YouTube Originals unveils lockdown-focused slate

YouTube Originals has revealed a slate of projects headed to the platform intended to “support, entertain and educate” viewers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrities and educators will “energize distance ...
April 23, 2020

YouTube Originals has revealed a slate of projects headed to the platform intended to “support, entertain and educate” viewers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrities and educators will “energize distance learning” in the B17 Entertainment-produced Celebrity Substitute, premiering May 7.

In each episode, a celebrity will teach a high school lesson with real teachers. Examples include model Karlie Kloss working through a coding problem, or actor Ken Jeong giving a biology lesson.

Weekly episodic series Stay Home With: YUNGBLUD follows the UK recording artist and his band as they adjust to a remote lifestyle while creating music.

Stay Home With: YUNGBLUD, premiering April 27, will encourage viewers to donate to support No Kid Hungry. The series is produced by Stick Figure Entertainment.

Elsewhere, the short-form mini-series Create Together #WithMe (w/t), hosted by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will document the creative process as people find each other online and remotely collaborate on a variety of “family friendly” projects — including short films, short documentaries and music videos.

The series is produced by Brian Graden Media and Levitt’s creative collaboration platform HITRECORD.

The Secret Life of Lele Pons, premiering May 19, sees the Internet personality battle Tourette Syndrome and OCD while juggling life in the spotlight. The five-part series is a Shots Studios Production.

New content will also comes from notable YouTube personalities leveraging the platform’s live stream capabilities.

Global live event The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast will kick off this wave of content April 25 at 6 p.m. ET/PT. Host Jimmy Donaldson (“MrBeast”) will challenge YouTube personalities to participate in a battle of stay at home games.

Proceeds from the event, produced by Night Media and Fly On the Wall, will go to a COVID-19-related charitable organization.

The Refinery29-produced learning playlist Money Talks: Taxes is already streaming and features a roundtable of female financial experts who answer questions around personal finances.

Acclaimed choreographer Matt Steffanina will host the global dance special #MoveWithMe, premiering April 29 in celebration of International Dance Day.

#MoveWithMe, produced by Den of Thieves, will encourage viewers to donate to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

Elsewhere, Stream #WithMe will see UK YouTube personalities share tips on how to cope and stay entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The special, produced in partnership with EndemolShine UK-owned Electric Robin, will encourage viewers to donate to support NHS Charities Together

The Boardwalk Pictures-produced monthly book club BookTube will air a special Read with Me episode May 21, featuring celebrities, YouTube personalities and authors sharing their book recommendations.

Additionally, a June 2020 episode of BookTube will focus on anxiety, mental health and advice for self care during the pandemic.

Finally, the DW Entertainment and Media-produced Untitled Juanpa and Luisito Project, premiering this May, will see Latin American YouTube creators Juanpa Zurita and Luisito Communica document the COVID-19 quarantine.

Filmed entirely under quarantine with no physical interaction, the limited series features personal stories from around the globe, including YouTube creators, health specialists and “everyday people” as they share challenges, hopes, solutions and “stories of inspiration.”

“YouTube’s greatest strength is its ability as a global platform to build community and connection among people from all walks of life,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube, in a statement. “We’re working to develop exciting new original content that is relevant, useful, and entertaining in order to deepen those connections and give people an outlet to come together.”

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