Sky 1 has ordered three new entertainment shows for the coming year.
Sky is increasingly throwing its weight behind prestigious drama, as its exclusive rights to HBO series and co-productions with Showtime give it the kind of clout to compete with rival Netflix. But the broadcaster hasn’t given up on its other audience, which wants more lighthearted programming, and, while Sky 1 has been the home to original thrillers such as Lucky Man and superhero acquisitions such as Arrow, the channel has also become the place for Sky to premiere family and other entertainment shows. As if to reiterate its commitment to the channel’s remit, Sky has commissioned three more new originals: Sing It, the UK’s first “authentic” a cappella singing contest, Revolution, an extreme sport action-entertainment show that will pitch skateboarders, BMXers and skaters against one other, and Carmageddon, an epic clash where pimped-up, battle ready cars will face their judgement day. At the time of writing, all three are working titles.
Sing It will bring together 30 diverse a cappella groups in a competition based on raw vocal talent. The seven-episode series will test the groups in three rounds – a medley round, iconic artist covers and a final showdown between two groups. In a dig to the BBC’s Pitch Battle, which uses some instrumental accompaniment, Sky notes that “unlike other shows there will be no backing tracks or instruments to hide behind”.
Across six heats, the groups will be judged by experts from the world of a cappella as they attempt to secure a place in the final. The ultimate winning group will get the opportunity to record an album at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, and have a single released in time for Christmas. The series will be hosted by Cat Deeley, making a return to British TV, with house group The Sons of Pitches performing each week, alongside a famous musical guest.
Sing It is directed by concert and music director Sam Wrench, who has worked with the likes of The Weeknd, Coldplay and Mumford and Sons. The show is produced by Fizz, and executive produced by Peter Usher (Sing If You Can, Britain’s Brightest) and Clair Breen (Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor). The commissioner for Sky is Bill Hobbins and the show will head to Sky 1 in September 2017.
Revolution is described by Sky as a “war on wheels that only those with speed, skill and nerves of steel will be brave enough to face”. Filmed on a purpose-built course, the tournament starts on a platform high above the arena, where 30 competitors – 10 inline-skaters, 10 skateboarders and 10 BMX riders – race to make it through to a series of exhilarating rounds.
Due to air in early 2018, it is produced by Znak & Co and Motion Content Group. It is executive produced by Natalka Znak (I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, Hell’s Kitchen) and Glenn Coomber (Strictly Come Dancing, The Jump) for Znak & Co, and Abigail Adams (The Jump, Wild Things) for Motion.
Carmageddon promises similar adrenaline-fuelled entertainment next year, as teams of engineers, mechanics and drivers transform their wildest car concepts into a reality, by hand-building armed and battle-ready vehicles. Then, in three vast arenas deep in the desert, six souped-up cars will battle it out using their bespoke weaponry… and one will drive away and into the season grand finale.
Robot Wars meets Mad Max? Like Pitch Battle, it’s easy to see where commissioner Barbara Lee got the inspiration. The six-episode series is produced by Primal Media (a joint venture with Lionsgate) and Motion Content Group, with executive producers Mat Steiner and Adam Wood for Primal and Melanie Darlaston for Motion.
Phil Edgar Jones, Head of Entertainment at Sky, says: “We’re making Sky 1 even bigger, bolder and better by bringing these three epic entertainment shows to the channel. There’s something to get everyone either on the edge of their seats or dancing round the living room.”