Snooki, JoJo Headline Content From Viacom Digital Studios
Six months after being launched, Viacom Digital Studios presented an expansive digital programming slate that includes many familiar faces and titles.
At its NewFront event Monday (April 30), Viacom Digital Studios said it plans to deliver hundreds of hours of content under the BET, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon brands.
The slate includes morning shows, sketch shows, news shows, cooking show and more featuring stars known by one name—Snooki and JoJo—and others known by two, like Majah Hype and Nikki Glaser.
“The launch of Viacom Digital Studios is an amazing opportunity to reimagine our iconic brands for a new generation of young, mobile-first audiences,” Kelly Day, president, Viacom Digital Studios. “We’re bringing the power and scale of Viacom’s global content engine and storytelling capabilities to entertain and engage our fans whenever and wherever they’re consuming content.”
At the event, VidCon, the online video creators convention recently acquired by Viacom, said it would be expanding to London in February next year.
Viacom Digital Studios' content will be distributed via the company’s web properties and through deals with Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Related: Twitter Announces 30-Plus Content Deals at NewFront
On Twitter, Viacom brands will be represented via show formats that will deliver trending news to fans. Those formats include:
● BET Breaks: The rundown-style show delivers the African American perspective on pop culture including breaking music, entertainment, sports news stories and trending topics being discussed on Twitter.
● Comedy Central’s Creator’s Room: An intimate view of Comedy Central’s Creators’ room as the team offers their real-time takes on what is trending in pop culture daily news through a comedic lens.
● MTV News: MTV News will bring daily reports of what’s trending with fans, tapping into issues that are important through MTV’s unique stance in youth culture.
● MTV News International: Curated by MTV News editors and presenters, these global news reports instantly tap into trending current events on Twitter, and include celebrity and fan reactions.
Others shows were announced for the Viacom network brands including:
● The Majah Hype Show (YouTube): A weekly sketch comedy show hosted by comedian and actor Majah Hype and featuring a rotating ensemble cast of fellow comedians. The show will provide viewers with Majah’s take on trending topics and current social commentary in the news along with original skits.
● De’arra and Ken Talent Deal: With over 4.5 million YouTube subscribers, De’arra and Ken of the popular digital series De’arra and Ken 4 Life are a picture-perfect example of #relationshipgoals. The social influencer couple has signed an overall talent deal with BET to perform in and create original shows for BET Digital and bring their magnetic brand of fun to a mobile screen near you.
● Freestyle Friday (YouTube, Facebook): A revival of the hugely popular Freestyle Friday segment from BET’s hit show 106 & Park. Once a month, leading up to The Hip Hop Awards, aspiring and accomplished emcees will be invited to an open mic session, streamed live on YouTube from their various locations across the globe. The monthly event will be hosted by a resident hip-hop aficionado and have surprise guest appearances from top emcees, DJs, producers and label execs.
● Rate the Bars (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter): A returning, original music series featuring emcees rating lyrics from other artists with unfiltered honesty. The show presents lyrics unattached from their authors making the ratings of each song truly based on the quality of the bar without bias.
● Beautycon (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Partnership with Beautycon to co-create over 50 beauty tutorials focused on an African American audience.
● You Up? With Nikki Glaser (Facebook Watch): A weekly show highlighting celebrity news, spun off from the comedian and television hosts live daily morning show on SiriusXM’s Comedy Central Radio. Nikki, along with her co-host and touring buddy, Tom Thakkar welcome comedy heavyweights like Ricky Gervais, Bill Hader, Amy Schumer, and Tracy Morgan to overshare about dating and sex, dissect pop culture and news, and poke fun at anyone who deserves it.
● Comedy Central’s The Creators Program: The inaugural Creators Program will be led by Nate Dern (Funny Or Die, Upright Citizens Brigade), who has been tapped as Head of Creative for The Creators Program. Dern will lead five creators who were hand selected from over 1,000 applicants after a rigorous audition process that kicked-off in February through a call for submissions via Comedy Central’s social platforms. They will be writing, producing and starring in a daily reactive series and a weekly-scripted series with both living across Comedy Central’s social platforms, most prominently Facebook and YouTube. The inaugural creators are Ryan Beck, Chris Cotton, Hanna Dickinson, Jordan Mendoza and Natasha Vaynblat.
○ Daily Topical Show (title TBA): In this original, daily, pop-culture themed show, the five creators discuss the day’s trending topics from their own various points of view, through a comedic lens.
○ Comedy Central Central: Set inside Comedy Central’s N.Y. headquarters, this weekly workplace scripted series follows the lives of the employees of the #1 brand in comedy at Comedy Central Central.
● Meet Your First Black Girlfriend (YouTube, Facebook): A new series exploring Akilah Hughes’ real life take on dating outside of her race. Her authentic presentation and hilarious sensibility on a culturally relevant experience and perspective will resonate with fans.
● Between-the-Scenes (Facebook, FB Watch, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter): This ongoing, Emmy Award-winning short form series features Trevor Noah interacting directly with the audience about topics political, pop-culture, and personal, and has over 150 million cross-platform streams since its launch last year.
● Hack into Broad City (Facebook, Facebook Watch, YouTube): The popular exclusive extension of Broad City eavesdrops on the candid, often outrageous video chat sessions between Abbi and Ilana and keeps viewers engaged between seasons. New episodes of the Emmy-nominated Hack Into Broad City will debut later this year.
● Girl Code (Snapchat): Bringing back Girl Code and updating it for the social generation in short-form series featuring both original cast members and up-and-coming comedians who will dispense advice and overshare about what it’s like to grow up and be an adult.
● Teen Code (YouTube): In the tradition of Girl Code, Teen Code will feature influencers and teens discussing real life issues.
● Promposal (Snapchat): Promposal follows teens as they pull out all the stops to land their dream dates
● Fab or Fad (YouTube): The series dives deep into the latest beauty, fitness and lifestyle trends that are blowing up newsfeeds. Two hosts determine what’s actually fabulous and what’s just a passing fad.
● MTV Decoded (Facebook, YouTube): MTV Decoded is a weekly series where the fearless Franchesca Ramsey tackles race, pop culture, and other uncomfortable things, in funny and thought-provoking ways.
● Cribs: Building Cribs as a digital-first vertical across platform, with a focus on Food and DIY.
○ Cribs (Snapchat): All the bling comes to Snapchat in this short-form reimagining of the classic MTV show where viewers get sneak peeks of celebrities’ houses. The first season (3 episodes) last summer was highest premiere of a Snapchat show ever and will return for a second season with new episodes this summer/fall.
○ Cooking in the Crib with Snooki (YouTube): Expanding the Cribs franchise with everyone’s favorite Jersey girl as she brings a whole new flavor to the kitchen.
● Yo! MTV Whips (YouTube): Yo! MTV Whips: Ride shotgun with Nick Cannon as he gets a taste of hip hop’s most insane automobiles.
● Wild Styles (YouTube): Wild ‘N Out introduced the world to freestyle comedy and the art of the wild style. The audience craves more rhymes, more fire and more burns, so MTV is delivering new exclusive battles right to their screens.
● Remaking the Video (YouTube): Influencers and talent recreate classic music videos.
● Road to VidCon (YouTube): A multi-part video series premiering in the lead up to this year’s VidCon that documents the journey of a young creator heading to one of the biggest events in his or her life.
● The JoJo & BowBow Show Show (YouTube): A girl’s best friend is so much more in this series of animated shorts starring JoJo and her beloved dog BowBow. In each 3-5 minute animated short, JoJo tells a brand-new story that comically reveals how BowBow is way more than just a furry bestie. The character art leverages the existing art style from JoJo’s popular iMessage stickers. Six episodes are being made at Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab in the network’s Burbank headquarters.
● SlimeZone VR Showdown (YouTube): A new digital series where you can watch the players go into Nickelodeon’s SlimeZone VR game to compete – and get virtually slimed!
● Nick Trip (YouTube): Fans will follow Jace Norman, star of Henry Danger, as he travels throughout Europe with his brother Xander. It’s Jace’s first time in England, Germany and France, so fans will watch as he gets to see the biggest attractions, gets slimed for the first-time ever, meet fans from around the world and hang out with his Nick friends, Kira and Jack, stars of The Thundermans.
● Creator Edge Partnership: Creator Edge is a hub for internet creators founded by Jace Norman and Xander Norman. We’re teaming up with the brothers and their group of influencer friends to create original content and a number of exciting new digital shows for Nickelodeon.
● Super League Gaming Minecraft City Champs (YouTube): New esports series following Minecraft players as they team up to represent their city in a national tournament. From meeting the competitors to crowning the champion, we’ll follow the multi-week competition.
Viacom Digital Studios say it is already off to a strong start, reaching 4.3 billion social video views and 4.7 billion minutes viewed domestically in the second quarter – increases of 70 and 78% year-on-year, respectively.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.