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Fuse Media Unveils Upfront Lineup Featuring Music Culture-Driven Content to Increase Engagement with Young, Diverse Audience

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Fuse Media, a multiplatform entertainment media brand for Latino and multicultural youth, today unveiled the slate of linear and digital programming it is presenting to advertisers during its 2019-2020 upfront meetings.

This includes an expansion of the company’s successful strategy of leveraging both homegrown original and acquired content that was initially launched on digital platforms, to develop new shows for its linear channels.

Targeting diverse, millennial and Gen Z viewers, the linear Fuse television network’s audience is one of the most multicultural on cable, as well as one of the youngest – with a median age more than 15 years below cable’s average.  It has successfully reached these viewers by leaning into their love of music and music-influenced culture with programming such as the recently-renewed original series Complex x Fuse and T-Pain’s School of Business, as well as its award-winning Fuse Docs franchise.  Also, in 2018, Fuse and its partner UnidosUS revived The ALMAs honoring Latino artists and influencers in entertainment and media.

In addition to eight returning series across the Fuse linear network and Fuse Media’s digital platforms – including the largest number of renewals since Fuse re-launched in late 2015 – two new series premiered on Fuse earlier this year, with three to come later in the 2019-20 season, and more in development.

Overall, to remain successful and keep in step with rapidly-changing consumption patterns, Fuse is embracing experimentation in content development as it navigates the shifting expectations of young, diverse viewers.

Fuse Media Chief Content Officer J-T Ladt remarked: “To successfully target this highly elusive audience, we’ve needed to experiment across platforms and find innovative ways to engage viewers. We began with our Complex partnership and have seen continued season-to-season growth for Complex x Fuse, which is now in its fourth season. Continuing with this strategy, Fuse is migrating nontraditional IP that already has a built-in multicultural audience to the linear channel. For example, Big Boy’s Neighborhood is also a radio show, The Read is a podcast and Made from Scratch originated as a YouTube format.”

For its advertising agency and brand partners, Fuse Media is delivering more meaningful connections than ever to this audience via a stream of consistently resonating content across multiple touch-points, from linear and digital to social media and live events.  This includes branded content created through the Fuse Collab unit; premium programming on the Fuse and FM (Fuse Music) television networks; plus short-form digital originals that have helped extend the Fuse brand to new audiences, while driving awareness of the linear channels.

Explained Fuse Media EVP, Ad Sales and Integrated Marketing Jason Miller: “Fuse creates opportunities for brands that authentically connect our music culture-driven content with multicultural young adult consumers, wherever our audience is accessing entertainment.  The brands that consistently win with this highly sought-after audience are the ones connected to stories that reflect and celebrate inclusion to build true brand relevancy.”

Added Ladt, “Over the last year, the Fuse Content Studio doubled down on the creation of short-form original video, which resulted in a 250% increase in digital and social viewership.  This allowed us to grow our brand across platforms while increasing monetization and audience engagement, and successfully incubating digital series for linear distribution.”

Ahead of its upcoming Upfront agency presentations, Fuse Media today unveiled new and returning series coming to its platforms or in development, as well as premiere dates for previously-announced programming.  This includes:

NEW SERIES

  • Made From Scratch (Fuse network; 8 x 30’ episodes) – A prime example of the above-mentioned migration of content between platforms that has propelled the growth of Fuse’s audience, the pilot episode of the docu-cooking series featured Latinx rapper Young M.A bonding with her grandmother over food, and generated approximately 4 million views on YouTube.  This led to Fuse Media greenlighting additional episodes featuring talent such as T-Pain and Ayo & Teo, and based on the success of those digital episodes, Fuse Media has now decided to turn Made From Scratch into a long-form series for its linear Fuse network, set to have its TV premiere later this year. Produced by the Fuse Content Studio.
  • The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle West (working title) (Fuse network; 10 x 30’ episodes) – Inspired by their juggernaut podcast – with more than 85 million listens worldwide and 1.5 million unique listens a month – Kid Fury and Crissle host this talk/variety format that carries over their beloved segments like Hot Tops and The Read, while additionally featuring a special celebrity and/or musician guest. The duo uses their sharp, honest brand of cultural commentary and perceptive opinions to drill deep into the roots of the issues and stories affecting their millennial and Gen Z peers, from social justice and politics to dating and music culture, and everything in between. Chloe Pisello, David Martin, Jon Thoday, and Richard Allen-Turner of Avalon Television will Executive Produce. Kid Fury, Crissle West, and Alexandra Rago are also executive producers.
  • Sugar and Toys (Fuse network; 10 x 30’ episodes, premieres June 9 at 11 p.m. ET/PT) – Fuse’s previously-announced first venture into adult animation, Sugar and Toys will premiere as part of Fuse’s new Sunday night programming block.  Created by Carl Jones and Brian Ash, producers of Black Dynamite and The Boondocks, this series brings a wild new twist on the Saturday morning cartoons we all grew up with – but a whole lot less innocent.  Adult comedy, social commentary and music culture parody crash the cartoon party, speaking directly to the trends and issues most relevant to a millennial audience, and bookended by host and multi-platinum rapper and actor KYLE (Netflix’ The After Partywww.superduperkyle.com). It is executive produced by Aengus James, Colin King Miller, Nicholaus Goossen, Jones and Ash, with Kyle Harvey serving as co-executive producer and Lalo Alcaraz as consulting producer, and produced by This is Just a Test and 245 Enterprises.
  • Reverse Brothers with Ayo & Teo (working title) (in development)  Social media masters We Buy Gold have joined forced with Carl Jones and Brian Ash of Black Dynamite and The Boondocks to expand the intergalactic universe of their hit digital series, Reverse BrothersReverse Brothers with Ayo & Teo is an animated linear series littered with hip-hop culture and sprinkled with cosmic dust. In every episode, brothers and hip-hop/dance duo, Ayo & Teo face the challenges associated with inheriting the universe’s most popping pawn shop, which is frequented by comet riding con artists, eclectic alien collectors, and hip-hop legends. Reverse Brothers with Ayo & Teo will be produced by We Buy Gold.

The above join the previously-announced new series, Fuse Films, which premieres on May 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

RETURNING SERIES

  • Big Boy’s Neighborhood (Fuse; 100 x 120’ episodes, premieres on the Fuse network on March 20) – The televised version of iHeartMedia’s nationally-syndicated hit radio show starring radio legend Big Boy has been renewed for a second season and moved to Fuse from FM (Fuse Music). Premiering March 20, the show follows Big Boy as he entertains audiences daily with his high-energy mix of hip-hop, heart and humor. In each episode, Big Boy welcomes the biggest names in music and entertainment – season 1 guests have included John LegendJonah Hill, H.E.R, Fergie, Jason Derulo, Kim Kardashian, Becky G and more – and shares his take on the latest news in music and pop culture and keeps listeners laughing with hilarious bits, including the infamous phonetaps with “Luther Luffeigh.” Episodes will premiere the day after the radio broadcast and also feature Big Boy’s Neighborhood co-hosts Natalia PerezLouie GAyydé and DJ Vick One.
  • Fuse Docs (Fuse) – The Peabody award-winning, and Daytime Emmy, NAMIC and NAACP Image Award-nominated documentary franchise has also been renewed. This series of documentaries making their U.S. TV premieres returns for a third season. Spotlighting young, idealistic and diverse people who are celebrating their cultural heritage and identity, confronting issues, and overcoming prejudice, Fuse documents their journeys and partners with organizations to help ignite a multiplatform conversation around each title.  In addition to previously-announced Sickboy (April 6 premiere) and I Used to be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story (May 18 premiere), new Fuse Docs will include:
    • Don’t Be Nice (Directed by Max Powers; October 2019 premiere)
    • Killer in Our Classroom: Never Again (Produced by Minnow Films; 2019 TBD premiere)
  • T-Pain’s School of Business (Fuse; 8 x 30’ episodes, season two premieres July 16) – Previously renewed for a second season, this series features beloved hip-hop artist, comedic personality and business mogul T-Pain, as he explores innovative, unique and off-the-wall startups created by millennial entrepreneurs. As he gets a feel for each quirky and groundbreaking company (from a delicious $6 burger built and cooked entirely by a robot to temporary tattoos that tell you if you’re getting too much sun exposure) the entrepreneurs reveal how they got started and what it took to turn their ideas into reality. In each episode, T-Pain will dive head first into each business while testing out new products and getting answers to all our questions about how to start a business. Executive Produced by Jonas Bell Pasht, Jonah Bekhor, Rebecca Hertz, Jonny Shipes and T-Pain. Produced by Citizen Jones.
  • Future – History (Fuse, FM and Digital) – Fuse Media continues to celebrate rising talent who are making a significant impact now in music, film, sports, TV and literature in this year-round series of special cross-platform content. This includes Future Black History (February), Future Women’s History (March), Future Asian/Pacific History (May), Future LGBTQ History (June) and Future Hispanic History (mid-September to mid-October), with Fuse, FM, Fuse.tv and the Fuse social channels spotlighting those who are affecting our future and writing history with features and short-form video content. Future – History programming also includes a themed music block celebrating artists in each category.
  • Lie Detector (Fuse Digital) – A twisted take on a traditional interview format, Lie Detector straps celebrities into a polygraph and allows either their closest confidants (including: friends, family members, and managers) to interrogate them or sources the internet’s most pressing questions. With nowhere to hide, will guests like Lil XanRich Homie Quan (and his dad), and Fat Joe tell the truth or try to lie? This successful digital series has cumulated 25.2 million views and is produced by the Fuse Content Studio.
  • Mind Massage (Fuse Digital) – Inspired by the popular digital Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) community,Mind Massage is Fuse’s critically-acclaimed interview series, which uses an arsenal of sounds to trigger stories from celebrity guests and goosebumps from digital viewers. Mind Massage features some of today’s favorite hip-hop stars including Ally BrookeWiz Khalifa and Amara La Negra, as they discuss their careers, latest music releases, cultural roots and more. Produced by the Fuse Content Studio.
  • A Seat With… (Digital) – Fuse takes a seat with an artist to talk about their craft, passions and latest project. Recent guests have included Lauren JaureguiNe-Yo and Liam Payne. Produced by the Fuse Content Studio.

These series join the above-mentioned Complex x Fuse and The ALMAs in the 2019-20 lineup.

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