YouTube lines up lockdown originals
James R | On 28, Apr 2020
YouTube has announced a new slate of original content to keep audiences entertained and educated during the coronavirus lockdown.
Celebrities and educators will join together for distance learning – including Karlie Kloss working through a coding problem and Ken Jeong giving a Biology lesson – a new series will follow Yungblud as he and his band adapt to a remote lifestyle, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HITRECORD will host a short-form family series showcasing the artistic creations of people collaborating from their homes.
Notably YouTube personalities will also be fronting a string of live-stream events, which kicked off with The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast on 25th April, where vloggers were pitted against each other in at-home games. The Creator Games became YouTube’s most-watched live original ever, with a peak of 662,000 concurrent viewers.
“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, unveiling the slate. “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.”
Also, as part of YouTube’s continued commitment to families, beginning in May, several new kids and family originals will launch and be available on YouTube and YouTube Kids. These will help inspire kids’ curiosity, creativity, resourcefulness and resiliency during these unusual times.
The move comes as YouTube also makes several of its originals available to stream for free, in front of the YouTube Premium paywall. You can find the list of eligible titles here.
Here’s the full line-up:
Money Talks: Taxes — Streaming now
In this new Learning Playlist, a roundtable of leading female financial experts provide answers to the questions surrounding personal finances that we are all desperate to know. Offering a step by step guide for viewers, this first series of videos covers pressing questions about filing taxes and the COVID-19 stimulus check. Money Talks is produced by Refinery29.
Instant Influencer with James Charles – Streaming now
YouTube’s first original beauty competition series.
The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast — Streaming now
A global LIVE event where popular YouTube creator, MrBeast (34M subscribers), challenges the platform’s biggest stars to remotely go head-to-head in a first-of-its-kind battle of stay-at-home games where there can be only one winner. The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast will encourage viewers to donate to support COVID-19-related charitable organisations and is produced by Night Media and Fly On the Wall.
Stay Home With: YUNGBLUD — Streaming now (Mondays)
This weekly episodic series follows UK recording artist, YUNGBLUD, through a month at a rental apartment in L.A. Along with four friends – his manager, videographer and two bandmates with whom he is quarantined – YUNGBLUD attempts to shoot a music video, write new songs, cook meals and stay connected to his UK-based family and avid global fanbase, all within the disconcerting shelter-at-home restrictions. Stay Home With: YUNGBLUD will encourage viewers to donate to support No Kid Hungry and is produced by Stick Figure Entertainment.
#MoveWithMe — 29th April
In celebration of International Dance Day, this special will feature acclaimed choreographer Matt Steffanina as host, and talented dancers and choreographers from across the globe as they come together to provide dance-lovers with high octane performances to today’s chart topping songs in a way that can only be done on YouTube. Choreographers and dancers including LaurieAnn Gibson, WilldaBeast Adams, Chachi Gonzales, Kasia Jukowska, Vale Merino, Sonali Bhadauria, FitDance, Kaelynn KK Harris, Twist And Pulse, D-trix and more will be featured. #MoveWithMe will encourage viewers to donate to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO during the event and is produced by Den of Thieves.
TWICE: Seize the Light – 29th April
An 8-part docu-series on the K-pop girl group.
Stream #WithMe (UK) — 30th April
In Stream #WithMe, a star-studded crew of some of the UK’s most loved YouTube creators and stars let us in on how they are coping with the lockdown experience in a livestream celebration of solidarity. The all-star group of creators and celebrities will share tips on how to keep entertained, upbeat, and active as they tag-team their way through four hours of joyful unexpected performances and exciting challenges culminating in an almighty stunt for the nation. Stream #WithMe will encourage viewers to donate to support NHS Charities Together and is made in partnership with Electric Robin (part of EndemolShine UK).
Celebrity Substitute — 7th May
Around the world, millions of students are joining virtual classrooms as part of the current distance learning initiative and teachers are looking for ways to keep their students engaged and focused to stay on target with their curriculum. In this series, some of the brightest celebrities and educators come together to energise distance learning. In each episode, a celebrity steps in to teach crucial high school lessons with real teachers. Some examples include Karlie Kloss working through a coding problem, or Ken Jeong giving a biology lesson that will be remembered for years to come. Additional celebrity substitutes include: Bill Nye, Camila Mendes, Janelle Monáe, and Terry Crews. Celebrity Substitute is produced by B17 Entertainment.
Dude Perfect: Backstage Pass – 11th May
A behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the YouTube supergroup’s rise to fame.
The Secret Life of Lele Pons — 19th May
In this raw and intimate five-part series, internet personality and music artist Lele Pons shares a side to her that no one knows about… Her lifelong struggle with Tourette Syndrome and OCD. Viewers will follow along on her journey of building and expanding her music career while battling what was previously hidden. The Secret Life of Lele Pons is a Shots Studios Production.
BookTube – Read with Me Special — 21st May
The critically-acclaimed monthly book club, BookTube, is creating a special Read With Me episode premiering 21st May. Now more than ever, people around the world are turning to books to help them feel connected. This special episode will feature several celebrities, booktubers, and authors – including Melinda Gates, John Grisham, James Patterson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Nicholas Sparks, Elaine Welteroth, and many more – sharing their current book recommendations.
Create Together #WithMe – May (TBC)
This mini-series, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, invites friends and families from all over the world who are coping with this unprecedented time of isolation to come together and showcase their creativity and collaboration. Rather than profiling lone artists and showcasing their finished work, each weekly episode will document the creative process as people find each other online and remotely collaborate on a variety of family friendly projects—short films, short documentaries, music videos, and more. Anybody can come be a part of the show on HITRECORD, Gordon-Levitt’s Emmy-winning platform for creative collaboration. Create Together #WithMe is produced by Brian Graden Media and HITRECORD.
Locked Down – May (TBC)
A social media mystery in a social distancing era! This scripted event series follows a group of bored teens working together online to solve a mystery involving one of their neighbors. Shot entirely via webcam and smartphone, Locked Down is a suspenseful look at how young people stay in touch while having to stay away, as well as what happens when boredom leads to suspicion. The story unfolds almost in real-time as the friend group works together – from a distance – to solve the mystery, while also exploring their own anxieties and frustrations about life during a pandemic. Locked Down is created and produced by Toronto-based Sinking Ship Entertainment (Dino Dana, Endlings, Odd Squad).
Untitled Juanpa and Luisito Project – May (TBC)
Latin America’s top YouTube creators Juanpa Zurita (10.2M subscribers) and Luisito Communica (30.6M subscribers) come together for the first time to document an unprecedented situation (COVID-19 quarantine) in an unprecedented way. Filmed entirely under quarantine with no physical interaction, viewers will hear first hand personal stories from around the globe, including YouTube creators, health specialists, and everyday people as they reflect on their reality. Their challenges, their hopes, their solutions, their stories of inspiration and most importantly the resilience of human nature. This limited series will give a voice to individuals around the globe to unify us regardless of region or language. This project is produced by DW Entertainment & Media.
BookTube – Mental Health Special — June (TBC)
Additionally, the June 2020 episode of BookTube will feature authors Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General (author of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World), Lori Gottlieb (author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone) and Haemin Sunim (author of The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down) discussing anxiety, mental health, and advice for self care during these uncertain times. BookTube is produced by Boardwalk Pictures.