YouTube is making its first big scripted series bet, giving a straight-to-series order toStep Up, a drama series from Lionsgate TV based on the film franchise that grossed $650 million at the global box office. The show will begin production later this year and will debut on YouTube Red next year as the subscription video service’s first full-fledged, big-budget original drama series. It is one of several new series unveiled today at Vidcon by YouTube’s global head of original content Susanne Daniels, along with Rhett & Link’s Buddy System, Dan & Phil’s Tour Documentary, Vlogumentaryand a Michael Stevens project. She also announced the renewals of Scare Pewdiepie, Foursome and untitled Smosh movie.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who co-starred in the original Step Upfilm, will executive produce the series adaptation along with the movies’ producers Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton.
The Step Up series is described as a heart-pounding, sexy, music-filled drama about dancers in a contemporary performing arts school.
The original Step Up (2006), was followed by four other movies – Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up: 3D, Step Up: Revolution and Step Up: All In. The last two films were released by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label.
“I’ve been a fan of the Step Up movies for years and always believed the films would translate into an awesome original series,” said Daniels. “We know that dance is a hugely successful global category on YouTube, so I’m excited to have a series rooted in such an enormously popular genre on our platform.”
This is the latest example of Lionsgate TV helping a fledgeling original scripted player get into the space. The studio previously did it with AMC (Mad Men), Netflix (Orange Is the New Black), WGN America (Manhattan) and Epix (Graves), among others.
“Step Up is an incredible property with the global appeal to launch both a blockbuster film franchise and an exhilarating, high-energy series,” said Lionsgate TV Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. “After five exciting and successful movies, we’re proud to partner with YouTube Red, a major new force on the programming landscape, to adapt the films into an adrenaline-filled original drama series driven by its non-stop energy, spectacular dancing and A-list creative talent.”
Daniels, who joined YouTube a year ago, is encouraged by the early response to original series by Red subscribers. “With nine projects launched, we’re seeing fans sign up, tune in, binge and share their enthusiasm with their friends,” she said. “And a ton of this activity is happening in just the first 24 hours after our new series go live.”