News round-up: NBCU expands Hayu in Europe; Amazon signs up Donald Glover; YouTube unveils originals

The Real Housewives Of Orange County

NBCU expands Hayu in Europe

NBCUniversal’s reality TV SVOD service hayu has expanded to 11 new European markets.

The streamer first launched in the UK, Ireland and Australia in 2016, and has since rolled out in the Nordics, Canada, Southeast Asia, and more recently in Germany and Austria on Amazon Prime Video Channels.

This expansion will bring hayu to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, as well as now also being offered DTC in Germany and Austria.

Hayu offers over 8,000 episodes of reality TV shows, with top titles including Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Real Housewives and Below Deck.


Amazon snags Atlanta’s Donald Glover

Amazon has reportedly struck a multi-year content pact with Atlanta star Donald Glover.

The deal, revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, will see Glover have his own channel within the Prime Video service, although details remain scant.

It will also see the star exec produce on a range of projects destined for Amazon’s streamer.

Glover’s move will see him exit FX, where he had his most recent deal, and comes alongside news that his brother, Stephen Glover, will join him at Amazon. The latter wrote and produced Atlanta alongside Donald.

YouTube unveils originals, incl Alicia Keys show

YouTube has unveiled new original series at the Television Critics Association’s 2021 Winter Press Tour, including a show with musician Alicia Keys.

The untitled project is described as an “intimate docuseries” with the Grammy winner, with US-based Westbrook Media set to produce.

It will be joined on YouTube’s Originals slate by Supreme Courts, which stars rapper and basketball fan Quavo as he explores communities around the country through the lens of local streetball courts.

There will also be new instalments of Bear Witness, Take Action, and K-Pop Evolution, a docuseries premiering 31 March revealing the past, present and future of the global music phenomenon that has become a $10bn dollar industry.

Crackle hires Sony alum Jeff Meier

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE)’s steaming operation Crackle Plus has hired Sony exec Jeff Meier to lead programming across its services.

Meier has been named head of programming for Crackle Plus, which is made up of streamers Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Españolflix, FrightPix, and SVOD platform Pivotshare.

Meier comes from Sony Pictures where he was general manager and SVP of programming, heading up content efforts for getTV, Sony Movie Channel and cineSony. Before his involvement with Sony, Meier served in senior programming roles at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, TV One and Telemundo.

CSSE took control of Crackle from Sony in 2019, although the studio remains a minority investor.

NASA Mars Landing: Inside The Mission

Discovery+ welcomes Windfall’s Mars doc

Discovery+ and Science Channel are to offer a one-hour documentary exploring the secrets of NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover and its mission to explore whether there was ever life on the planet.

NASA Mars Landing: Inside The Mission is from Argonon-owned Windfall Films and charts the story of Perseverance’s construction, launch and historic landing on Mars.

The film features NASA scientists, expert interviews and immersive CGI animation to take an in depth look at the Rover’s engineering and the mysteries it will investigate once it touches down on the surface of Mars. It premieres 18 February at 22.00 ET on Science Channel and streams on Discovery+.

Insight TV races into beer branded content

Insight TV has linked with Spark Content and Kestrel Beer on a brand-funded shortform TV series and documentary film.

The Flying Kestrel will be broadcast from March across Insight TV’s linear and digital networks to over 315 million homes around the world. It will launch as a 4 x 11-minute series, and a 1 x 44-minute documentary.

The series follows the journey of Nigel McNally, CEO of Kestrel Beer, his son Joel and the Webster Race Engineering team, as they discover and transform a dilapidated 1930s Riley Kestrel into a land speed record challenger.


Netflix & Tim Burton team for Wednesday Addams show

Netflix and MGM/UA Television have partnered with director Tim Burton to develop a live-action series based on the character of Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family.

The eight-part Wednesday is described as a coming-of-age comedy from Al Gough and Miles Millar, which will mark Burton’s TV directorial debut, and explore the character’s years as a student as she attempts to master her emerging psychic ability and thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town.

The series is based on the characters creator by US cartoonist Charles Addams in the 1930s – and adapted for the screen multiple times.The Wednesday team also includes Andrew Mittman for 1.21 (The Addams Family, Alphas), Kevin Miserocchi (Tee and Charles Addams Foundation), Kayla Alpert (Code Black, Up All Night), Jonathan Glickman for Glickmania (RESPECT, Addams Family 2), and Gail Berman (The Addams Family, Alphas).

Teddy Biaselli, director of original series at Netflix, said: |When we first heard Al Gough and Miles Millar’s pitch for Wednesday we were struck, like an arrow from a crossbow, right in our hearts. They nailed the tone, the spirit and the characters, but gave us a fresh way into this story.”


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