Upfronts 2014: TVGN Evolves With New Originals

In further efforts to re-establish itself as a defining voice in celebrity and entertainment culture, TVGN has revealed six new and original series to be added to its programming slate throughout the upcoming year.

During TVGN's upfront event at the Ace Hotel in New York Tuesday morning, President of entertainment and media Brad Schwartz explained how the network's newly-announced programming marks the continued evolution of the TVGN brand. 

“We have transformed the network this past year. CBS came on board as a 50% partner a year ago and we’ve brought on a whole new leadership team and thousands of hours of content that we didn’t have a year ago,” Schwartz said.

The 60-year-old TV Guide brand has been transformed into a network that taps into what Schwartz describes as "hyper-fandom culture," which has led to the increased relevance of social media in Nielsen ratings as well as the success of shows like Talking Dead

New series such as the Donnie Wahlberg-produced Rock This Boat, which follows a New Kids on the Block concert cruise, reflect the network's committment to siding with fans of celebrity culture. 

"We think this series has franchise potential," said Schwartz, who suggested a Real Housewives-style spinoff featuring other artist cruises might be a possibility in the future, although there are no concrete plans at this time. 

The network has also enlisted several high-profile personalities for various reality series. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame will star in The Sorrentinos, an unscripted series about the reality star's family. Unusually Thicke stars Alan Thicke, his wife Tanya and their 16-year-old son Carter, and Robin Thicke appears in four episodes of the 14-episode series. Schwartz explained that Unusually Thicke blends reality television with situation comedy to create something like a "real life Modern Family."

"It's different than anything you've seen on television because we're not shy about saying it's softly scripted," said Schwartz, "It is very much put into a sitcom format with a beginning, middle and end."

Returning series include daily shows Big Brother: After Dark and Popsugar Now, as well as six additional episodes of The Story Behind, a show which goes behind the scenes of classic television series. 

TVGN currently reaches 80 million homes nation-wide, an achievement bolstered by its partnerships with CBS and Lionsgate. The CBS deal also grants TVGN same-day airing of CBS soaps and hit series, as well as exclusive coverage through Entertainment Tonight of red carpet events such as the Grammy and Tony Awards. 

Despite the influence of its ownership, Schwartz maintained that TVGN is an independent network dedicated to furthering its own brand recognition with original content.