Original Programing Blurs Lines Between a Hot Date and One Hot Mess

New, original programming from PopTV gives real-life lovebirds the chance to explore relationships and their downfalls in series aimed at millennial viewership

Originality in programming pays off, with its capacity to transfix viewers and captivate an audience.

After all, how likely are you to be able to turn away from a young man who has just found a used pregnancy test in his spaghetti?

PopTV has mastered the development of inventive and imaginative writing, editing and costume design in its current programming lineup by developing a series of original storylines that are resonating with today’s viewers.

And those viewers are paying attention. The network saw rousing success from its first original scripted show, Schitt’s Creek, a riches-to-rags family comedy saga in its fourth season that has reigned as PopTV’s most-watched original series. The show has seen double-digits viewer increases in all key demographics between each new season.

Now, PopTV is introducing a new original comedy program — Hot Date — a collection of 20-minute sketch comedy programs that focus on a couple named Em and Murph and their various alter egos. 

What makes the program unique is, yes, the hidden treat in the Pomodoro sauce. But it’s also the fact that the fictional dating couple Em and Murph are played by the real-life married duo of Emily Axford and Brian Murphy who are bringing to life the sometimes sweet, sometimes nauseating, sometimes sidesplittingly funny world of dating.

After seeing wild success from early Hot Date sketches that aired on CollegeHumor.com, PopTV is now rolling out a full complement of episodes. The series debuts on PopTV on Nov. 8.

In nearly every element of the show’s writing, editing, costume design and character development, PopTV has managed to combine a unique take on love and relationships. The program delves into relationship foibles that are both cringingly awkward and thoroughly relatable in today’s world of false Instagram friendships, disingenuous how-to beauty vlogger videos, questionable fashion trends and gotcha pregnancy tests.

Take the headshaking story about a date who has so fully embraced an over-the-top contoured makeup trend that she looks less like a Snapchat beauty and “more like a dirty sand skeleton,” said her confused date.

Story lines like that are appealing to millennial viewership, a group that is not only the largest generational group in the U.S. but also prolific consumers of cable television as well as online media. A recent survey found that 55 percent of millennials say that cable television is their preferred and primary method of consuming programming.

Likewise, PopTV’s original comedic content has shown appeal to both mid- and large-market cable operators through a lineup of edgy, critically acclaimed programs. The show is part of PopTV’s slate of 400 hours of original programming — such as Schitt’s Creek and the private eye comedy Swedish Dicks — that bookends popular 90’s nostalgia on PopTV like Beverly Hills 90201 and ER. Other Pop TV programs feature stars such as Keanu Reeves and Jane Seymour and are available on MVPD’s linear and VOD offerings.

The originality of Hot Date was enough to snare the attention of actor Will Arnett as its executive producer, who guest stars on the program along with actors such as Kevin Pollock, Patrick Warburton and Mena Suvari.

As it prepares to debut, Hot Date and the rest of the PopTV programming lineup is exactly what today’s viewers are looking for — a raw, uproarious, unexpected take on the mundane things that make life hilarious.

 “We can’t wait for our audience to watch Murph and Em’s hysterical take on the highs and lows of romance,” said Justin Rosenblatt, executive vice president of Original Programming and Development for PopTV.

As the centerpiece of the networks’ novel and creative original programming, millennial viewers of both sexes are paying attention.

“Through plot-centric vignettes and storylines, this funny real-life married couple chronicle relationship dilemmas many of us have faced,” Rosenblatt said. “Whether you’re married, divorced, single or celibate, no age range is off limits as this comedy covers the relatable stages of courtship from teen years and beyond.”



Couple 1: The love and relationship vignettes that PopTV explores through its new series Hot Date are one part awkward and two parts utterly relatable.

Couple 2:

Through original plot-centric vignettes and storylines, the funny real-life married couple at the center of Hot Date chronicle relationship dilemmas that may be more than a little familiar.



High-end original programming dominates PopTV’s current lineup. At the centerpiece is the new series Hot Date, a collection of 20-minute sketch comedy programs that focus on the couple Em and Murph and their various alter egos. 


The network’s Hot Date series is a prime example of the appeal of inventive and imaginative writing, editing and costume design. Just take this episode, which offers a cringing look at how not to reveal the results of a pregnancy test.


The benefit of inventive programming, like PopTV’s Hot Date series, is that it tackles issues relevant to what millennial viewers are facing today. The program tackles that head on in the episodes “Contour Makeup Has Gone Too Far” and “How to Tell if You’re a Basic Bitch."