Monday, June 27, 2016

Step Up becomes an online TV Series

The “Step Up” dance drama film series, which catapulted the likes of Channing Tatum to superstardom and earned more than $650 million at the box office globally, now has a new lease on life as an online TV series. YouTube Red, the paid subscription streaming service of the Google-owned video-sharing giant, has just purchased the franchise rights from Lions Gate Entertainment and ordered a full 10-episode season for production, according to an article by The New York Times.

In YouTube’s annual Vidcon conference in Anaheim, California, YouTube Originals global head Suzanne Daniels described the upcoming “Step Up” series as a “bigger, bolder” offering that will “drive subscriptions” for YouTube Red. On the other end, Lions Gate television chairman Kevin Beggs sees the collaboration as something multiple networks wanted: a “distinctive, noisy, platform-defining series”.

The powerhouse production will tap into multiple producers of the past “Step Up” movies - Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton – to executively produce the series. They will be joined as executive producers by Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who both starred in the original “Step Up” film. Each episode in the initial season is slated to last 45 minutes, definitely much longer than the brief uploaded videos that were once the bread and butter of old YouTube. Production of the series is expected to begin later this year, and will debut as a YouTube Red exclusive on 2017.

The “Step Up” films began with the first in 2006 by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures label and Summit Entertainment. This partnership went on to produce the sequel in 2008 and “Step Up 3D” in 2010 before Summit, now a subsidiary of Lions Gate, took over for “Step Up Revolution” in 2012 and the final installment, “Step Up: All In” which was released in 2014.

Daniels has been a fan of the “Step Up” films and claims to have “chased” after the project after coming over to YouTube from a top position at programming in MTV. She sees YouTube Red as a natural home for the franchise, and an excellent first go by YouTube in Hollywood-level original programming.

Initial peeks into the “Step up” series production reveal a similar setting and tone to the Tatum- billed first film, such as the primary location being a performing arts school. It will also feature YouTube online stars as dancers and actors.

YouTube Red offers ad-free video viewing, exclusive shows and a library of licensed music. Daniels sees the upcoming series as YT Red’s answer to other major site’s big-budget online offerings such as “Transparent” on Amazon and “House of Cards” on Netflix.

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