Another day, another upcoming streaming service with an ambitious slate of programming. With the TV landscape already more crowded than ever, Jeffrey Katzenberg is looking to reinvent the very medium with Quibi, a streaming service that will deliver “quick bites” of content — episodes or installments running 10 minutes or less. Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman have pitched the mobile-based service as quick entertainment for viewers on the go.
“You leave the house every morning with a little TV in your pocket. It’s called your smart phone,” Whitman said in 2018. “During the day, you have these in-between moments. Ten minutes here, 15 minutes there, where you want to see something great.”
Quibi is scheduled to launch on April 6, 2020 with a two-tier pricing system: $4.99 with ads, $7.99 without. And lest anyone remain skeptical, the service already has a raft of A-list talent lined up for various projects. Read on for a list of everything in development. Details are varying degrees of vague on all of them — and these are just the projects we know enough about to actually describe. (For instance, Paul Feig is also developing projects for the platform, but no further info on them is yet available.)
Spielberg’s After Dark: Appointment TV is back, sorta. The beloved filmmaker is writing a “10 or 12-chapter” spooky story that can only be viewed after the sun goes down.
Punk’d and Singled Out: MTV is “reimagining” two of its most famous reality shows in short-form…form.
Elba vs. Block: Is there anything Idris Elba can’t do? After DJ’ing at Coachella earlier this year, the actor ventures into the realm of stunt driving with this eight-episode series. Elba will compete with professional rally driver Ken Block in such car-based setpieces as the “Wall of Death,” the “Car Tightrope,” and the “Flaming Obstacle Course.”
Royalties: Darren Criss will star in, executive produce, and write songs for this musical comedy series, following a ragtag songwriting duo named Sara and Pierce. Criss is also co-writing the series with fellow Team StarKid co-founders Nick and Matt Lang (of A Very Potter Musical fame).
Don’t Look Deeper: Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns) and Don Cheadle headline this sci-fi series directed and executive produced by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. The story, set “15 minutes into the future” (whatever that entails), follows a high school senior who realizes she may not be human.
Dummy: Starring Anna Kendrick and Donal Logue (of the late Gotham), this comedy follows the story of an aspiring writer and her boyfriend’s sex doll(?). Originally written as a TV pilot, the project was developed into a film script to be diced up into Quibi’s 10-minute-or-less “bites.”
Wolves and Villagers: Pitched by Katzenberg as “Fatal Attraction 2.0,” this series boasts Naomi Watts in the lead role and Blumhouse maestro Jason Blum (the producer behind Get Out and Ma) as an executive producer.
Thanks a Million: Jennifer Lopez and nine other people give $100,000 to an influential person from their life. That person gives $50,000 to someone else, who gives $25,000 to someone else, and on down the line. We’re guessing-slash-hoping giant checks will be involved.
Frat Boy Genius: Based on a buzzy feature screenplay, this series will tell the tale of Snapchat’s rise through a Social Network-esque, reportedly deeply unflattering portrait of founder Evan Spiegel.
50 States of Fear: Original Spider-Man and The Evil Dead helmer Sam Raimi is developing this horror anthology, which draws inspiration from the folklore of each U.S. state.
You Ain’t Got These: This unscripted show from The Chi creator Lena Waithe explores social issues through the lens of sneaker culture.
BEAUTY: Starring and executive produced by Tyra Banks, this docuseries “aims to expand and redefine the definition of beauty,” in Banks’ words, by exploring and challenging traditional beauty standards throughout the world.
Mapleworth Murders: From EPs Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers comes this comedic mystery-procedural, written by and starring Paula Pell (A.P. Bio) and John Lutz (30 Rock). The show follows a murder mystery author who sets out to solve a spate of killings in her quaint, small town.
The Fugitive: A modern, social media-infused update of the classic TV series (and 1993 Harrison Ford film), The Fugitive tells the tale of “blue-collar Mike Russo,” who must clear his name by tracking down the real perpetrator of a bombing in Los Angeles. Prison Break‘s Nick Santora is writing the series.
The Now: Peter Farrelly (Green Book) brings you the story of a suicidal man whose brother and father have already died by suicide. For the sake of his mother, the man strives to turn things around, and learn to live in “the now.”
#Freerayshawn: Antoine Fuqua, director of The Equalizer and 2016’s The Magnificent Seven, is producing this drama, which Katzenberg pitched as a modern twist on ’70s classic Dog Day Afternoon. Stephan James (Homecoming) stars as Rayshawn, an Iraq War veteran who takes shelter in his apartment building after a botched drug deal. Amid a police standoff and growing media frenzy, a sympathetic cop (played by Laurence Fishburne) tries to convince him to surrender.
Fight Like a Girl: WWE comes to Quibi for this unscripted series, which sees pro wrestlers pairing with young women to help them overcome personal issues, and “become tougher, stronger and healthier versions” of themselves. (Can we change WWE to stand for Women Wrestler Empowerment?)
Varsity Blues: A “modern take” on the 1999 James Van Der Beek-starring film is in development, directed by Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses). No casting news has been announced, but one can only hope Van Der Beek will show up at some point. (Unless it’s just a dramatization of that college admissions scandal.)
Crazy Talented: Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) will direct this twisted superhero tale, in which a charismatic leader convinces psych ward patients that they possess extraordinary “talents,” and must stop alien weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
Winos: Thomas Lennon is masterminding this series as creator, writer, executive producer, and star. The show follows a failed Silicon Valley entrepreneur who relocates to wine country and tries to improve the fortunes of a struggling vineyard. Comedic fish-out-of-water antics will presumably abound.
Untitled action-thriller project: Liam Hemsworth will star as a terminally ill man desperate to care for his pregnant wife — enough so that he joins a potentially lucrative game that turns out to be a deadly ruse that pits him as the prey in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. The series will be written by Santora and directed by Phil Abraham (Daredevil).
Untitled Guillermo del Toro project: The Oscar-winning Shape of Water director is developing a project described as a “modern zombie story.”
El Señor de Los Cielos prequel: Telemundo is partnering with Quibi on a prequel to its acclaimed telenovela, chronicling the rise of notorious real-life drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.
Untitled music competition series: Justin Bieber‘s longtime manager Scooter Braun is producing, and will be a judge for, a musical competition series. How will it differ from The Voice or American Idol? Unclear, but Katzenberg promises it will be “unique and differentiated.”