Upfronts 2015: TV One Ramps Up Originals Slate

Looking to build greater appeal with viewers, TV One will increase its original programming outlay by 10% over the next year with a mix of scripted comedies, original movies and celebrity-driven reality content, network executives said during TV One’s upfront presentation Tuesday afternoon.

Overall the African-American targeted network is planning to deliver more than 460 hours of original programming over the next year, according to network president Brad Siegel. As part of the increase, the network plans to develop some 16 original movies as it looks to create a monthly Saturday night movie block targeting adult 25-54 year old viewers, added D’Angela Proctor, TV One senior vice president of original programming and production.

Among the new scripted content set to roll out in 2015-16 is Mitch N' Max, a scripted comedy that follows a down and out Wall Street broker who is forced to move in with his estranged hip hop artist friend; and Born Again Virgin, which follows the relationships of three female best friends. The network is also developing as pilots The Family Plot, a comedy about a former beauty queen who unexpectedly inherits a funeral home from her deceased husband; and Brooklyn Faith, about a small community that encounters moral conflict in its attempt to balance professional ambition with its personal lives. 

On the unscripted side, the network will launch later this year real crime shows For My Man, which features the shocking stories of women who have been arrested for crimes they committed in the name of love, and Unstoppable, which profiles heroic men and women who stopped at nothing to find justice for a murdered loved one. Other new shows include The Next 15 which follows a group of male and female former reality stars that crave another 15 minutes of fame; and The Weekly Show, a one hour-parody of a fledgling local news program.

Unscripted pilots include Debutantes, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at young ladies preparing for womanhood and their society debut; Biker Girlz, which follows a female biker club; It’s Good To Be Me, which profiles the lives of Black America’s most famous celebrities and well-known public figures and Strippers, a documentary series that chronicles women who live regular lives by day and make a living as strippers by night.   

On the specials front, TV One will team with PBS to present The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House, and with Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network for The Triumph Awards, according to Siegel

The new series and specials will join returning series Hollywood Divas,Fatal Attraction, Unsung,Unsung Hollywood, News One Now and Verses and Flow, said Proctor.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.