10:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC Family Orders Three Unscripted Series
ABC Family continues to ramp up its unscripted offerings.
The youth-skewing cable network has ordered three new reality offerings set to debut in the summer: Startup U, Next Step Realty: NYC and Monica the Medium.
The three series join a roster that includes previously ordered Becoming Us (formerly My Transparent Life) and Job or No Job as the Disney-owned cabler expands its reality footprint in a bid to age up its audience.
"ABC Family will become a brand known as much for character-driven docudramas as we are for our character-driven scripted dramas and comedies,” ABC Family president Tom Ascheim said in a statement announcing the pickups Wednesday. "This summer will be chock-full of unscripted fare on the network as we build momentum with these three new series."
Startup U hails from the producers of House of Food and follows a group of entrepreneurial millennials as they embark on a semester at Draper University in Silicon Valley. Led by billionaire founder/venture capitalist Tim Draper, the seven-week program teaches the fundamentals of launching a startup company under the mentorship of America's business leaders. Students will pitch their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists with the hope that they'll receive a life-changing investment to launch their business. To date, more than 150 Draper graduates have received funding totaling more than $15 million from mogul investors and Draper. Startup U hails from Ugly Brother Studios, a Sky Vision partner. Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy and Draper serve as executive producers. Startup U will begin production this month in San Mateo, Calif.
Next Step Realty: NYC is exec produced by Danielle Rossen (What Would You Do?) and follows the employees of the Manhattan-based real estate firm that specializes in helping recent college graduates find their apartments in New York, while also navigating interpersonal and professional conflicts in the workplace.
Monica the Medium, meanwhile, centers on Monica, a junior at Penn State who can talk to dead people. The series hails from Dave Caplan's Trooper Entertainment and Lionsgate Television. Caplan will exec produce alongside Malachi McGlone.
The move is part of a larger push to age up the network, which is mulling a complete rebranding that could include a new name. Ascheim's plan is to shift ABC Family's viewership from teens to 20-somethings and their families.