6:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Reese Witherspoon Launching VOD Channel
Reese Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine production company are entering the VOD space.
The actress and her company are teaming with AT&T's DirecTV Now and U-Verse with a Hello Sunshine subscription channel. The platform will launch July 17 with Witherspoon's first unscripted series, Shine On With Reese, followed by decluttering docuseries Master the Mess on Sept. 4.
The AT&T collaboration extends the company's partnership with Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, which was launched in November 2016 with backing from the Chernin Group and AT&T's Otter Media portfolio.
"AT&T was one of our first partners in the quest to bring female-centric storytelling to the forefront and we are especially proud of how these original series push that mission ahead,” Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden said. “We’re looking forward to working with AT&T to develop more opportunities for women to see themselves and their stories reflected in entertainment.”
Hello Sunshine will run on channel 1112 on DirecTV and 1530 on U-verse. DirecTV Now subscribers will get their first three months for $10 a month (with the promo code SUNSHINE3). After three months, the channel will cost $35 a month. In success, Harden noted scripted originals could be created specifically for the VOD platform but Hello Sunshine originals like Big Little Lies and Hulu's forthcoming Little Fires Everywhere will not be included. Content that debuts on the Hello Sunshine VOD channel will remain exclusive to that platform for the time being, though the company is open to striking deals for second run repeats. Movies on the platform will depend on what is available that month on the cable networks.
“I am thrilled to have such like-minded, creative collaborators at AT&T to help Hello Sunshine pursue our mission of elevating and showcasing the voices of women that we have such admiration and respect for,” Witherspoon said. “I am so excited for the world to experience the stories from our partnership with AT&T, which are set to be equal parts entertaining, inspiring, thought-provoking and unabashedly real.
On top of the two unscripted series, the platform will offer original shortform content and select film library titles.
“Providing an empowering platform for diverse voices is a priority for us,” said Valerie Vargas, senior vp advertising and creative services at AT&T. “Our work with Hello Sunshine gives stories about women the spotlight they deserve, which inspires our viewers and drives authentic conversation."
Shine On With Reese celebrates women who have created their own paths to success. Dolly Parton, Ava DuVernay, Pink, poet Cleo Wade, Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson and Spanx founder Sara Blakely, author/activist Glennon Doyle and athlete/author Abby Wamback, America Ferrara, Kacey Musgraves and First Captain, UMSA at Westpoint Simone Askew will be featured.
“Shine On With Reese is about experiencing with Reese the stories of exceptional artists, entrepreneurs and leaders who happen to be women, and reveals how their personal journeys are unique yet relatable,” said Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming at Hello Sunshine. “It epitomizes our goal of telling unexpected stories from interesting women’s perspectives.”
Meanwhile, Master the Mess will feature The Home Edit decluttering gurus Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin in a series that blends comedy with organization.
The Hello Sunshine VOD channel follows a similar deal AT&T struck with Taylor Swift in which a subscription was required to access exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the pop star.
Additionally, Hello Sunshine and AT&T are teaming with Dreaming Tree Foundation for a July 30-Aug. 6 filmmaker camp for young women in Los Angeles in which they hope to build a roster of aspiring filmmakers. Twenty girls will be hosted for an immersive two-week program in which they will work with Witherspoon and industry experts to create content for the Hello Sunshine VOD platform.
For Witherspoon, the VOD platform arrives as Hello Sunshine has become a go-to supplier for premium scripted originals. The company has season two of HBO's Big Little Lies in the works, Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere, in which Witherspoon co-stars opposite Kerry Washington, and three shows at Apple, including a morning show drama in which she plays opposite Jennifer Aniston.