10:00am PT by Rick Porter
Seth MacFarlane, Jim Henson Company Land Unscripted Projects at UCP
Seth MacFarlane is going deeper in the world of unscripted programming.
The Family Guy and American Dad creator (and executive producer of Cosmos) will executive produce an unscripted show called Micronations for Universal Studio Group's UCP, marking his first nonfiction effort (and fourth overall) under the rich overall deal he signed at NBCUniversal earlier this year. UCP also has unscripted projects in the works from The Jim Henson Company and podcast maker Wondery, plus a dating show that takes inspiration from old-fashioned courtship rituals.
The quartet of potential series are part of an effort at UCP to develop lighter unscripted fare. The studio's previous work in the field focused largely on true crime.
"While we have had great success in the realm of true-crime, we also have a softer side that we want to show off," said UCP president Dawn Olmsstead. "I can't think of a better time for some fun, smart, light-hearted yet timely fare for our unscripted slate."
Said senior vp and head of unscripted programming Jessica Grimshaw, "We are excited to partner once again with Fuzzy Door, Wondery, and The Jim Henson Company on these fresh and original shows. From world-wide travels and roadside tourist attractions to inspirational celebrities and blast-to-the past dating, we have some really entertaining, escapist programming in the pipeline."
The four projects are:
Micronations: From MacFarlane's Fuzzy Door Productions, the potential series asks What does it take to build a country? What does it mean to be a citizen? To belong? The quest for a place to call home brings the show's host (to be determined) on an adventure around the world to the countries that don't exist. MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door's Erica Huggins executive produce with Jason Clark and Sarah Ullman.
Imagined Life: Based on the Wondery podcast, each hour-long episode takes viewers on an immersive journey through the surprising moments and challenges that shaped the lives of celebrities and historical figures. Shot from the POV of the subjects, and narrated in third person, the show aims to give viewers a "window into the souls" of its subjects. Stories are told through high end re-enactments and stylized narrator-driven interviews. Don Argott and Sheena Joyce (Believer, Slugfest) will direct and executive produce. Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy and Aaron Hart produce for Wondery.
Coming Attractions: The Jim Henson Company will go to communities in need of hope and help their towns develop and build extraordinary themed, roadside tourist attractions in a feel-good competition series. Brian Henson and Vince Raisa executive produce for The Jim Henson Company.
Courting Love: A dating experiment in which lovelorn singles are transported to a bygone era where they will shed their modern lives and follow real courtship rituals of the past in hopes that they can find love and get married. At the end of the fantasy experiment they’ll emerge back in 2021 and face the present day with their new love. Amanda McPhillips (Celebrity Call Center) is developing the project alongside UCP.