4:45pm PT by Natalie Jarvey
Justin Bieber Project Ordered at YouTube Amid Unscripted Push
YouTube is doubling down on unscripted programming.
The streamer, which is in the midst of a shift away from big-budget scripted programming, has ordered a dozen new reality and documentary programs from partners including Justin Bieber, gaming creator Markiplier and stunt team Dude Perfect.
These programs, which fall into the music, education and personality genres, will be available on YouTube's ad-supported platform as the company moves to make all of its original programming available for free. Previously, many of its shows were reserved for subscribers to Premium, its $12-per-month ad-free option.
Among the shows coming to YouTube are a "top secret" project from musician Bieber and a Paris Hilton documentary directed by Alexandra Dean and produced by Hilton and Industrial Media's Intellectual Property Corp. Both titles will premiere in 2020.
The Google-owned company has also unveiled its first interactive original, a special from Mark Fischbach, aka Markiplier, where viewers can control his life-or-death decisions during a museum heist. A Heist With Markiplier, which will premiere this fall, is a follow-up to A Date With Markiplier and is produced by Rooster Teeth.
The shows were announced Thursday evening as executives pitched advertisers during YouTube's annual Brandcast event. In past years, the company has unveiled flashy shows starring celebrities like Will Smith, Kevin Hart and Ellen DeGeneres. This year, YouTube has placed an emphasis on projects from or featuring homegrown creators. Claire, for instance, will tell the story of creator Claire Wineland, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis at the age of 21. Dude Perfect, meanwhile, will follow the stunt stars during their first national tour.
Of course, YouTube didn't completely ignore more traditional stars. Alicia Keys took the stage early in the presentation to talk about her new show, Unwind, and Tiffany Haddish closed out the show with a comedy bit about the role of YouTube in her career.
YouTube also is investing in its first slate of educational projects. BookTube, for instance, will return following its special with Michelle Obama and feature authors and other personalities talking about their best-selling books. Could You Survive the Movies, premiering in October, is dedicated to exploring the science of cinema.
While YouTube is focusing on developing a slate of unscripted programming for its ad-supported viewers, the company still streams some scripted shows. Cobra Kai, for instance, has been renewed for a third season.
May 2, 5:35 p.m. Updated with additional information about YouTube's Brandcast event.