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Spike has upped the ante for high-octane television.
On the heels of hit Repo Games, which has been picked up for another 20 episodes, Bar Rescue and Auction Hunters, the male-skewing network has ordered four new unscripted series in a similar “genuine men in high pressure situations” vein. The additions, which are designed to cater to Spike’s core male 18 to 34 set while not excluding the 35 to 49 bracket, are American Digger, Big Easy Justice, World’s Worst Tenants and Undercover Stings.
“These shows all share one thing in common: at the heart of each of them is a dynamic personality in a high stakes, high reward vocation,” Spike’s executive vice president of original series Sharon Levy tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The robust order is part of a larger push into the original series space, and a desire to broaden the brand beyond its narrow young male demo. In recent months, Spike has strived to let more men, along with their wives and girlfriends, into the tent, without abandoning its young male target. (The net’s average prime-time viewer is currently 40-years-old, up from 38 a year earlier.)
While Levy is clear that this is a broadening of the brand rather than an outright rebranding, she says it entails offering viewers things that matter to them, including guys in real stakes scenarios, men who are men and a slower storytelling pace.
American Digger will follow former professional wrestler Ric Savage as he and his team from American Savage (his wife, son and two experts) attempt to unearth and sell artifacts. The hook: Savage has to convince homeowners to let his clan tear apart their property. The network has ordered 13 half-hour episodes of the series, which is created and produced by Gurney Productions, the outfit behind Spike’s Auction Hunters.
“We loved the idea that this was yet another out-of-the-box original way to enter the treasure space,” said Levy, “and we thought a perfect companion piece for Auction Hunters.”
For it’s part, Big Easy Justice invites viewers into the gritty underworld of post-Katrina New Orleans. The series centers on a legendary bounty hunter, Tat-2 and his Elite Fugitive Recovery Team as they hunt down some of the city’s most elusive criminals. The series, produced by Al Roker Entertainment, the company behind Spike’s DEA, in association with CRM Entertainment, Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions and Bodega Pictures, is set to premiere next year.
World’s Worst Tenants will focus on U.S. Marine turned professional evictor Todd Howard, who along with his wife and business partner confront despicable, dirty and at times dangerous tenants. Spike has ordered 10 half-hour installments of the series, produced by Zoo Productions’ Barry Poznick and John Stevens (Southern Fried Stings, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?).
Finally, there’s Undercover Stings, which looks at the high-stakes world of undercover police sting operations and orchestrated busts. The ride-along series, which has been picked up for 10 half-hour episodes, comes from John and Morgan Langley, the father-son duo behind Fox’s long-running Cops.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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