Upfronts ’15: A+E slates scripted miniseries, unscripted competitions

A+E has unveiled two major scripted minis that will be simulcast across three of its nets, as well as new reality competition series for linear and digital. (Pictured: History's Alone)
April 30, 2015

A+E Networks’ programming announcements for its upfront presentation in New York on Thursday (April 30) boasted big events in the scripted space, with two scripted miniseries that will each be simulcast across three of its nets, but also showcased several unscripted projects for both linear and digital.

Flagship network A&E has announced the weight loss series Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit, which sees 10 personal trainers change their diets and eat what the average overweight American eats, and refrain from working out for four months. Then, each trainer will work with an overweight partner to drop the weight. Production company information is pending.

For History, in addition to the previously announced survival experiment Alone from Leftfield Pictures, the network is rolling out a digital game show, Shotgun, in which contestants try to answer questions while riding “shotgun” in a race car doing laps at top speed. The network says the series will be produced as “shareable digital shorts.”

Lifetime, meanwhile, is trotting out Sing It! (w/t), which follows two rival a capella groups from New Jersey as they are given the opportunity to study with “the world’s best coaches” and face each other in weekly competitions. Studio Lambert Associates and All3Media America produce in association with InsomniaTV.

FYI’s upcoming unscripted offerings will include the previously announced What the Fung?, Married at First Sight: The First Year, and Food Porn. Also on tap: Tiny House: The First 24, a digital companion series to the hit Tiny House Nation that will follow couples during the first 24 hours in their new, small living spaces.

Perhaps the biggest projects touted in the upfront come from the scripted department, with the news that A+E Studios is teaming with The Wolper Organization for a new version of the iconic miniseries Roots, to air across History, A&E and Lifetime; and the unveiling of a miniseries adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, produced in partnership with The Weinstein Company, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point and also set to air across those three nets. Both are slated for 2016.

Earlier this week, various reports emerged that A+E’s H2 network, a sister brand of sorts to History, will be rebranded in a joint venture with Vice Media, which will see the network feature Vice’s millennial-skewing lifestyle and documentary content. Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith was seen in attendance at the upfront presentation. At present, neither party has officially confirmed the news, as negotiations with cable and satellite providers for carriage of the new channel are reportedly continuing.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.