truTV Bets Big on Comedic Reality with Three New Series, Plus Pilots, Development Deals and Renewals
Network to Shift Half Its Lineup to Comedic Reality to Target Growing "Funseeker" Audience
Hot off of scoring its youngest year and youngest first quarter ever in primetime median age, truTV is heading into Upfront season with an arsenal of comedic reality series designed to build on the network's remarkable success. The network is continuing to successfully serve an audience segment called funseekers with a production and development slate that includes three new original series and seven original series pilots and development deals, along with several returning hits. In addition, truTV will extend its success in the multi-platform world with an aggressive strategy that includes the launch of a brand new truTV.com, the cable industry's first network website built with cutting-edge responsive design architecture.
"We're using truTV's growing slate of comedic reality series to target an underserved audience we call funseekers," said Marc Juris, executive vice president and chief operating officer of truTV. "We've already caught the attention of funseekers with hit shows like Impractical Jokers and Killer Karaoke. Now we're ready to target them on a bigger scale, not only by creating more comedic reality series but also by giving them innovative opportunities to connect with their truTV favorites in the digital realm."
truTV is putting significant resources behind its funseekers strategy. By the end of 2013, the network plans to devote 50% of its entire schedule to funseekers-targeted programming.
For this year's Upfront, truTV executives are repeating their successful strategy from last year by conducting in-person meetings with small groups of key advertising clients rather than staging a single, large-scale presentation.
"truTV is hitting the road once again to build on the conversations we had with clients in 2012, hear their goals and challenges, and share with them our future plans around funseeker programming," said Joe Hogan, executive vice president, Young Adults Ad Sales (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and truTV), Turner Broadcasting. "truTV is in a great place and should be part of any advertiser's young-adult, multi-screen consideration set heading into this Upfront."
Who are the Funseekers?
truTV conducted extensive psychographic research and discovered that funseekers are people who look for comedic reality shows that are exciting to watch and prefer humor that is suspenseful, edgy and irreverent. They also look for mood-elevating shows that provide an escape and feature compelling twists and turns. The group has a median age of 35 and is a dual-gendered audience split almost evenly between men and women.
truTV has greenlit three new series, including Panic Button, in which contestants must brave a haunted house without pushing a button that will allow them to escape; Big Sam's Kentucky Auction (working title), a look at the unpredictable world of a Southern auction house; and Cash Dome Pawn, a new entry in truTV's growing franchise of pawnshop series.
truTV is also moving forward on several pilots, including Turbulence, a high-flying, globe-trotting game show set on an airplane; Payback with Trevor Moore (working title), in which participants have the chance to get a little light-hearted revenge on a friend/relative/significant other who has it coming; and Laugh Truck (working title), in which three friends compete in hilarious challenges while riding the back of a truck. And the network is in development on The Big Poll with John Henson (working title), a unique project being billed as a "crowd-sourced comedy," and Mind Games (working title), a unique competition project with hypnotist Will Miner in which the participants don't even know they're playing a game.
truTV will also continue to court other audience segments with shows that appeal to urban blue collar and heartland viewers. To serve those groups, the network has ordered pilots Cold Hard Catch, about an ice fishing establishment that has only ten weeks each year to turn a profit, and Barnstormers (working title), a look at the fascinating world of barn auctions.
In addition, truTV is extending several current series with new episode orders, including Guinness World Records(R) Gone Wild! and Upload with Shaquille O'Neal. Those two orders join previously announced extensions of Impractical Jokers and Hardcore Pawn: Chicago.
A complete rundown of truTV's new series greenlights, pilots and renewals unveiled for Upfront is included at the end of this release.
Connecting with Funseekers
truTV's research shows that funseekers are an extremely tech-savvy group and are typically the first among their friends to get new technologies. So in addition to targeting funseekers through original programming, truTV is already primed to connect with them through the digital realm.
"With more than 300 hours of original programming, the truTV brand works on every screen and every platform," Juris said. "Over half of our viewers engage with us on Facebook. Among our competitive set, we're #1 in social reach on Twitter. Our truTV 2GO app has been downloaded 1.4 million times. And our truTV channel on YouTube has exceeded 100 million views."
truTV plans to build on its multi-platform success in order to attract the digitally connected funseeker crowd. The network will start with a complete overhaul of truTV.com leveraging Responsive Web Design, a cutting-edge architecture that dynamically adapts to screens on any device, large or small. Responsive Web Design provides an optimal viewing experience across all browsers on mobile, tablet and desktop.
Multi-platform elements are also being incorporated directly into truTV's programming slate. The network has enjoyed tremendous success with its truTV Impractical Jokers app, the industry's first app to feature a direct telephone hotline to the stars of a show. And truTV's TV Everywhere website, truTV2GO.com, broke new ground with the addition of Social Playback, which allows the site to capture social media comments about a series episode, synchronize the comments with the episode's time code, then display the archived "live" conversation during online viewing of full episodes.
With The Big Poll with John Henson (working title), truTV will take multi-platform engagement to a new level by allowing viewers to directly affect the outcome of each episode. All of the show's content is viewer-driven and based on the results of hot-trending, pop-culture polls, quizzes, questionnaires and challenges.
truTV enters the Upfront season after scoring its youngest ever annual median age in 2012, followed in Q1 2013 by its youngest ever first-quarter median age. truTV set several milestones throughout 2012, including its most-watched telecast ever among total viewers, its most-watched month ever among key demos, its youngest monthly and quarterly primetime median ages and its most-watched weekend ever with key demos. The network has already begun setting records in 2013, with the March 26 season premiere of Hardcore Pawn garnering the network's biggest delivery ever of adults 18-49.
New truTV Original Series
Would you completely panic if you had to make it thru a haunted house that not only knows your deepest fears, but also talks to you? That's what the contestants will face on Panic Button, the new truTV challenge show that will find out who's bold enough to move forward or scared enough to hit the Panic Button. truTV has ordered 12 half-hour episodes of this series, which is being produced by Eleven Television.
Cash Dome Pawn
truTV heads to one of the wildest and most outrageous pawn shops in the country, the Cash Dome, run by Josh "White Boy" Gallander. From dealing with disruptive clientele to negotiating with housewives and businessmen, White Boy, his brother Josh and their overwhelmed dad certainly have their hands full in this latest entry in truTV's pawnshop franchise. truTV has ordered six half-hour episodes of Cash Dome Pawn from 51 Minds Entertainment LLC, an Endemol Company.
Big Sam's Kentucky Auction (working title)
This half-hour series follows the happenings at Sammie's Auction, a colorful auction house in Corbin, Ky. This family-owned business buys rare and sometimes outrageous items during the week and then sells them off on weekend nights. Sammie, his family and his madcap employees will buy or sell just about anything: wedding dresses, condoms, live animals, condominiums, antique coins, warrior helmets, antique cars, motorcycles, bull castrators...you name it. truTV has ordered six half-hour episodes of this series from ITV Studios Limited.
truTV Pilots & Development
Turbulence - Pilot
truTV takes off for one truly outrageous game show in the sky. As contestants fly from one location to another, they must complete a variety of challenges. Every successful challenge banks money for a big weekend blowout in Las Vegas. And every failure makes the flight a little bit bumpier. Turbulence comes to truTV from Howie Mandel's Alevy Productions and FremantleMedia North America.
Payback with Trevor Moore (working title) - Pilot
In his new hidden camera prank show, comic host Trevor Moore (Whitest Kids You Know) brings his unique and hilarious POV to the genre: he gives folks the chance to get a little light-hearted revenge on a friend/relative/significant other who has it coming. The pilot is being produced by Funny or Die.
Laugh Truck (working title) - Pilot
Laugh Truck is a comedic game show in which three friends compete against each other as they ride in the back of a moving truck. To win, they must perform hilarious challenges whenever the truck comes to a stop. They know exactly what jaw-dropping dare they have to attempt, but they have no idea where the truck will stop. Laugh Truck is being produced by NorthSouth Productions, producers of truTV's Impractical Jokers.
Cold Hard Catch - Pilot
Operating off of 20-mile-wide Lake Mille Lacs, ice-fishing resort owner Daron Stenvold has just ten weekends a year to make enough money to keep his business afloat. He and his team of "ice guys" juggle the challenges of running almost an entire business on frozen water. Giant cracks in the ice, unprecedented storms, 30-mile-per-hour winds, sub-zero temperatures, demanding ice fishermen and troublesome staff members are making this the most dangerous and challenging season yet. Cold Hard Catch is produced by Jupiter Entertainment and Brian Graden Media.
Barnstormers (working title) - Pilot
There's big money to be found in barns across the South. This show follows teams of experts who bid on and buy old barns hoping to make a fortune off of the contents and the actual wood. The only problem is they can't go inside before they make an offer. This project comes to truTV from Magilla Entertainment and Watson Pond Productions.
The Big Poll with John Henson (working title) - Development
This breakthrough half-hour comedy project, hosted by John Henson (Wipeout), is billed as a "crowd-sourced comedy." The show will take multi-platform engagement to a new level by allowing viewers to directly affect the outcome of each episode. All of the show's content will be viewer-driven and based on the results of hot-trending, pop-culture polls, quizzes, questionnaires and challenges.
Mind Games (working title) - Development
Everybody wins when hypnotist and host Will Miner takes total control of unsuspecting people and gets them to compete on a game show in which they don't even know they are players.
truTV Series Renewals
Guinness World Records(R) Gone Wild!
truTV has ordered another 10 episodes of this exciting series hosted by Dan Cortese and featuring fearless record hopefuls as they attempt to secure their place in history by breaking some truly outrageous world records. Cortese is joined by adjudicator Stuart Claxton and commentators Liz Smith and Zach Selwyn. The series comes to truTV from High Noon Entertainment.
Upload with Shaquille O'Neal
truTV has ordered an additional six episodes of this hilarious series in which Shaquille O'Neal and his comic friends comment on the funniest online videos viral videos, pull pranks and create parodies of current pop culture stories. Upload with Shaquille O'Neal comes to truTV from FishBowl Worldwide Media.
Impractical Jokers (previously announced)
truTV has ordered another 13 episodes for the second season of this hit series featuring four friends - Joe, Sal, Murr and Q - who dare one another to complete over-the-top challenges in public. In conjunction with February's second season premiere, truTV launched the brand new truTV Impractical Jokers app for the iOS and Android platforms. The app's many features include extensive video clips, social media connections, a special doodle pad and, in a digital first, the chance to talk directly with the guys themselves through an exclusive hotline. Impractical Jokers is produced for truTV by NorthSouth Productions.
Hardcore Pawn: Chicago (previously announced)
truTV picked up eight additional episodes for this show that takes viewers behind the scenes at Royal Pawn Shop, "the baddest pawn shop in Chicago." One of the city's largest and oldest establishments in the pawn and gold-buying business, Royal Pawn Shop is owned by Randy and Wayne Cohen, two brothers who don't always see eye to eye...except when it comes to finding the best deals for the business. Hardcore Pawn: Chicago is produced by Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment.
Current and Returning Series
Lizard Lick Towing - Season 3: Mondays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Hardcore Pawn - Season 7: Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
Operation Repo - Season 11: Wednesdays at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
South Beach Tow - Season 2: New episodes begin Wednesday, May 15, at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT)
Storage Hunters - Season 3: New episodes begin Sunday, June 9, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
truTV Presents: World's Dumbest... - Season 15: New episodes begin Thursday, June 20, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
truTV, one of cable's fastest growing brands, offers a wildly entertaining look at the real world through outrageous characters, unpredictable situations and irreverent storytelling. Currently seen in 92 million U.S. households, truTV features such popular original series as Hardcore Pawn, Hardcore Pawn: Chicago, Impractical Jokers, Killer Karaoke, Lizard Lick Towing, Upload with Shaquille O'Neal, Storage Hunters, Operation Repo, Full Throttle Saloon, South Beach Tow and truTV Presents: World's Dumbest..., as well as the acquired hit Wipeout. In addition, truTV is a partner in airing the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.