Quibi: All the Programming (So Far) Set for Jeffrey Katzenberg's Shortform Streaming Platform
Shortform video streaming platform Quibi won't launch until spring 2020, but the venture founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg has attracted plenty of attention — and more importantly, backing (financial and otherwise) from industry heavyweights.
The company — whose name is a portmanteau of "quick bites" — has raised $1 billion from major Hollywood studios and other investors and is looking to raise $500 million more before its launch, in part to help market the service.
All that cash is intended to help Quibi have as many as 7,000 pieces of content for users within a year of launching, ranging from scripted dramas and comedies to competition shows to newscasts. Katzenberg has said the goal is to release new shows every other week.
The service is aimed at mobile users, with shows filmed specifically for the format and broken into "chapters" of eight or 10 minutes each. Users will pay $4.99 monthly for an ad-supported version of the service or $7.99 for a version with no ads.
CEO Meg Whitman has said she and Katzenberg see Quibi as a complement to, rather than competitor of, other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon's Prime Video. Whitman cites research showing that mobile viewing of those services accounts for only about 10 percent of total time spent with them, so Quibi can serve a market for people looking for shorter, high-quality content during commutes, on lunch breaks or in other downtime.
Here's a look at the company, the people running it and the many projects it has in development.
Meg Whitman is the CEO of Quibi and was Katzenberg's first hire. The former HP and eBay CEO and Katzenberg have a long-standing relationship dating to when both were at Disney in the late 1980s and early '90s.
Jim Toth is heading content acquisition and talent for the company after a long tenure at CAA, where he represented such clients as Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.
Diane Nelson joined Quibi to lead content operations after a two-decade stint at Warner Bros., where she oversaw DC Entertainment and consumer products.
Janice Min, the former co-president and chief creative officer of The Hollywood Reporter, is shaping Quibi's news programming as a senior content development executive focused on a vertical known as Daily Essentials.
Doug Herzog, the longtime Viacom executive who had oversight of several of the conglomerate's entertainment networks, rounds out the content team as a senior content development executive.
Tom Conrad serves as chief product officer at the streamer after 10 years at Pandora and two years at Snapchat.
Rob Post is chief technology officer at Quibi, which he joined in 2018 after more than 10 years at Hulu.
Tim Connolly has been tasked with finding advertising partners (early deals have been struck with Google and Walmart) for Quibi's ad-supported offering as head of partnerships and ad sales, a role he assumed after leaving Hulu.
50 States of Fear | A horror anthology from executive producers Sam Raimi, Van Toffler and Gunpowder & Sky, along with Tony DiSanto, who developed the project. Each installment will tell a scary story based on myths and urban legends from each state.
Action Scene | Kevin Hart stars as a fictionalized version of himself who gets rejected for a role in a big action movie. A random encounter with an A-list star leads to a chain of events that has Hart fighting his way through a series of over-the-top action sequences with the help of several Hollywood action heroes. Hart's company Laugh Out Loud produces, with the comedian, Jeff Clanagan and Dave Becky serving as EPs.
After Dark | Steven Spielberg conceived the idea after visiting his friend Katzenberg at the Quibi offices. Little is known about the project, which Katzenberg describes as a "super scary, pretty creepy story" — that will only become available to users once night has fallen.
Charlemagne | Creator and executive producer Michael Hirst (Vikings, The Tudors) will take on another historical saga with this story of the wild life of Roman emperor. Charlemagne united Eastern and Western Europe under his rule while navigating a salacious, complicated personal life.
Crazy Talented | From writer Michael Karnow (Alphas) and director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), the show follows a group of superheroes hoping to prevent calamity after alien weapons fall into the wrong hands — or at least that's what they're told. The "superheroes" are patients in a psych ward where a charismatic leader has convinced them their issues are extraordinary talents. Liman's 30 Ninjas is producing the series.
Don't Look Deeper | A sci-fi drama set "15 minutes into the future" follows a high-school student in Merced, California, who can't shake the feeling that something isn't right — and that something is she's not human. Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer and Helena Howard are set to star. Creators Jeffrey Lieber (Lost, YouTube's Impulse) and Charlie McDonnell executive produce with director Catherine Hardwicke, Kathleen Grace and Laura Schwartz of New Form and Jed Weintrob and Julina Tatlock of 30 Ninjas.
Dummy | Anna Kendrick will star and executive produce this buddy comedy about an aspiring writer and her boyfriend's sex doll from Deadbeat co-creator Cody Heller and producer wiip. Tricia Brock is directing.
El Señor de Los Cielos prequel | Katzenberg said at SXSW that Quibi is working with Telemundo on a three-hour series that will tell the origin story at of the drug lord at the center of its top-rated telenovela.
Flipped | Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson star in a Funny or Die-produced comedy about a chronically underemployed couple who believe they're destined to be TV's next great home-design team. Their dreams of basic-cable glory are sidetracked, however, when they're kidnapped by members of a drug cartel (Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Arturo Castro) and forced to renovate the trio's sprawling homes. Steve Mallory and Damon Jones created the show and executive produce with director Ryan Case, Joe Farrell and Jim Ziegler.
Frat Boy Genius | Based on Elissa Karasik's 2018 Black List script, the series will take a Social Network-like look at the rise of Snapchat, focusing on founder Evan Spiegel (who does not come off in a very flattering light in the screenplay).
#FreeRayshawn | Training Day and Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua is executive producing the project, directed by Seith Mann, about a young, black Iraq War veteran who is set up by New Orleans police. He runs for his life and takes refuge inside his apartment with his girlfriend and child. Homecoming's Stephan James plays Rayshawn and Laurence Fishburne plays a sympathetic cop who serves as a negotiator during one brutally stressful day.
The Fugitive | The scripted drama — based on the 1993 film (that was inspired by the 1960s TV series) — revolves around Mike Russo, a blue-collar guy who just wants to make sure that his 10-year-old daughter, Pearl, and wife, Allison, are safe after a bomb rips through the L.A. subway train. But the faulty evidence on the ground and "tweet-now, confirm-later" journalism paint a nightmarish picture: it looks to all the world that Mike was responsible for the heinous act. Wrongfully — and very publicly — accused, Mike must prove his innocence by uncovering the real perpetrator, before the legendary cop heading the investigation can apprehend him. With the city in a state of panic and misinformation traveling at the speed of social media, Mike’s life and family hang in the balance as he becomes the fugitive. Nick Santora (Scorpion) will pen the script and exec produce alongside Basil Iwanyk, Tom Lassally and Albert Torres. The series hails from Warner Bros. TV and is produced by Thunder Road Films and 3 Arts and was developed with Riverstone Pictures.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | An updated take on the 2003 Paramount Pictures rom-com will center on a glib young online columnist and an oversexed ad executive who both need to prove, once and for all, that they're capable of being monogamous. They discover that keeping a relationship together is harder than Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson's character in the movie) made it look. Comedian and author Guy Branum is writing the show, which comes from Paramount TV.
The Last American Vampire | Picked up after it was developed at NBC, the drama is written by Terry Matalas (12 Monkeys) and revolves around a young female FBI agent who is partnered with a 500-year-old vampire in a bid to protect the world from a dangerous threat. The drama hails from 20th Century Fox TV and exec producers David Katzenberg, Seth Grahame-Smith and Aaron Schmidt.
Last Resort | Dwayne Johnson and Paul Feig are among the executive producers of this comedy about a Hawaii resort run by a Polynesian family that's thrown into a whirlwind when a billionaire makes an offer on their land. Johnson and Dany Garcia's Seven Bucks Productions and Feig and Laura Fischer's Powderkeg produce; all four are EPs. Sameer Gardezi of Powderkeg's Break the Room, which aims to get more underrepresented writers staffed, produces along with Hiram Garcia, Kevin Hill and Brian Gewirtz of Seven Bucks.
Mapleworth Murders | The comic murder mystery from Universal TV and Lorne Michaels was co-created by and stars Paula Pell (Saturday Night Live, Wine Country) as a mystery writer who solves homicides in her quaint Connecticut hometown, while also looking at why so many people are killed there. Co-creator John Lutz (30 Rock) also stars. Michaels, Andrew Singer, Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker are the EPs.
The Now | Co-written by Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Steve Leff and Pete Jones, the comedy centers on a guy thinking about committing suicide who finds out from his mother that his brother has just killed himself — and that their father also committed suicide years ago. He decides he can't pile more grief on his mom and tries to learn to live for today. The Anonymous Content project is executive produced by Steve Golin and Jeff Okin.
Royalties | Darren Criss co-created and will star in a musical comedy (for which he'll also pen original songs) about a pair of songwriters who are trying to make their way in the music business. The show, the first sale from Fox Entertainment's content arm SideCar, will also feature real-life music personalities playing fictitious (and ridiculous) pop stars. Criss executive produces with Nick and Matt Lang, Gail Berman, Hend Baghdady, Joe Earley and Ricky Rollins.
Skinny Dip | Based on Carl Hiaasen's novel, this series from Keshet Studios revolves around a woman whose husband throws her overboard during a cruise to celebrate their anniversary. When a retired cop rescues her, they team up to gaslight her husband. Russel Friend and Garret Lerner (House, Altered Carbon) adapted the book and executive produce with Keshet's Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Alon Shtruzman and Avi Nir.
The Stranger | A thriller from writer-director-EP Veena Sud (The Killing, Seven Seconds) that follows a ride-share driver who's thrown into her worst nightmare after picking up a passenger in the Hollywood Hills. The series unfolds over a 12-hour period as she navigates the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles and engages in a spine-chilling game of cat and mouse. Fox 21 TV Studios produces.
Tomie | Director Alexandre Aja (Crawl) and writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (Aquaman, The Conjuring 2) are developing this adaptation of a cult-favorite horror manga series by Juni Ito. The series will tell the story of what happens when a high school girl goes missing and pieces of her body are scattered all over town. What starts as a murder mystery turns into something even more horrific. Sony Pictures Television and UCP produce.
Transmissions | From Bodyguard and Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio, the sci-fi thriller centers on a lone scientist at a remote radio observatory who begins receiving disturbing signals from deep space. Mercurio's HTM Television, a joint venture with Hat Trick Productions, produces in the first big project for HTM. Mercurio and Hat Trick's Jimmy Mulville executive produce.
Varsity Blues | The modern take on the 1999 high school-set football movie starring James Van Der Beek is being written by Tripper Clancy (Stuber), with original producer Mike Tollin attached as an exec producer.
Winos | Thomas Lennon (Reno 911, The Odd Couple) created and will star in this comedy about a "misguided entrepreneur" who, after failing spectacularly in Silicon Valley, moves to California's wine country and tries to revive a run-down vineyard. Lennon and Peter Principato of Artists First executive produce the 20th Century Fox TV series.
Wolves and Villagers | The Blumhouse TV series has Naomi Watts (The Loudest Voice, HBO's Game of Thronesprequel) attached to star in what's described in a Fatal Attraction-esque story. Stuart Blumberg writes and executive produces with Jason Blum.
Untitled Guillermo del Toro series | Details are scant on the Oscar-winning director's project, but it's been described as a "modern zombie story."
Untitled Paul Feig projects | The Bridesmaids and A Simple Favor director/producer said at the Banff World Media Festival in June that he is "in stages of development" on a couple of projects for Quibi, but didn't elaborate on them.
Untitled Liam Hemsworth thriller | The series from Nick Santora (Scorpion, Prison Break) and CBS TV Studios centers on a terminally ill man (Hemsworth) who enters a Most Dangerous Game-like competition in hopes of providing for his pregnant wife before he dies. Santora, director Phil Abraham (Mad Men), Gordon Gray and Silver Reel Pictures executive produce.
Beauty | Star and executive producer Tyra Banks aims to "expand and redefine the definition of beauty as we know it" in a docuseries that will explore the societal standards of beauty and how they developed. Network Entertainment is producing the project.
Biggest Little Cook-Off | A cooking competition with a twist, where chefs compete to produce delicious single bites of food, like spaghetti and meatballs on a plate the size of a dime. The comedic take on chef battles comes from Levity Productions and execuive produces Judi Marmel, Johnny Milord and Aron Korney.
Centerpiece | Hosted by acclaimed floral artist Maurice Harris, the series will team him and a celebrity guest in each episode to go on a creative journey culminating in a "mind-blowing" floral centerpiece. Harris executive produces with co-creator Peter Kline along with Rashida Jones, Will McCormack and John Kaplan. The show comes from Alldayeverday, Jones and McCormack's Le Train Train and Harris' Bloom and Plume.
Chrissy's Court | TV personality and model Chrissy Teigen presides over a humorous courtroom show in which she adjudicates real small-claims cases, with her mother, Vilailuck "Pepper Thai" Teigen, serving as bailiff. Suit & Thai Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment produce the show; Teigen and Luke Dillon are EPs.
Dishmantled | Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) will host this cooking competition in which, no kidding, "each episode starts with the cannon-blasting of a mystery food dish into the faces of two blindfolded chefs." The contestants then have to identify and re-create the dish. Linda Lea of Good Egg (Chopped) and Drew Buckley of Electus (Running Wild With Bear Grylls) executive produce.
Elba vs. Block | Idris Elba and professional rally driver Ken Block face off in a series of driving stunts with names like "Wall of Death" and "Flaming Obstacle Course" to see who has the superior skills behind the wheel. Elba's Green Door Pictures is producing with Workerbee, part of Endemol Shine U.K.
Fight Like a Girl | From WWE Studios and Critical Content, the series will have WWE executive Stephanie McMahon pairing one of the pro wrestling promotion's female stars with a young woman struggling with a personal issue that's holding her back. The WWE stars will draw on their own experience to help each trainee overcome obstacles and become "tougher, stronger and healthier" versions of themselves.
Nightgowns | This eight-episode docuseries follows drag performer and RuPaul's Drag Race winner Sasha Velour as she adapts her monthly revue into a full stage production, and the biggest drag showcase of her life. Each episode will focus on a single performer in the show. The Documentary Group produces, with Velour as EP and Sophie Miller directing.
Punk'd and Singled Out | Revivals of two of MTV's signature shows from the early and mid-2000s are on tap from MTV Studios, with STXtelevision also producing Punk'd.
Shape of Pasta | James Beard Award-winning chef Evan Funke travels around Italy to meet with the world's last remaining masters of pasta, showcasing the culture and history behind unique shapes of pasta in hopes of saving them from drifting into obscurity. Ugly Brother Studios produces.
Thanks a Million | Jennifer Lopez stars in a show in which 10 people give an influential person from their early lives $100,000 each — with the understanding that person will then pay it forward by giving $50,000 to someone else, and so on. B17 Entertainment, led by Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher, created and will produce the series.
You Ain't Got These | The Chi creator and sneakerhead Lena Waithe takes a look at sneaker culture and its impact on fashion in a docuseries from Boardwalk Pictures (Chef's Table, Last Chance U). Waithe exec produces with Boardwalk's Andrew Fried, Jordan Wynn and Dane Lillegard, Jonathan Hausfater and Andrew Coles.
Untitled basketball documentary | NBA star Stephen Curry and his Unanimous Media are executive producing a series about the basketball team at St. Benedict's Preparatory High School in Newark, New Jersey. It is being developed and produced by Whistle.
Untitled music competition | Music mogul Scooter Braun will produce and serve as a judge for the show. Details are few, but Katzenberg has said it will be "unique and differentiated" from other singing competitions.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter