Will Smith Project Headlines New YouTube Originals Programming Slate
YouTube today announced new and returning projects at the 10th-annual digital newfront and digital personalized event, Brandcast Delivered. Among the highlights: a six-part unscripted series following Will Smith embarking on his fitness journey, a new intimate performance docuseries with Alicia Keys premiering this summer, the third and final season of “Liza on Demand,” starring popular creator Liza Koshy, “Ice Cold,” a docuseries that explores issues around racial inequity through the lens of hip-hop jewelry, and “Recipe for Change” [working title], a new special celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander culture. For more details on Brandcast Delivered, see blog post here.
Below are the upcoming new and returning YouTube Originals featured in today’s presentation:
● “Best Shape of My Life” [working title] – Premieres next year
This new six-part fitness unscripted series from Westbrook Media and YouTube Originals is the story of Will Smith, looking up one day to find himself in middle age, rebuilding his body into the best shape of his life and getting his groove back along the way. This is the fun, funny, inspirational, wildly adventurous, and deeply entertaining story of Smith challenging himself to improve every aspect of his fitness, from agility to power to recovery and more, teaming up with guests including pro athletes, scientists and experts, and top YouTube creators. The series is being directed and showrun by Dexton Deboree, the visionary creative behindUnbanned and forthcoming Promiseland. This project marks Will Smith’s second project with YouTube Originals. In his first, “Will Smith: The Jump,” he accepted the ultimate challenge to bungee jump from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon on his 50th birthday for charity in 2018, resulting in nearly 18M views in the first 48 hours.
● “Noted” [working title]- Premieres This Summer
While ramping up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Songs in A Minor and heading into the studio to record her 8th and most personal record to date, GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter, producer, and author Alicia Keys invites her fans to peer into her world like never before. In partnership with Westbrook Media, Keys serves up “Noted,” a four-part, intimate performance docuseries comprised of breathtaking visual displays of introspection. Informed by life defining memories and meaningful conversations with loved ones, Alicia will bring you into a whole new experience combining the documentary and performance worlds in a way you’ve never quite before seen.
● “Liza on Demand” – Season three premieres later this year
The third season of fan-favorite scripted series, “Liza on Demand,” starring actress, producer and top creator Liza Koshy follows the chaotic misadventures of Liza (Koshy) and her roommates/best friends, Harlow (Kimiko Glenn) and Oliver (Travis Coles), as they wade through the highs and lows of their 20s. “Liza on Demand” is produced by Above Average with executive producers Liza Koshy, Courtney Carter, Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Marc Lieberman, Ally Engelberg, Caroline Miller and Elliot Glazer.
Below are the additional programming and premiere date announcements YouTube Originals is making today:
● “Ice Cold” – Premieres This Summer
“Ice Cold” is a docuseries from executive producers MIGOS, Kevin “Coach K.” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas that uses the prism of hip-hop jewelry to explore deeper issues around racial inequity and the American Dream. Exhibited as a collection of four short episodes, director Karam Gill (G Funk, Supervillain) explores hip-hop’s ability to reimagine and transcend established notions of wealth, status, superiority & the sheer resilience of hip-hop culture. The series premieres on MIGOS’ YouTube Channel this summer and is co-produced by Quality Films, Universal Music Group’s Mercury Studios and Polygram Entertainment, MGX Creative, and Mass Appeal.
● “Recipe for Change” [working title] – Premieres June 16
Whether it’s a holiday gathering or just a Thursday night dinner, the most interesting and provocative conversations happen around a shared table. In “Recipe for Change” [working title] Asian American storytellers bring together celebrities, chefs, activists, and creators to celebrate API culture and discuss the recent and historic acts of hate and violence against the API community. While hate and racism continue to spread, the Asian community and their allies prove that when oppressed groups band together, the minority becomes a powerful majority. Tiny ripples of action can create tidal waves of change. Let’s take a seat, enjoy a great meal and celebrate our humanity. LeBron James and Maverick Carter will serve as executive producers on the special with their media conglomerate the SpringHill Company.Michelle Kwan and Dennis Cheng will also executive produce alongside Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron of the SpringHill Company, showrunner Joel Relampagos, and director Rich Kim.
● “Barbershop Medicine” – Special Premieres This Summer – Watch a sneak peek HERE
In “Barbershop Medicine,” YouTube aims to put the “public” back in Public Health, exploring the impact race and socioeconomic status have on healthcare and longevity. Drawing from this concept of community medicine, this special will bring together musical artist Masego, renowned physicians Dr. Italo Brown and Dr. Jamie Rutland and community members in a storied barbershop to discuss today’s most pressing health concern, COVID-19. The discussion will center on COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities while also tackling the misinformation and mistrust surrounding the vaccination in hopes of increasing awareness and accessibility. The special is from the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and is executive produced by Charles D. King, Marta Fernandez, Jelani Johnson, and Aisha Corpas Wynn for MACRO Television Studios and Culture House. Hashim Williams is executive producer and showrunner.
Today’s announcements continue the global platform’s commitment to partnering with YouTube creators, musicians, and artists to tell authentic and dynamic stories centered on music, personalities, learning and families.
These announcements come on the heels of several recent YouTube Originals projects including a new global Kids and Families slate of programming featuring “Super Sema,” and upcoming launches of “Kid Correspondent,” “The Guava Juice Show,” “Millie and Lou,” “The Workout Badges,” and more; a new sustainability slate of original content including “Create Together” Season 2 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “BookTube” with Bill Gates, “Seat At The Table” with YouTube creator and climate advocate Jack Harries (3.7M Subscribers) and David Attenborough premiering August 25, “Stay Wild” [working title] premiering October 2021, where Brave Wilderness in partnership with Leonardo diCaprio’s Appian Way and Madica Productions transport viewers directly to the front lines of climate change, and “Shut It Off ASAP” [working title] with YouTube Creators AsapSCIENCE (9.6M Subscribers) premiering October 2021; plus a global livestream special in partnership with The Trevor Project to raise money for LGBTQ+ youth during Pride Month on June 25 featuring Trixie Mattel, Daniel Howell, Kim Chi, Monét X Change, Peppermint, Denali Foxx and more; and “VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World,” a global broadcast and streaming special in partnership with Global Citizen that aims to inspire vaccine confidence worldwide premiering May 8.
Additional upcoming YouTube Originals include a second season of the Emmy award winning series hosted by YouTube Creator Jake Roper, “Could You Survive The Movies” premiering this Summer; additional topical episodes of the Emmy-nominated series from Vox and Vox Media Studios, “Glad You Asked” premiering this summer; a second [untitled] interactive special with YouTube creator Markiplier (29M Subscribers) set for later this year; a second season of the hit competition series “Instant Influencer” with new host, Zach ‘ZHC’ Hsieh (20M Subscribers) premiering this Fall; and season two of the hit Brazilian series, “Whindersson: Próxima Parada” premiering this Summer.
Susanne Daniels is Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. Alex Piper serves as Head of Unscripted for YouTube Originals and Nadine Zylstra serves as Head of Family, Learning and Impact for YouTube Originals.