NBCUniversal-owned pop culture channel E! Entertainment is gearing up to launch the comedic entertainment series 10 Things You Don’t Know tonight (Aug. 10) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Narrated by comedian Dulce Sloan (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah), each self-contained 30-minute episode will countdown the 10 most surprising unknown facts about a celebrity.
Famous faces featured throughout the series will include Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, Tiffany Haddish, Will Smith, Lady Gaga and Keanu Reeves, among others.
Jupiter Entertainment produces the entertainment series with Patrick Reardon (pictured), Harrison Land and PJ Morrison serving as executive producers.
Ahead of the premiere, Realscreen caught up with Reardon, EP on the series and president of Jupiter Entertainment, to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the production of 10 Things You Don’t Know and what sets it apart from others in the celebrity entertainment space.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
How did 10 Things You Don’t Know come to be?
The series came from an internal notion that we quickly brought to E!, knowing they were searching for a high volume/lower cost series. We worked with the network development team, who were amazing partners, to refine the concept to best fit their brand. It was a great fit as we were also looking for something light and fun to counteract a lot of the more serious and dark programming that we’ve become known for. And, while the content was very different from our true crime slate, we designed the show to play into our strengths as a company, specifically our in-house production infrastructure and our amazing research and archive teams.
10 Things You Don’t Know serves as an archive- and clip-based series, so can you provide some insight into how you were able to acquire “the 10 most unique, unbelievable and surprising facts” about specific celebrities?
Jupiter has an incredible in-house research team, which we utilized during the development phase of the series. They worked closely with our archive team to ensure we had materials to support each fact. There is a lot of information out there about celebrities, so we really had to dig deep to find facts that were not already well-known. For each script, we needed facts that could surprise even the most hardcore fans. Once we added the graphics and supported each with great comedic writing, it all came together into a really fun, snackable series.
What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered in making the project?
We sold and began production on the series just as the pandemic was taking hold in the U.S. Launching a new series is always a challenge, but the remote workflow and an already aggressive schedule added a few additional layers that we had to quickly figure out.
How did the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impact the development or production process for 10 Things You Don’t Know?
We launched the series after moving our entire operation to an “at home” strategy, which meant all of our editors, producers, archivists were working separately. We had to totally rethink our workflow from a communications and technology standpoint. Luckily our operations teams were always one step ahead of us, and aside from some small hiccups along the way, it was a very smooth process and really was a great beta test for future remote production.
What separates 10 Things You Don’t Know from the variety of entertainment programming currently available?
Right now, given all the bad news we watch daily, we wanted to come to market with something light and fun. It’s escapist TV and I think we are all looking for that right now. We weren’t looking to re-invent the wheel for this series. We stuck with what works and just tried to find ways to keep it feeling modern and fresh.
Jupiter has long been known for its successes in the true crime and mystery genres, so can you talk a little about the company’s decision to branch into new fields?
Jupiter is a leader in true crime, and we will always continue to produce in that space, however, my personal experience has been very broad across a number of genres. Since last year, we’ve made a concerted effort to broaden our development, setting up projects across various genres – romance/relationship, sports, premium documentaries, formats, and we’ve partnered with All Def Media for music and comedy. It’s critical for companies to be well-rounded given the state of the market, and I believe in the next year, Jupiter will be producing 50% to 100% more in the non-crime space.
Can you tell me about how this project fits with Jupiter’s brand and why it’s such an important title in your production stable?
Content wise, it’s an outlier, but we’ve been strategic in how we’ve approached expanding outside of crime. Our success in crime has come from cultivating a great in-house team. The research and archive teams at Jupiter are second to none, and the skills they utilize on the crime side translated seamlessly into this world of pop culture. Also, decades of producing hundreds of hours of crime per year have resulted in an incredible infrastructure here. We’re able to bring quality projects to life at a true value for the networks. Even though the content is very different for a show like 10 things, the production model is very similar. We know how to produce shows like this and we know how to bring them in on schedule and on budget. 10 things was a successful test for us and we plan to use this model for a lot more similar production in the near future.
How have Jupiter’s past series like Homicide Hunter, Snapped and Game Changers with Robin Roberts informed your work on a program like 10 Things You Don’t Know?
We are successful because regardless of content or budget, we always put storytelling first. There is a glut of true crime programming out there, especially in the last few years, but our series’ stand out because no matter how the landscape changes, the storytelling is second to none. As we move into new genres that won’t change.
As we all know, budgets are getting leaner — especially in cable – and schedules are tightening, but if the storytelling is strong, the audience will respond to the series. We have some of the best producers/editors/researchers in the business working in-house and they are all a critical component of our expansion into new content arenas.