Nor did I want to pretend I was cool and throw in a lot of hip-hop.’

“The soundtrack spans the musical spectrum from Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller and Nat King Cole to Michael Jackson, The Grateful Dead, Judas Priest and Lil Wayne. It’s clear Klores, who first made his name in public relations representing a range of celebrity clients, spent hours sweating his musical choices.

“‘Making the music for my films is always the most fun for me, because I get completely obsessed,’ he says. ‘I will take many three-hour drives just listening to stuff.’ In the end, Klores guesses they might have considered upwards of a thousand songs.

“‘Even how it opens,’ he says with evident surprise, given who long he thought about the project before actually undertaking it. ‘For years, I had James Brown [in mind to] open. Then once I heard [Percy Sledge’s] ‘Come Softly to Me,’ it changed the entire feel.’

“Klores does a particularly deft job of drawing out the emotional connection to basketball by those who played. As one veteran notes, for many the sport was their rock and refuge through difficult times. For instance, the poignant anecdote by women’s basketball star Rebecca Lobo, who confesses that the court was the only place she liked being tall, or when Connie Hawkins says basketball is the only thing people ever told him he was good at. Absent fathers, poverty and emotional violence – basketball was a release, and often the only one for a young kid in desperate circumstances. Even for Klores.

“A graduate of University of South Carolina, he wrote Roundball Culture: South Carolina Basketball when he was 30, before going into PR. By the aughts, he had begun to separate from his Dan Klores Communications firm and explore careers as a documentary filmmaker (beginning with 2003’s “The Boys of 2nd Street Park”) and a playwright.

“Though Klores had kicked around the idea of Basketball: A Love Story for years, it only became a reality when he needed a refuge. ‘I wanted to do this film for many years but I had a crisis in my life so, quite frankly, I needed a distraction,’ he says without elaborating. ‘It provided an escape, safety and friendship.’

“That’s one of the throughlines of the series — how basketball has brought meaning and purpose to people’s lives and how special of a craft it is practiced largely in solitary but performed as an ensemble. ‘I call it Basketball: A Love Story because of my contention that the game has an obsessive element to it, and to me obsession is a form of love,’ Klores says. ‘Each of these short stories is about that mosaic of love. It’s both sides: The joy, the wonder and the embrace, or the loss, disappointment and betrayal.’”

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NBC still finds a way to redefine superfluous: “NBC’s long-gestating songwriting competition reality series Songland has received an 11-episode series order. The project hails from The Voice executive producer Audrey Morrissey, Eurythmics co-founder and producer Dave Stewart, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine  and his 222 Productions and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder.

“Songland, produced by Universal Alternative Television Studio, aims at giving talented up-and-coming songwriters the opportunity to collaborate with three music producers per episode who are responsible for today’s biggest hits.

“Songland had a long and slightly bumpy road to the screen. It was originally ordered to a pilot, with Stewart, Levine, Morrissey and director Ivan Dudynsky attached, in March 2015. A year later, as it was in the casting stage, the project came under intense scrutiny after an intellectual property attorney posted a warning about the onerous contract applicants were asked to sign giving up copyright on any submitted song. The issue was quickly addressed by NBC which amended the contracts for the show and stated the show’s IP rights policies on Songland’s Web site.

“In each episode five songwriters will perform their original tracks in front of three top music producers and a major recording artist on an intimate soundstage. The first episode features three-time Grammy nominee Charlie Puth as the recording artist along with a panel of producer-songwriters that includes Grammy winner Tedder, singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter Ester Dean and Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter Shane McAnally.

“Each song’s lyrics, arrangements, beats, melody and story will be considered by the panel as producers discuss ways to creatively adapt them to better fit the style and sensibility of the recording artist of the week.

“After the performances, the recording artist will choose three songwriters to move forward to the studio and pair them each with the producer best suited to perfect their song. In the studio, the songs will take shape as the songwriter and producer duos work together to win over the recording artist. In the end, a winner will be chosen and their song will be recorded and released as the top artist’s next single.

“Songland is produced by Live Animals in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, Dave Stewart Entertainment and 222 Productions. The concept was devised by Stewart, Morrissey and Dudynsky. Stewart, Morrissey, Levine and Dudynsky executive produce.”

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Per Deadline, “History has renewed six of its biggest unscripted series, including a massive 30-hour Season 6 order for flagship The Curse of Oak Island, which ranks as cable’s top nonfiction series among total viewers in Live +3, averaging over four million viewers. It is believed to be one of History’s largest orders ever. Additionally, the cable network has picked up a 10-episode second season of Oak Island’s promising offshoot, The Curse of Civil War Gold, the top nonfiction series launch across cable this season with total viewers. Also renewed for another season are Truck Night in America, History’s #2 new series this year; along with new seasons of hits Alone, Mountain Men and Swamp People.

“Additionally, History is ramping up its nonfiction lineup with five new series greenlights, representing the first full slate shepherded by the network’s EVP Programming Eli Lehrer. It includes Ax Men Reborn, a reboot of one of History’s signature series, which ended its run in 2016 after nine seasons and 153 episodes.

“New project greenlights also include Yamashita’s Gold. In the vein of War Gold, the series searches for a mythical treasure allegedly buried by WWII Japanese soldiers in the Philippine jungle. Also on deck are American Butcher (working title) where master butchers carve their way through historical challenges, along with two new series premiering in November, Knight Fight, in which modern-day warriors battle using era-specific weaponry and armor, and Brothers in Arms, about two Army veterans who are experts at historical military weaponry.

“The new orders and renewals come amid strong performance for History’s 2018 unscripted slate. Year-to-date, the network’s new nonfiction series have outperformed 2017 new series by 36% among total viewers. History is on pace to finish its 10th consecutive year as a top 10 ad-supported cable network among the basic cable’s target adults 25-54 demo.

“‘History is committed to delivering entertaining, compelling and informative programming and the solid performances of our new nonfiction launches this year prove this content is resonating with our loyal audience,’ said Lehrer. ‘Yamashita’s Gold, Knight Fight, Brothers in Arms and American Butcher are the perfect companions to our existing slate of signature hit series, as we continue to invest in quality series rooted in history that our audiences trust.’

“Details of History’s new nonfiction series are below:

Brothers in Arms – 5 X 60 min. – Premieres Tuesday, November 20 at 10PM ET/PT
With almost twenty years of military and law enforcement experience between them, Rocco Vargas and Eli Cuevas are about to combine their talents and embark on a new adventure. Vargas and Cuevas are the new owners of Banditos Armory in the historic town of Ogden, UT. Their goal is simple, to take their expertise and passion and become the best one-stop shop for all things military. From fixing and testing a Cold War Russian tank, one of only a few in America, to solving the mystery of an unidentified Japanese WW2 contraption that Allied troops had never seen before – and didn’t know how to fire. There’s little that the team at Banditos won’t do to investigate, restore, build, and test the most innovative, iconic machines in military history. No challenge or question is too big for Vargas and Cuevas, whether they’re working with military historians and veterans, opening their door to inquiries from avid customers, or even seeking answers to burning questions of their own.

Brothers in Arms is produced by Blackfin. Geno McDermott and Mike Colón are the executive producers for Blackfin. Dolores Gavin and Mike Stiller are the executive producers for HISTORY.

Knight Fight – 8 X 60 min. – Premieres Wednesday, November 28 at 10PM ET/PT
Live by the sword, die by the sword: knights were some of history’s most brutal warriors. With armor of steel and a will of iron, they took part in some of the bloodiest battles ever fought. These warriors were so dedicated that between bloody battles, they would challenge one another to extreme trials of combat. Today, the blood sport lives on in the form of the full-contact Armored Combat League — often referred to as Medieval MMA or Knight Fight Club. Rooted in historical traditions, these modern-day warriors battle in over eighty pounds of plated armor with real steel weapons. Now, for the first time, these modern knights are set to wage war in this eight-episode series. Each episode will feature six fighters who will customize era-specific armor and weaponry and engage in a series of full-contact battles to see who has the skill and the strength to win the ultimate Knight Fight.

Knight Fight is produced by Matador Content for HISTORY. Executive Producers for Matador Content are Jay Peterson and Todd Lubin with Vincent Cariati serving as Showrunner and Executive Producer. Jim Pasquarella and Mary E. Donahue are the executive producers for HISTORY.

Yamashita’s Gold (working title) – 8 X 60 min.
In the closing months of WWII, legend has it that Japanese soldiers – led by General Yamashita, along with Allied POWs – constructed secret tunnels underground in dozens of locations and buried treasure worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Yamashita had the entrances blown up, trapping the soldiers inside to keep his secret. It’s a grand mystery that involves a secret cadre of princes called the Golden Lily, booby-trapped tunnels marked by ancient Japanese symbols, and real-life characters like Douglas MacArthur, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and FDR. One Filipino farmer witnessed the operation and for the first time, he has entrusted his secrets to a group of dedicated investigators and engineers who are using the latest technology to search for the treasure – and the truth.

Yamashita’s Gold (working title) is produced by Ample. Ari Mark, Phil Lott and Ed Gorsuch are executive producers for Ample. Mike Stiller and Mary E. Donahue serve as the executive producers for HISTORY.

American Butcher (working title) – 6 X 60 min.
Throughout history, the skilled craft of the butcher has been a lynchpin to survival. In early civilizations when foodborne diseases were claiming lives, it was the butcher with their sharp tools and sharper skills who kept death at bay – eventually becoming a fixture in every town across America. Today, there are thousands of people who cut meat but only a select few with the skills and expertise to be considered a “Master Butcher.” Now, for the first time comes an extreme competition series where the best-in-class butchers battle each other in a showdown designed to put their skills, strategy and technique to the ultimate test. With knives drawn and machines at the ready, these Master Butchers will carve their way through painstaking challenges, use their expert knowledge to adapt to every historical twist, and reveal the fascinating secrets of the butcher’s world.

American Butcher (working title) is produced for HISTORY by Railsplitter Pictures. Matt Ginsburg and Tim Healy are executive producers for Railsplitter Pictures. Jim Pasquarella, Dolores Gavin and Mary E. Donahue are the executive producers for HISTORY.

Ax Men Reborn (working title) – 10 X 60 min.
The logging families of the Pacific Northwest have been torn apart since the long-running series Ax Men. Untimely deaths and a changing economic landscape have threatened family businesses. (Three Am Men cast members died between 2012 and 2016.) For these new generation of loggers, now is the time to start wielding the ax as the timber industry is on the upswing again and the old guard is looking for redemption.

Ax Men Reborn (working title) is produced for HISTORY by Original Productions. Jeff Hasler, Brian Lovett and Brian Mandle are executive producers for Original Productions, a Fremantle company. Zachary Behr, Mike Stiller and Dolores Gavin are the executive producers for HISTORY.”