12:52pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
CW Acquires British Comedy 'Dates,' Orders Unscripted Prank Show
The CW continues to march toward year-round programming, acquiring a British scripted comedy and ordering a reality prank show featuring couples.
The youth-skewing network has ordered unscripted entry Wicked Offer to series and acquired Ben Chaplin and Oona Chaplin comedy Dates.
Wicked Offer, which hails from Jenny Daly's T Group Productions (Storage Hunters), is an hourlong series in which couples are offered bargains as they decide whether to take on controversial tasks involving their unsuspecting friends, families and colleagues for cash. Each challenge will test their moral and ethical boundaries as they weigh the risk on their relationships — and how far they'll go for cash.
The nine-episode run of Dates, meanwhile, focuses on a first date between two people who meet via an online dating service. The pseudo anthology series features a cast that changes with each episode and also includes Andrew Scott, Katie McGrath, Amanda Hale and Gemma Chan. Bryan Elsley created the series that aired on Channel 4 in Great Britain. The series is produced by Balloon and distributed by Entertainment One.
For The CW, Dates comes after network president Mark Pedowitz told reporters in January that he was planning a big summer scripted expansion. Last year, The CW looked to Canadian import Seed — also an acquisition from eOne — and its digital series-turned-on-air comedy Backpackers as it pushed into the scripted comedy and summer originals space. (Neither Backpackers nor Seed will not return to The CW.)
This summer, The CW will air the third season of Beauty and the Beast — which is already renewed for a fourth run likely in summer 2016 — starting on May 21. That will come after the April bows of Cedric's Barber Battle and Whose Line Is it Anyway as well as the freshman debut of sci-fi drama The Messengers.