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YouTube Announces Programming Initiatives for 2020-21

“YouTube unveiled its slate of new and returning projects at the ninth-annual digital newfront, this year themed “Brandcast Delivered. Programming announcements include a new four-part docuseries following Demi Lovato as she continues her personal and musical journey; and renewals of YouTube originals “Instant Influencer with James Charles,” “The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast,” “A Heist With Markiplier,” and “Retro Tech.”

What follows is a listing of the upcoming new and returning YouTube Originals announced today:

Untitled Demi Lovato Project
YouTube is partnering with Demi Lovato on a four-part docuseries, a follow up to the 2017 YouTube Originals documentary, “Simply Complicated.” The series will follow Lovato returning to show fans her personal and musical journey over the past three years. More details to be revealed soon. The series is directed by Michael D. Ratner and produced by OBB Pictures.

“Instant Influencer with James Charles”
YouTube has ordered a second season of “Instant Influencer with James Charles.” In season one of YouTube’s first-ever beauty influencer competition series, contestants put their best makeup artistry, camera presence, and selling power on display for host, James Charles, and a mix of celebrity guest judges and well-seasoned beauty industry veterans including Norvina, Paris Hilton, and Trixie Mattel. The series is produced by Brian Graden Media.

“The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast”
YouTube has greenlit a second installment of “The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast.” This first-of-its-kind virtual livestream featured 32 of YouTube’s top creators including iJustine, Marques Brownlee and Jack Black. Hosted by MrBeast (37M Subscribers), the initial Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament raised over $1 million for COVID-19-related charitable organizations. The first installment of “The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast” was produced by Night Media and Fly on the Wall Productions.

Untitled Project With Markiplier
YouTube Originals has ordered another interactive special with YouTube Creator Markiplier. The new project follows the successful interactive special “A Heist With Markiplier” that allowed viewers to control their favorite YouTube Gamer’s life-or-death decisions in a classic museum heist and currently has over 18 million views. The interactive film is produced by Markiplier and Rooster Teeth Studios. Executive Producers Include Mark Fischbach, Matt Hullum, Will Hyde, and Ryan P. Hall

“Retro Tech”
YouTube Originals has ordered a second season of “Retro Tech” starring YouTube Creator Marques Brownlee. Each episode of the first season featured Marques examining a different nostalgic product – many of which he had never used – exploring the history, impact on society, and how each product defined pop culture and changed the world as we know it. In season two, Marques will explore the technological promises of the past. Futurists predicted that the tech of today would surround us with flying cars, robot maids, and teleportation. While some of these predictions are still sci-fi, others like mobile video calls, virtual reality, and even A.I. and quantum computers are quickly becoming a part of daily life. Marques will unravel these retro tech promises to see just how close we’ve come in 2020 and the direction revolutionary tech is headed next. “Retro Tech” is executive produced by Nick Budabin, Marty Moe and Chad Mumm for Vox Media Studios. Rachael Knudsen, Mark W. Olsen and Dana J. Olkkonen are co-executive producers for Vox Media Studios.

“UHC: Ultimate Home Championship” (Premieres June 26 on Stephen Curry’s YouTube channel)
Hosted by Stephen Curry, “Ultimate Home Championship” is a new virtual competition special that will feature notable YouTube creators, athletes and public figures including Von Miller, Lindsey Vonn, Ronda Rousey, DeAndre Jordan, Ryan García, The F2, Kristopher London, Katie Nolan, Ninja and Ego Nwodim. The competition, which is built around four, high-octane rounds of at-home events from a laundry hamper basketball to a DIY high jump, will raise funds for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund with viewers encouraged to donate directly on the “Ultimate Home Championship” watch page. View the trailer here. The special is executive produced by Stephen Curry, along with Unanimous Media and Portal A.

“Lockdown” (Premieres June 26 on YouTube Originals for Kids & Family Channel)
This new 10-episode scripted Kids & Families series follows six friends as they work together to solve a mystery in their neighborhood during the social distancing era. Shot entirely via webcam and smartphone from the actors’ homes and neighborhoods, “Lockdown” is among the first scripted live-action kids series to be fully developed and produced remotely, and received the Special Achievement Award for excellence in COVID-19 programming for Prix Jeunesse International, the global festival that every two years recognizes the best in children and youth television. The series is a suspenseful look at how young people stay in touch while having to stay away, and the story unfolds almost in real-time as the friend group works together – from a distance – to solve the mystery, while also exploring their own anxieties and frustrations about life during a pandemic. View the trailer here and press images here. “Lockdown” is created and produced by Toronto-based Sinking Ship Entertainment (Dino Dana, Endlings, Odd Squad).

These announcements come on the heels of several recent YouTube Originals projects including “Bear Witness, Take Action” a conversation aimed to unite and inspire the platform’s global community to take action for racial justice hosted by Common and Keke Palmer featuring 50 YouTube creators, public figures and activists; as well as “Dear Class of 2020,” a tribute to this year’s graduating class and centered around the timely themes of hope, resilience, and camaraderie, featuring an inspirational send off from President and Mrs. Obama, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Lady Gaga, BTS, Liza Koshy and many more.

Upcoming YouTube Originals include season three of “Liza on Demand” starring Liza Koshy, “This is Paris,” a documentary uncovering the hidden past of international icon Paris Hilton, and a special live event with death-defying magician David Blaine.

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