Conde Nast Plans Docuseries With Morgan Spurlock, Rod Blackhurst

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Morgan Spurlock

The media company is planning to debut more than 40 series this year and has renewed 65 projects.

Conde Nast Entertainment is adding two docuseries to its slate of projects. 

The company has teamed up with director Morgan Spurlock for Generation US, which will take viewers across the country to highlight people from the same demographic in different regions in an effort to explore what unites and divides the nation.

It will also release Through the Fire, a look at the legacies of the firefighters who died in Arizona's 2013 wildfires from director Rod Blackhurst (Amanda Knox). In an example of how CNE is moving its IP across different platforms, the series tells the real-life story behind  feature film Granite Mountain, which is based on a GQ article, that Sony will release in theaters Oct. 20.  

"The content we create spans every category," noted CNE president Dawn Ostroff during the company's NewFront presentation in New York on Tuesday, explaining that her team can make everything from big-budget films to short-form digital series. Later, she noted, "while TV viewership has declined and aged up, our young audience is growing faster than ever and has found a home in our network."

Ostroff also told the crowd that CNE's network had 4.5 billion video views in 2016, including nearly 700 videos with more than 1 million views each.

CNE's docuseries are joined by more than three dozen new digital series that CNE, the entertainment arm of Conde Nast, will premiere this year. The company is also bringing back 65 returning series. Among the new series is Pop Feminist, a series for Teen Vogue that breaks down the latest in pop culture with a feminist twist; and Back to Back Chef for Bon Appetit, which pairs a celebrity chef and home cook to face off in a cooking challenge. 

In addition, CNE has upped its support of Jaunt's Cinematic Virtual Reality Lab, which is based at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, to provide resources, creative guidance, and distribution and sales experience to the participants. 

It has also revealed plans for a second season of the incubator program, The Big Script, that it conducted with Indigenous Media and actor Josh Hutcherson in 2016.

The CNE presentation also included comments from chief business officer Jim Norton about the importance of brand safety for advertisers, a common theme at NewFronts this year. "We are committed to cleaning up the digital and video supply chain," Norton told the crowd of ad buyers, announcing that the company had received antifraud certification and was encouraging its partners to do the same. 

Here are some of CNE's programming highlights: 

NEW DIGITAL SERIES:

Pop Feminist/Teen Vogue

Pop Feminist is an entertainment news breakdown with a Teen Vogue twist. In each episode, Teen Vogue entertainment editor Sandra Song breaks down the latest happenings in pop culture through an intersectional feminist lens.

Back to Back Chef/Bon Appetit

In just 15 minutes, a celebrity chef challenges an everyday home cook to create one of their signature dishes, with one catch: They can’t look at each other, only take verbal clues while literally facing back to back.

Broken/The Scene

Infidelity is a topic that many couples deal with but rarely talk about openly. The Scene’s original series, Broken, brings former and current couples together with the hope of finding closure. The couples confront each other openly and honestly about infidelity, resulting in an emotional and cathartic conversation. The pilot episode, which aired in February, spurred an internationally recognized hashtag, #hurtbae, and has been viewed more than 55 million times.

Actually Me/GQ

A celebrity goes undercover on the internet and responds to comments on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Quora and YouTube.

...In 2 Minutes/Glamour

...In 2 Minutes is a scripted, live-action series that breaks down the signs and symptoms of our biological processes and the science behind them. In the first episode, Your Period in 2 Minutes, an actress portrays all of the relatable physiological changes that a woman experiences during her monthly cycle. The franchise has nearly limitless potential, featuring popular, searchable and shareable topics.

Tech Support/Wired

Celebrities use the power of Twitter, answering real-time questions on often-surprising areas of expertise.

SERIES RENEWALS:

73 Questions/Vogue

Take a peek inside some of your favorite stars' lives through the innovative interview series, 73 Questions. Shot in one take at celebs’ homes or on set, each episode gives viewers access to a delightful and intimate look into who these celebrities are and how they live their lives, as only Vogue can. With its A-list interview subjects, this series has a track record of delivering an avalanche of press and buzz around each episode’s debut. The series has recorded 126.4 million global total views with 5.1 million average global total views per video.

Beauty Trend Evolutions/Allure

What was the 1920s trend equivalent of the Kardashians’ boxer braids? Have lipstick looks gotten bolder over the years? Find out in these beautiful videos that take Allure viewers through the evolution of a certain beauty trend over a roughly 100-year period. Each video covers one beauty trend exquisitely executed on a real life model. These videos transport viewers to each era through beauty products such as bangs, brows, blush and lipstick that defined each decade.

24 Hours Working Straight at.../Bon Appétit

What does it take to run a restaurant that never closes? Bon Appétit spends 24 hours behind the scenes of an iconic dining establishment, giving viewers an insider's look at what goes into the preparation of delicious food. Deputy editor Andrew Knowlton works alongside the staff, preparing dishes, bussing tables — whatever it takes to keep customers coming back for seconds. This James Beard Award-winning franchise represents the very best of Bon Appétit.

Perfect Match/Glamour

Is there such a thing as “the one”? Does what we want on paper really align with what we want in real life? This Glamour series asks one woman per episode to answer 35 specific questions about her ideal mate. Unbeknownst to her, our team has already used her preferences to find someone who matches all of her criteria. We surprise her with a blind date that very same day and document what really happens when she meets her "perfect match."

Secret Talent Theater/Vanity Fair

The Hollywood Issue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, is one of the most sought-after editions of Vanity Fair. On the day of the shoot, Hollywood’s most talented actresses come together to be photographed because of their on-screen achievements. Behind-the-scenes, the A-listers show off their hidden talents inside our Secret Talent Theater. In each episode, an actress steps into our glamorous set reminiscent of a classic Hollywood period jewel box theater and stages her own delightful performance. This successful series has featured Jennifer Lawrence showing off her mime skills, Cate Blanchett doing the splits, and Emma Stone teaching us how to use a pogo stick.

Autocomplete/Wired

Celebrities answer the most Googled questions about themselves. Is Jennifer Lawrence quitting Hollywood? Is Ice Cube a nice guy? Does Ryan Reynolds know martial arts? Does Gerard Butler still surf? The internet searches for answers and WIRED goes right to the source, when celebrities answer the most Googled questions about themselves.

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