Remember back when the M in MTV stood for Music? Now the M stands for a Multitude of ways to scare the bejeezus out of people… as long as you’re under 30 because no one over 30 can stand to watch the network. In June, MTV premiered Scream, and their latest show One Bad Choice is really just about that… the consequences of one bad choice. In the premiere episode a teenager who killed someone while driving drunk declares “The only thing worse than losing your best friend is being charged with her death.” Let’s not forget about Catfish and the Teen Mom franchise… Scared yet?
Nickelodeon has committed to producing more than 600 episodes of new and returning series. Just a sampling of Nickelodeon’s returning shows include Henry Danger; Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn; Max & Shred; SpongeBob SquarePants; The Fairly OddParents; and Dora and Friends. New programs in production include Game Makers which focuses on a young girl who starts a gaming company and in a multi screen initiative, games on the show will also be available via an app. Make It Pop is a scripted show about a girl band formed in boarding school. Talia in the Kitchen is about a young girl who has a magical way in the kitchen as she discovers her true calling – cooking, and Roll Call which follows the trials and tribulations of surviving middle school.
Probably most notable, Oxygen and sibling network Esquire are trying something really outside the box with a companion docu-series following the lives of comedians. Oxygen will air Living With Funny while Esquire will air Comedians of L.A. Each network’s version will focus on different aspects of the comedian’s life that will speak to the respective network’s core audience. Other than this docu-series experiment, Oxygen is primarily staying within their comfort zone of traditional reality TV. The self-reported youngest skewing women’s network in prime, Oxygen is increasing original programming by 25 percent with eight new series targeting millennial women including Douglas Family Gold, The Hustle, Pretty. Strong., Player Gets Played, Boss Nails, and Crazy Talk. Douglas Family Gold is a reality show following the life of 2012 Summer Olympics gold medalist Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas. The Hustle is reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada as it follows the assistants of successful entrepreneurs and entertainers. Pretty. Strong. Follows the Legends Football League… a league consisting entirely of women! Player Gets Played is a “play” on cheaters, where women band together to find out if their partners are cheating on them and then plot a confrontation/revenge. Boss Nails is yes, a reality series that follows a young Miami nail salon entrepreneur. Crazy Talk is Oxygen’s version of Talk Soup but centers solely on reality TV, and will sometimes even invite reality TV stars on to the show, ala Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.
Spike has gone through a bit of a metamorphosis. If you haven’t heard about or seen at least a clip from Lip Sync Battle you are living under a rock (and missing a really entertaining show!). “We have successfully transformed Spike from a hyper-fueled network for young guys into a distinctive entertainment destination that’s inclusive and female-friendly,” said Kevin Kay, president of Spike. “We built that foundation with gender-balanced original hits like Bar Rescue and Ink Master. Now those hits are paving the way for the next step in our development with shows like Tut and Lip Sync Battle. The new Spike has got it all: big talent, engaging shows, and hits that get people talking. We are the ones to watch.” Which is actually their new tagline: “Spike: The Ones To Watch”. Spike is putting its money where its mouth is and has entered into development deals with Dwayne Johnson (various projects TBA) and Jillian Michaels (who will host and judge Sweat Inc., a new reality show that pits 12 fitness entrepreneurs against each other as they pitch their ideas for the next big thing in fitness… someone had to invent Zumba and Crossfit, right?). Spike has also entered the scripted series by partnering with Legendary Pictures to develop an original scripted series arena, Emergency Broadcast, that “features a group of government first responders who confront the planet’s most fantastic crises and disasters.”
TLC programming – and ratings – took a big hit last season when they dropped some of their marquee personalities in Honey Boo Boo and the Dugger clan. TLC built its programming around celebrating family, style and milestones and they continue in that vein with new shows like Hardly Royal, about a blue collar regular Joe who researches his heritage and finds he has royal lineage. Quinceañera follows two cousins, Alexis and Jarling, as they work their magic planning the most extravagant Miami quinceaneras… think My Super Sweet 16. I Got You Babies follows the first year of four sets of first time parents – I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Swipe Right “brings the traditional makeover show up to date by transforming not only the wardrobe and attitude of our contributors but their entire social media profile.” Marriage Pact tests whether it’s better to marry your best friend or your friend with benefits. Married by Mom and Dad is pretty self-explanatory… it’s another attempt to get this marriage thing right. We all know that 50% of marriages end in divorce, so these participants allow their parents to find their spouse. There is also an untitled weight loss/ugly duckling show in the pipeline where participants will commit to a weight loss makeover and will then come back to meet up with their crush.
Travel Channel has greenlit seven new series and one new pilot as it expands its 2015 programming slate. The new series include 50/50 with Samantha Brown and Chris Grundy, described as a spontaneous adventure with a twist; Five Star Secrets, hosted by hotel expert Anthony Melchiorri, a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s best hotels; and Rev Runs Around The World, following Rev Run and his family on a worldwide journey as they test their limits with no set itinerary. There’re also coming-of-age docu-series Boy To Man and Majestic America, which showcases America’s most beloved national parks; Curt Menafee-hosted Hello Goodbye focuses on travelers’ stories as they come and go from America’s busy airports. Follow Your Past is Travel Channel’s version of Who Do You Think You Are. The network has also greenlit two half-hour episodes of new pilot Relocated, which follows professionals and their families as they consider one of the hardest decisions of their lives.
USA has made some huge adjustments to their programming over the past couple of years. Gone is the abyss of hour-long shows like Royal Pains and Burn Notice. The network is “targeting people that have a millennial mindset” according to the network’s president, Chris McCumber. USA had over the past 2 years added shows like Chrisley Knows Best, Sirens, Playing House, Graceland and Dig. USA continues to forge towards new territory as they roll out a Christian Slater drama Mr. Robot this summer as well as medical thriller, Complications. The fall will introduce Colony with Lost alum Josh Holloway. USA is also working on a scripted series Donny! with ad man Donny Deutsch. USA is committing more airtime to the Chrisley franchise in the form of a late night talk show hosted by Chrisley himself and a family-focused spin off. Lastly, the network is expanding their WWE coverage. In addition to WWE Tough Enough and WWE Monday Night Raw, USA is bringing WWE Smackdown to their lineup in 2016.