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YouTube debuts new slate of ‘#WithMe’ originals during coronavirus pandemic

With many staying at home and possibly out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YouTube is hoping to keep everyone entertained with a new slate of original programming. Rolling out over the next two months, YouTube is releasing new original shows, specials, and live events designed around its coronavirus “#WithMe” campaign.

YouTube originals have been rolling out for the past couple of years, but this latest slate is clearly focused on the coronavirus outbreak. Themes such as “stay at home” and quarantine are mentioned throughout show descriptions. For example, “The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast” will be a live event where the popular YouTuber challenges others on the platform to compete in games from their respective homes.

Another example is “Stay Home With: Yungblud.” The weekly series follows the singer/songwriter in a rental apartment where he’s quarantined with four friends. “Celebrity Substitute” is a “distance-learning” show which brings in celebrities such as Karlie Kloss and Ken Jeong to teach lessons about subjects such as coding and biology. The full list of shows includes:

  • Money Talks: Taxes — Available now
  • The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast — April 25th (LIVE 6pm ET)
  • Stay Home With: Yungblud — April 27th
  • #MoveWithMe — April 29th
  • Stream #WithMe (UK) — April 30th
  • Celebrity Substitute — May 7th
  • The Secret Life of Lele Pons — 5-part series, May 19th
  • Create Together #WithMe — May 2020 (working title)
  • BookTube — May 21st, June 2020
  • Locked Down — May 2020 (working title)
  • Untitled Juanpa and Luisito Project — May 2020

YouTube will be premiering these new shows starting this week and through June. In some cases, the shows will also raise money for COVID-19 relief. Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, said that this new content was produced “more quickly than I’ve ever done with a production slate in my career.” When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, YouTube had paused all production on original shows.

Variety details YouTube’s entire new coronavirus pandemic-inspired original lineup:

  • “The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast” (premieres April 25 at 6 p.m. ET): A global live event where MrBeast (real name: Jimmy Donaldson) challenges other YouTube stars to remotely go head-to-head in stay-at-home games where there can be only one winner. Produced by Night Media and Fly On the Wall.
  • “Stay Home With: Yungblud” (premieres April 27): Weekly episodic series follows Yungblud through a month at a rental apartment in L.A. along with four friends – his manager, videographer and two bandmates with whom he is quarantined. The series will encourage viewers to donate to support No Kid Hungry and is produced by Stick Figure Entertainment.
  • “#MoveWithMe” (premieres April 29): In celebration of International Dance Day, this special will feature choreographer Matt Steffanina as host, with dancers and choreographers from across the globe coming together to collaborate including LaurieAnn Gibson, WilldaBeast Adams, Chachi Gonzales, Kasia Jukowska, Vale Merino, Sonali Bhadauria, FitDance, Kaelynn KK Harris, Twist And Pulse, and D-trix. The special will encourage viewers to donate to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO and is produced by Den of Thieves.
  • “Stream #WithMe” (UK) – premieres April 30: Some of the U.K.’s top YouTube creators and stars let us in on how they are coping with the lockdown experience in a live-streaming celebration of solidarity. Viewers will be encouraged to donate to support NHS Charities Together and is made in partnership with Electric Robin (part of EndemolShine UK).
  • “Celebrity Substitute” (premieres May 7): Celebrities and educators come together in this distance-learning series. In each episode, a celebrity steps in to teach crucial high school lessons with real teachers. Examples include Karlie Kloss working through a coding problem and Ken Jeong giving a biology lesson. Produced by B17 Entertainment.
  • “The Secret Life of Lele Pons”: Five-part docuseries premieres May 19, promising a “raw and intimate” look into her lifelong struggles with Tourette syndrome and OCD. Produced by Shots Studios.
  • “Create Together #WithMe” (working title) – premieres May 2020: In this miniseries hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he invites friends and families from all over the world who are coping with isolation to showcase their creativity and collaboration. Each weekly episode will document the creative process as people find each other online and remotely collaborate on a variety of family friendly projects — short films, short documentaries, music videos, and more. Produced by Brian Graden Media and Gordon-Levitt’s HITRECORD.
  • “BookTube” Read With Me Special and Mental Health Episode (premieres May 21 and June 2020): YouTube’s monthly book club series is creating a special “Read With Me” episode featuring Melinda Gates, John Grisham, James Patterson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Nicholas Sparks, Elaine Welteroth, and more sharing their current book recommendations. Additionally, the June 2020 episode of “BookTube” will feature authors Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General (author of “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World”), Lori Gottlieb (author of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”) and Haemin Sunim (author of “The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down”) discussing anxiety, mental health, and advice for self care during these uncertain times. “BookTube” is produced by Boardwalk Pictures.
  • “Locked Down” (working title) – premieres May 2020: Scripted event series follows a group of bored teens working together online to solve a mystery involving one of their neighbors — shot entirely via webcam and smartphone. The story unfolds almost in real-time as the friends work to solve the mystery, while also exploring their own anxieties and frustrations about life during a pandemic. Created and produced by Toronto-based Sinking Ship Entertainment (“Dino Dana,” “Endlings,” “Odd Squad”).
  • Untitled Juanpa and Luisito Project – premieres May 2020: Top Latin American YouTube creators Juanpa Zurita (10.2 million subscribers) and Luisito Communica (30.6 million subscribers) come together for the first time to document the COVID-19 quarantine by sharing personal stories from around the globe, including YouTube creators, health specialists, and everyday people. Produced by DW Entertainment & Media.
  • “Money Talks: Taxes” (streaming now): A roundtable of leading female financial experts provide answers to the questions surrounding personal finances; the first series of videos covers questions about filing taxes and COVID-19 stimulus checks. Produced by Vice Media Group’s Refinery29.

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