Quibi announces it is going out of business 6 months after launch

October 21, 2020

by Carla Hay

Just six months after it was launched, Quibi, the short-form streaming service whose name was short for “quick bites,” has announced that it’s shutting down. Quibi had a reported $1.75 billion in investment capital; the leadership of DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman; and a plethora of content from celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon and LeBron James. However, it seems as if Quibi was doomed to fail for several reasons, even before its launch on April 6, 2020.

Katzenberg and Whitman announced Quibi’s permanent closure in an apologetic open letter on Medium on October 21, 2020. The letter read, in part: “Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of it more than we did. Our failure was not for lack of trying; we’ve considered and exhausted every option available to us … As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace.” The letter also stated that Quibi will be “looking to sell its content and technology assets.”

Quibi’s U.S. subscription rate was $4.99 per month with ads or $7.99 per month without ads. Quibi did not offer annual subscriptions. For a limited time, up until the day of the launch, Quibi offered a three-month free trial to customers. After the launch, the free trial was shortened to seven days. Perhaps out of desperation over its failure to meet subscription expectations, Quibi then extended the free trial to two weeks and then back to three months for new subscribers to the service. And a few weeks before Quibi’s shutdown, Quibi had been tested as an ad-supported service with no subscription fees in Australia, in a business model that never came to fruition in other countries.

Quibi aimed to set itself apart from other streaming services in four ways: Quibi’s content was delivered (1) in segments of 10 minutes or less; (2) on mobile devices only; (3) as original content only; and (4) in either portrait (vertically) or landscape (horizontal) format, with viewers being able to switch back and forth by moving the device to whichever format the viewer wanted, which is also known as turnstyle technology. Quibi was being sued by tech company Eko, which claims that Quibi stole trade secrets for this turnstyle technology. As of this writing, the lawsuit is still pending, although the outcome of the lawsuit will certainly be affected now that Quibi is longer in business. Quibi’s last official day of operations is December 1, 2020

The mobile-only aspect of Quibi’s service was the most controversial, since many customers complained that they wanted the option to watch Quibi content on desktop computers or on regular TV sets. After getting a lot of criticism for the mobile-only format, Quibi announced a few weeks after its launch that it would make its content available to watch on larger screens. However, this announcement was too little, too late. Furthermore, numerous Quibi customers complained about not being able to take screenshots of Quibi content to share with other people.

Although Quibi launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic cannot be completely blamed for the failure of Quibi. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide shutdowns in March 2020, Quibi was not getting a lot of audience buzz for its content. In addition, Quibi was targeting millennials (people born between 1980–2000) for its main base of subscribers, and it’s a demographic that is used to getting free online content as much as possible. Quibi’s short content made it look too much like YouTube, whose content is almost entirely free, thereby making Quibi a hard sell to potential subscribers.

The content on Quibi had a lot of star power, but got mixed-to-negative reviews overall from audiences and critics. Among the more high-profile shows on Quibi were “Chrissy’s Court,” starring supermodel Chrissy Teigen as a “judge” on a courtroom reality show; “Nikki Fre$h,” a comedic satire series starring Nicole Richie as the title character, a new-age wannabe rapper; and a reboot of the MTV prank reality series “Punk’d,” hosted by Chance the Rapper. There were some Quibi shows that were critically acclaimed, but most of Quibi’s content got a lukewarm-to-bad reactions from audiences and critics. None of Quibi’s shows became a breakout hit in pop culture.

In addition, Quibi had original movies, but because they were delivered in short segments, they ended up looking like limited series. Quibi’s movies included the action thriller “Most Dangerous Game,” starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz; the drama “Survive,” starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins; and the comedy “Flipped,” starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson.

Lopez executive produced and appeared in one episode of the reality show “Thanks a Million,” which featured a different celebrity giving away $1 million in each episode. Witherspoon executive produced and narrated the animal docuseries “Fierce Queens,” which spotlighted female wild creatures. Basketball superstar James executive produced the docuseries “I Promise,” about his I Promise school, an elementary public school that he founded in 2018, in Akron, Ohio.

One of the few bright spots in Quibi’s short existence was that Quibi won two Primetime Emmys, both for the drama series “#FreeRayshawn.”  The series won Best Actor in a Short-Form Drama or Comedy Series (for Laurence Fishburne) and Best Actress in a Short-Form Drama or Comedy Series (for Jasmine Cephas-Jones).

Katzenberg and Whitman concluded their open letter by saying: “All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down. We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

Review: ‘The Stranger’ (Quibi), starring Maika Monroe, Dane DeHaan and Avan Jogia

April 30, 2020

by Carla Hay

Dane DeHaan and Maika Monroe in “The Stranger” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

“The Stranger”

Directed by Veena Sud

Culture Representation: Taking place in Los Angeles, the crime drama “The Stranger” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with some Latinos and Asians) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A woman who’s a ride-share driver picks up a very dangerous passenger who stalks her and tries to frame her for murder.

Culture Audience: “The Stranger” will appeal primarily to people who like convoluted crime dramas and don’t expect the story to be very believable.

Maika Monroe and Avan Jogia in “The Stranger” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

The streaming service Quibi (which launched on April 6, 2020) has set itself apart from its competitors by offering only original content, and each piece of content is 10 minutes or less. Therefore, content that Quibi has labeled a “movie” actually seems more like a limited series, since Quibi will only make the “movie” available in “chapters” that look like episodes.

One of the original movies that Quibi debuted on April 13, 2020,  is “The Stranger,” a thriller about a Los Angeles female ride-share driver being stalked by a mysterious young man who seems intent on framing her for murders that are being committed in the city. Unfortunately for Quibi’s “The Stranger,” it arrives just after the January 2020 premiere of Netflix’s original series “The Stranger,” which is about a stranger who arrives in a suburb and starts exposing scandalous secrets about the residents. It’s one of the reasons why entertainment creators need to come up with more original titles.

Quibi’s “The Stranger” (written and directed by Veena Sud) takes place in a 12-hour period (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) in the life of a young woman named Clare Johnson (played by Maika Monroe), who works as a ride-share driver for a company called Orbit. One evening, Clare picks up a young male passenger named Charlie E. (played by Dane DeHaan) at a Hollywood Hills mansion for a trip to the airport.

Charlie has only a duffel bag as his luggage, and he immediately asks if he can sit in the front of the car with Clare. Sensing her hesitation, Charlie offers to sit in the back if it would make her more comfortable. Not wanting to alienate this presumably wealthy passenger, Clare says in a friendly manner that it’s no problem for Charlie to sit in the front.

While they’re driving to the airport, Charlie finds out that Clare is so new to Los Angeles that she’s surprised that their trip to the airport will take about 45 minutes. She tells Charlie that she recently moved to L.A. from Kansas to become a screenwriter. In the meantime, Clare has become an Orbit driver to pay the bills.

Charlie quickly becomes flirtatious with Clare. When he sees that she has some mustard on the side of her mouth, he gently wipes some of it off. Clare sheepishly admits that the mustard is from a veggie burger that she had eaten because she didn’t have time for a full dinner. Charlie then says that he doesn’t feel like going to the airport after all, and he would rather have dinner with her instead.

He starts to insist that they have dinner together. Clare then mentions the mansion where Charlie came from as a way to deflect his advances, and he tells her nonchalantly that he doesn’t live there. When she asks him if his parents live there, he tells her no.

The conversation takes a very dark turn when Charlie tells her with an evil smirk that he actually doesn’t know the house owners because he randomly went to house and killed the entire family (a mother, a father and their daughters) who lived there, by shooting and stabbing them. He then shows her the knife that he says he used for the stabbings.

A terrified Clare is now a hostage to this demented person as the car heads down the hills. Because Charlie knows that Clare is an aspiring screenwriter, he demands that Clare tell him a story while she’s driving, and he says he’ll kill her if he doesn’t like the story. Rather than remain a hostage, Clare decides to crash her car in a nearby signpost. Charlie is thrown out of the car by the impact, and Clare speeds off to get help.

Clare calls 911, describes what happened, and she tells the operator that she’s frightened that this deranged passenger will still come after her. Clare stops at a parking lot of a convenience store, because the 911 operator tells her that police officers will meet her there. When the two police officers arrive, they tell her that the occupants of the mansion are two senior citizens who alive and well, that no one reported any disturbances in the area, and that no one fitting Charlie’s description was seen in the area.

Clare, who is shocked by this information, tells the cops that Charlie mentioned having a gun, so she asks them to check the duffel bag that he left in the back of her car. But when the officers inspect the back of the car, they see the duffel bag (which doesn’t have a gun) and a life-sized female blow-up sex doll outside the duffel bag.

That’s the first sign that “The Stranger” is going to have some ridiculous twists. Clare and Charlie were in the front seat the entire time that they were in the car together. How did the doll get outside the duffel bag in the back seat? How did the blow-up doll get inflated? None of that is ever explained in “The Stranger.”

Clare insists that she’s telling the truth and offers to show the cops the text messages that she exchanged with Charlie before she picked him up, as well as the reservation that he made. But when she goes to look for that information on her phone, she finds that every trace of Charlie has mysteriously disappeared from her phone. It never occurs to Clare to have Orbit confirm the record of the reservation and Charlie’s Orbit account. It’s one of many obvious plot holes that “The Stranger” has.

The two police officers who take Clare’s report are very irritated with her because they think she’s playing some kind of prank. They tell Clare that they’re not going to charge her with filing a false police report, but warn her that if they catch her doing anything else that’s illegal, she will be arrested.

A confused and now angry Clare starts to throw away the blow-up doll and the duffel bag (wait, isn’t that evidence?) in a garbage dump at the side of the convenience store. But then, a store employee rushes out and tries to stop Clare.

The employee’s name is Jay, nicknamed JJ (played by Avan Jogia), and he nervously tells Clare that she can’t throw away anything weird there because his boss frequently checks the garbage dump to look for anything suspicious that could get the convenience store in trouble. (Really? Who does that?) Clare explains that she’s had a rough night, so JJ takes pity on her and lets her throw away the blow-up doll and the duffel bag.

But Clare’s night is about to get worse. When she gets home to her apartment, she calls Orbit to report what happened to her and finds out that her account has been suspended, pending an investigation into a customer complaint that Clare pulled a knife on the customer. Clare is furious and tells the person she’s speaking to on the phone that the customer is lying and that he was the one who pulled the knife on her.

Again, it never occurs to Claire to find out the real identity of the customer who filed the complaint, since Orbit has the record of the reservation and the customer’s contact info. But with no police report to back her up, it’s a “he said/she said” situation, and Clare is now out of a job at Orbit.

Clare feeds her small terrier dog Pebbles, who starts to growl, as if someone else is in the apartment. Sure enough, it’s Charlie, who chases a terrified Clare with an apparent intent to kill her. Clare picks up Pebbles, races out of the apartment with the dog, and Clare barely manages to escape in the elevator before the elevator door closes so that Charlie can’t get to her.

After narrowly escaping from Charlie, Clare gets in her car and drives to a local church. Clare calls her mother in the church bathroom and tells her everything that’s happened. Her mother pauses and sounds skeptical. That’s when it’s revealed that Clare has a history of fabricating stories and false accusations. Her mother wonders if Clare is having another one of these episodes.

Is Charlie real or is this all a figment of Clare’s imagination? That answer is eventually revealed, but the rest “The Stranger” is a cat-and-mouse chase between Charlie and Clare. While Clare is alone in the church’s ladies room, someone has plunged a bloody knife into the restroom’s front door.

Like an idiot, Clare takes the knife, only to find out that a street vendor outside the church has just been stabbed to death. She walks out with the knife, in full view of several witnesses, who (not surprisingly) think that Clare is the one who committed the murder. Clare panics and speeds off in her car.

Where does she go next? To the convenience store to get JJ’s help. She tells him what’s been happening to her and that Charlie (whoever he is) has decided to stalk her and ruin her life. JJ is skeptical until something something weird happens while they’re at the store: The security cameras at the store are suddenly showing the inside of JJ’s home.

In order to believe what’s going on in “The Stranger,” you’d have to believe that Charlie is able to predict Clare’s every move and he’s been able to elude the untold number of security cameras that are in a  big city like Los Angeles. And the whole story is based on the shaky, far-fetched premise that a ride-share passenger like Charlie is untraceable, when ride-share companies require identity verification of the passengers making reservations.

There’s also a ludicrous scene where JJ and Clare are driving in JJ’s car somewhere at night. JJ gets stopped by a police officer, the police officer ends up dead, and JJ and Clare come up with a scatter-brained idea to run off to Mexico out of fear of being blamed for the cop’s death. JJ and Clare decide to take a train to El Paso, Texas, because the train will then head to Mexico.

Bizarrely, JJ and Clare are the only passengers on the train, until Charlie shows up and chases them on this empty train and shoots at them. JJ and Clare run away and jump onto the train tracks to escape. Is this a delusional hallucination or is this supposed to be real? All is explained at the end of “The Stranger,” but it’s a far-fetched and poorly conceived explanation.

During the frantic quest “to get to the truth,” Clare holds on to Pebbles like Dorothy holds on to Toto in “The Wizard of Oz.” But “The Stranger” is so badly edited that there are times, such as during a chase scene in the train tunnel, when the dog is nowhere in sight (because Clare dropped the dog somewhere miles away), but then a later scene shows Clare holding the dog again when she wouldn’t have had time to retrieve the dog.

There’s nothing special about any of the acting in “The Stranger.” DeHaan’s Charlie character is a very two-dimensional villain, while Monroe is stuck playing a character who makes so many dumb decisions that it’s hard to feel much sympathy for Clare. Jovia makes the most out of playing JJ, who is the most well-rounded character (he also has the funniest lines), but there’s a plot development involving JJ that is so moronic that it’s a big sign of how the rest of the story goes downhill.

“The Stranger” had an interesting, although not entirely original, concept that is ruined by substandard screenwriting and sloppy editing. It’s a letdown, considering that “The Stranger” writer/director Sud has done better work before. (She was a writer/executive producer for the crime-drama TV series “The Killing” and “Cold Case.”)

How many times have there been mystery thrillers where the plot is about a murder suspect who claims to be innocent? How many crime dramas have there been about a woman being mercilessly stalked? (A “stalker drama” describes about half of all Lifetime movies.) You can add Quibi’s “The Stranger” to the list of these unoriginal ideas, but file this show under the category of “disappointing” and “forgettable.”

Quibi premiered the first three chapters of the 13-chapter “The Stranger” on April 13, 2020.

 

Review: ‘Most Dangerous Game,’ starring Liam Hemsworth, Sarah Gadon and Christoph Waltz

April 22, 2020

by Carla Hay

Liam Hemsworth in “Most Dangerous Game” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

“Most Dangerous Game”

Directed by Phil Abraham

Culture Representation: Taking place in Detroit, the action drama “Most Dangerous Game” features a predominantly white cast (with some black people, Asians and Latinos) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A financially desperate man, who’s been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, agrees to participate in a game in which he will be hunted by anonymous people who intend to kill him, but if he’s still alive at the end of the game, he will win $24.5 million.

Culture Audience: “Most Dangerous Game” will appeal primarily to people who like crime dramas where the action is more important than a well-written screenplay.

Christoph Waltz in “Most Dangerous Game” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

The streaming service Quibi (which launched on April 6, 2020) has set itself apart from its competitors by offering only original content, and each piece of content is 10 minutes or less. Therefore, content that Quibi has labeled a “movie” actually seems more like a limited series, since Quibi will only make the “movie” available in “chapters” that look like episodes. The suspenseful drama “Most Dangerous Game” is one of Quibi’s flagship movies that began streaming on the service on Quibi’s launch date.

The title of “Most Dangerous Game” is no doubt inspired by the 1932 film “The Most Dangerous Game” (starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray), because both have the same concept—people hunting and killing other human beings for sport. In Quibi’s action-filled schlockfest “Most Dangerous Game,” Douglas “Dodge” Tynes  (played by Liam Hemsworth) is the hunting game’s target who agrees to participate in the game out of financial desperation.

Dodge is a real-estate developer in Detroit who’s drowning in debt and is very close to being financially ruined. The main cause of his financial woes is a bad investment that he made by purchasing a run-down, high-rise office building that he hasn’t been able to sell. The building is in such terrible shape that Dodge hasn’t been able to attract tenants, and he doesn’t have the money to make improvements to the building.

Adding to Dodge’s financial pressure: His wife Val (played by Sarah Gadon) is pregnant with their first child. Dodge is such a loving and devoted husband that he serves Val breakfast in bed every morning. But he does keep some secrets from her.

Dodge has been experiencing painful headaches. One day, he’s walking outside when he’s overcome with pain and collapses on a sidewalk. He’s taken to a hospital, where the doctors tell Dodge that he has terminal brain cancer, and the tumor in his brain is inoperable. As he leaves the hospital in despair, a hospital orderly gives him a business card for a company called Tiro Fund. The orderly tells Dodge that the company can help patients like Dodge.

When Dodge tells Val the news about his diagnosis, she’s also understandably devastated. Dodge then confesses to her that he doesn’t have health insurance or life insurance, because he sold his insurance to help pay off some of his business expenses. Dodge’s parents are dead, Val’s parents are broke, and they have no one to turn to for financial assistance.

Is it any wonder that Dodge contacts Tiro Fund to find out what the company can do to help him? The first meeting that Dodge has with Tiro Fund chief Miles Sellars (played by Christoph Waltz, in yet another villain role) is actually shown at the beginning of “Most Dangerous Game,” before a flashback reveals how Dodge ended up becoming a part of this homicidal hunting game.

While meeting in a sleek, ominous-looking office at night, Miles calmly tells Dodge that he can become a multimillionaire if he plays the game right. Every hour that Dodge stays alive during the game, he earns a certain amount of money, and the hourly rate increases every time that he reaches a certain level in the game. If Dodge is still alive at the end of the game, he can win a total of $24.5 million. All of the money will be deposited in a secret offshore account in Dodge’s name that Dodge can monitor to verify that the deposits are being made on an hourly basis.

According to Miles, the hunters in the game are “elite, wealthy clientele,” who “hunt to kill” and who “want desperate humans” to hunt. Dodge won’t know what these hunters look like (they can be any race or gender) until the hunters reveal themselves to him when they attack. Dodge won’t know in advance how many of them will be hunting him. They can ambush Dodge, and it’s also possible that more than one hunter will go after him at the same time.

There are certain rules to the game: The hunters can use any weapons except guns while trying to kill Dodge. Dodge cannot leave Detroit city limits or else the hunt can go on for as long as he’s alive. And (not surprisingly) Dodge can’t tell anyone about this game.

Miles convinces Dodge that even if Dodge dies during the game, Dodge can still make enough money to financially take care of Val and their unborn child for several years. And all of that is enough to convince a desperate Dodge to agree to participate in the game, although he doesn’t come to that decision right away. He decides to go through it after a sought-after “last chance” business investor rejects Dodge’s proposal to invest in Dodge’s debt-ridden dud building.

The rest of “Most Dangerous Game” is basically a series of chases and violent attacks—some more believable than others. Dodge just happens to have a background as a star athlete—he was a prize-winning runner when he was in school—so it explains why he has much higher stamina in the chase scenes than a regular guy would have. But even with this athletic prowess, it’s a bit of a stretch to see Dodge do the type of stunts that he does in “Most Dangerous Game,” which clearly wants people to be wowed by the action and ignore all the problems in the screenplay.

“Most Dangerous Game” (written by Nick Santora and directed by Phil Abraham) is strictly B-movie material. The hunters who go after Dodge each has an alias that’s the name of a former U.S. president. The other hunters who try to kill Dodge are nicknamed Nixon, Reagan, Carter and LBJ. The less you know about what they look like in advance, the better the surprises are when they reveal themselves to Dodge.

However, one of the dumbest aspects about “Most Dangerous Game” is that the hunters, who are supposed to be “anonymous,” do nothing to disguise their faces when they attack Dodge in public (which is where they usually go after him), sometimes in crowded areas. And in a big city like Detroit, there are plenty of security cameras around, which is something the “Most Dangerous Game” creators want viewers to forget during the big fight scenes.

Some of the dialogue is so bad that it’s laughable. For example, in one scene, the hunter nicknamed Carter tells Dodge in the middle of a fight that he named himself after Jimmy Carter because “I like his work with Habitat for Humanity.” It’s actually one of the funnier lines in “Most Dangerous Game.” And the tone of the acting in “Most Dangerous Game” is uneven. Hemsworth acts like this is a serious drama, while Waltz seems to understand how cheesy this story is and injects some campy humor in his acting.

While the appropriately nicknamed Dodge is running around town, trying not to get killed, Val begins to notice large amounts of money being deposited to Dodge’s bank account. Wasn’t the money supposed to go into a secret offshore account? “”Most Dangerous Game” has too many inconsistences and plot holes to mention.

Val enlists Dodge’s best friend Looger (played by Zach Cherry), who’s a bar owner, to help her find out what’s going on, because at this point she’s figured out that Dodge (who hasn’t come home) is in deep trouble and involved in something illegal. Val and Looger foolishly go to the bank branch where Dodge has the account and to try to discover who’s behind the mystery deposits, but Val and Looger only end up looking suspicious themselves. Looger and Val leave the bank in a hurry when the desk worker they’ve been speaking to offers to get the manager for them.

What happened to the idea that the money was supposed to go to a secret offshore account? That plot hole is never explained. As the Val character, Gadon doesn’t have much in-depth acting to do in “Most Dangerous Game,” since she’s playing a typical “worried wife” role that has become a predictable stereotype for male-oriented action stories. Looger is also very loyal to Dodge, but he’s another supporting character that doesn’t have much depth.

Miles has a creepy henchman named Connell (played by Aaron Poole), who “conveniently” shows up at the hunters’ crime scenes to clean up messes and get rid of evidence, so that the game can stay “secret.” Meanwhile, Tiro Fund headquarters is decked out with a lot of hi-tech computer equipment that tracks Dodge’s whereabouts at all times (such as showing which streets he’s on), regardless if he’s in a car, on a bus, on a train, on a ship or on foot.

It’s never explained how they’re able to keep track of Dodge in such an extremely precise way, since he does not have his phone with him at all times. But many things in “Most Dangerous Game” are illogical, including the ludicrous twist at the end. “Most Dangerous Game” has some unintentional laughs because there are so many badly written parts of the story. If you don’t care about a good screenplay and just want to see Hemsworth in a lot of scenes involving chases and fights, then this type of mindless entertainment might be for you.

Quibi premiered the first three chapters of the 15-chapter “Most Dangerous Game” on April 6, 2020.

Review: ‘Flipped’ (2020), starring Kaitlin Olson and Will Forte

April 16, 2020

by Carla Hay

Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson in “Flipped” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

“Flipped” (2020)

Directed by Ryan Case

Culture Representation: Taking place in California and Mexico, the satirical comedy “Flipped” has a racially diverse cast (white, Latino and a few African Americans) portraying the middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A husband and wife who aspire to host their own home-renovation show end up being forced to work for members of a Mexican drug cartel.

Culture Audience: “Flipped” will appeal primarily to fans of stars Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson, but the premise of the comedy wears thin about halfway through the story.

Kaitlin Olson and Will Forte in “Flipped” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

The streaming service Quibi (which launched on April 6, 2020) has set itself apart from its competitors by offering only original content, and each piece of content is 10 minutes or less. Therefore, content that Quibi has labeled a “movie” actually seems more like a limited series, since Quibi will only make the “movie” available in “chapters” that look like episodes. The satirical comedy “Flipped” is one of Quibi’s flagship movies that began streaming on the service on Quibi’s launch date.

“Flipped” takes a concept that’s ripe for parody and wastes it with a dumbed-down crime caper that becomes repetitive and runs out of creative steam long before the story ends. Funny Or Die is one of the production companies for “Flipped,” which was directed by Ryan Case and written by Damon Jones and Steve Mallory. Despite some occasional laugh-out-loud comedic scenes and good efforts from the “Flipped” actors, they’re not enough to make up for the overall mediocrity of the screenwriting.

The married couple at the center of “Flipped” are Cricket Melfi (played by Kaitlin Olson) and Jann Melfi (played by Will Forte), two frequently unemployed, bitter and delusional people who consider themselves to be smarter and better than the “common people” they have to interact with in the real world. Cricket and Jann (who live somewhere in the Los Angeles area) also have a lot of resentment toward people who are more financially successful than they are. Cricket and Jann think that most rich people get financial success through luck or dishonesty, not intelligence or talent.

The irony is that Cricket and Jann have none of the intelligence or talent that they think they have. In the beginning of the story, Cricket has been fired from her job as a sales clerk at a Home Depot-style retail store called Fair & Square Her supervisor tells Cricket that too many customers have complained about Cricket for being abrasive and rude. Cricket responds to being fired by smashing several store mirrors on the ground.

Around the same time, Jann also gets axed from his job as a theater director of a middle school. Jann wants to stage a school musical called “Children of the Fire,” which is based on a true story of 12-and-13-year-old children who died in a fire in the local area. The musical is obviously a terrible idea, but Jann can’t understand why school officials and parents want him fired over it.

While simmering with anger and self-pity at home, Cricket and Jann (who are having problems paying their bills) commiserate with each other on their living room couch about how they think they’re underappreciated in the world. Cricket says, “Is this our life now? Are we destined to be two people with vision living amongst the blind?” Jann adds, “I think people are intimidated by us because we’re ahead of our time.”

As they’re watching TV together, Jann and Cricket jeer at a home-improvement show called “Pros & Connellys,” starring a cheerful married couple Chazz and Tiffany Connelly (played by real-life married couple Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn), who do tasteful but bland renovations of middle-class houses. “Pros & Connellys,” which is on a network called HRTV (Home Renovation TV), is “Flipped’s” obvious spoof of the real-life Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer Upper” show on HGTV.

While watching “Pros & Connellys” with contempt, Jann and Cricket tell themselves that Chazz and Tiffany are mediocre hacks. And lo and behold, there’s an announcement on the show that HRTV is looking to cast a new home-renovation show starring a married couple who could be the next Chazz and Tiffany Connelly. The auditions are open to the public and the winners will get to star in the new show. Jann and Cricket immediately decide that they’re the ones who deserve to win the contest.

With nothing to lose, Jann and Cricket buy a “fixer-upper” desert property for a very low price: $3,400. But there was a catch in the deal: Jann and Cricket bought the property sight unseen. And when they drive out to see the property for the first time, of course it’s a dirty and broken-down dump.

But the delusional Jann and Cricket think the house has a lot of potential for their tacky tastes. As they break down some walls, they come across a shocking discovery hidden in one of the walls: a large pile of cash totaling $500,000. Cricket and Jann can’t believe their luck. Or is it luck of they make the wrong decision on what to do with the money?

Instead of turning the money over to authorities, Jann and Cricket keep the cash and spend it all on redoing the house with trashy and gaudy decorations (including plastic pink flamingoes on the front lawn) and hiring a TV crew to film their HRTV audition video. But, of course, stealing that amount of hidden cash means that whoever owns the cash will eventually come looking for it. And, of course, chances are that whoever hid that cash is probably involved with something illegal.

Sure enough, three members of a Mexican drug cartel show up to retrieve the money, and they menace Jann and Cricket when they find out that the dimwitted couple spent it all. The leader of this trio of enforcers is named Diego (played by Arturo Castro), who reluctantly lets Jann and Cricket talk him into watching their HRTV audition video to get his feedback.

He actually likes what he sees, but Diego and his henchmen still kidnap Jann and Cricket to take them to Mexico and murder them. Just as Jann and Cricket are about to be killed and buried in their already-dug graves, Diego announces that he’s changed his mind. He tells Cricket and Jann that he’ll let them live if they “pay back” the amount of the stolen cash by doing free renovations for his home.

Diego is so pleased with the renovations that he recommends Jann and Cricket for home renovations to other members of the drug cartel. Among these “clients” are Diego’s boss Rumualdo (played by Andy Garcia) and Rumualdo’s  wife Fidelia (played by Eva Longoria), who live in a lavish mansion. And that’s what happens during the most of the story.

How long will Cricket and Jann be stuck in Mexico paying off their debt? And will they be able to submit their HRTV audition video in time? Those questions are answered in “Flipped,” which goes downhill about halfway through the story when the “fish out of water” concept starts to wear very thin. There’s a cringeworthy scene of Rumualdo and Jann singing a cover version of Sonny Curtis’ “Love Is All Around” (also known as the theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) at the quinceañera of Rumualdo and Fidelia’s daughter.

Castro’s comedic performance as Diego is actually one of the best things about “Flipped,” but he doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as he deserves. Diego comes across as a tough guy, but then he’ll make off-the-cuff remarks that reveal another side to him, such as when he laments that people don’t show enough respect to Pottery Barn.

Forte has made a career out of playing tone-deaf dolts, so there’s nothing really new that he does here as Jann. Olson’s Cricket character (who’s the more dominant and aggressive partner in the marriage) has some standout comedic moments, but she becomes more of a shrieking shrew as the story keeps going.

Garcia and Longoria have characters that are written in a very hollow and generic way, so ultimately their talents are underused in “Flipped.” And some people might be offended that “Flipped” panders to negative stereotypes of Mexicans as drug dealers. (Almost all of the Latino people cast in “Flipped” are criminals or connected in some way to the illegal drug trade.) But regardless of the race or ethnicity of the criminals in the story, “Flipped”  comes across as an idea that should have been a 15-minute skit instead stretched into an 80-minute comedy that wears out its welcome.

Quibi premiered the first three chapters of the 11-chapter “Flipped” on April 6, 2020.

Review: ‘Survive,’ starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins

April 14, 2020

by Carla Hay

Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins in “Survive” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

“Survive”

Directed by Mark Pellington

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed remote mountain area (and briefly in Oregon), the plane-crash drama “Survive” features a predominantly white cast with some African Americans representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A pessimistic woman and an optimistic man struggle to survive and find help in a remote mountain area after they become the only survivors of a plane crash.

Culture Audience: “Survive” will appeal primarily to fans of actress Sophie Turner (a former star of “Game of Thrones”) and tearjerking, suspenseful disaster dramas.

Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins in “Survive” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

The streaming service Quibi (which launched on April 6, 2020) has set itself apart from its competitors by offering only original content, and each piece of content is 10 minutes or less. Therefore, content that Quibi has labeled a “movie” actually seems more like a limited series, since Quibi will only make the “movie” available in “chapters” that look like episodes. The compelling drama “Survive” is one of Quibi’s flagship movies that began streaming on the service on Quibi’s launch date.

“Survive” takes a simple concept—two plane-crash survivors (a man and woman with seemingly opposite personalities) try to find their way out of a remote mountain area—and turns it into a suspenseful thriller and a poignant love story at the same time. Although “Survive” might draw comparisons to the 2017 Kate Winslet/Idris Elba film “The Mountain Between Us,” which had the same concept, “Survive” is more emotionally genuine and more artistically filmed than “The Mountain Between Us.” It’s a shame that “Survive” won’t be released in theaters like “The Mountain Between Us” was, because some of the scenes in “Survive” are worthy of the biggest screen possible.

Directed by Mark Pellington and written by Richard Abate and Jeremy Ungar, “Survive” begins with female protagonist Jane (played by Sophie Turner) about to be discharged from her stay at a mental-health facility for young people (ages 14 to 22) called Life House, which is located in the woods somewhere in northern Oregon. Jane has a history of suicidal thoughts and cutting herself. She’s also haunted by the fact that suicide is not uncommon in her family. Jane’s father (played  by Jo Stone-Fewings, in flashback scenes) committed suicide when she was about 7 years old, by shooting himself while she was in the next room.

Jane is still angry about the way her father died, and she’s also struggling with feelings of guilt and self-hatred over her father’s suicide. Although Jane has a very loving and supportive mother (played by Caroline Goodall), Jane tells her mother that she feels like a loser. Needless to say, Jane has a very pessimistic and cynical attitude about life.

One of the last things that Jane does before she checks out of Life House is steal a lot of medication from the facility’s pharmacy. (Jane was able to get the security code to unlock the large glass cabinet containing all the drugs.) She plans to overdose on the drugs in the bathroom of the plane that she’s taking back home to New Jersey.

While in the airport seating area, waiting to board the plane, Jane strikes up a conversation with a friendly man named Paul (played by Corey Hawkins), who is on the same flight. At first Jane is a little stand-offish to Paul, but she eventually warms up to him a little bit. He’s eating a frosted snack and she nicely tells him that he’s got some frosting on the side of his mouth. They have a laugh over it.

When they board the plane—surprise, surprise—Jane and Paul find out that they are seated right next to each other. Paul has no idea that Jane is planning to commit suicide in the airplane’s bathroom. While Jane is in the bathroom, laying out all the pills and capsules that she plans to take for the overdose, the plane suddenly goes into emergency mode and ends up crashing in a snow-covered mountain area.

Jane and Paul are only slightly injured but discover to their horror that they are the only survivors of the plane crash, and they have no idea where they are. Paul thinks it’s best to try to find help (there’s no cell phone service in this area), but Jane refuses and tells Paul that she’d rather stay in whatever is left of the plane.

Paul tells Jane that people don’t know where they are and that Jane will probably die if she stays there, because it’s very likely that snow coming down the hilly embankment could bury her. Jane stubbornly tells Paul that she doesn’t care about dying and yells at him to go ahead without her. As Paul starts to walk away, Jane changes her mind and decides to go with Paul in their quest to find help.

The rest of the story chronicles Jane and Paul’s nightmarish fight for survival. There are the expected tropes that disaster movies have where people are trapped on a snowy mountain with no food and only the clothes on their backs: The torturous treks through the snow, the near-death experiences on cliffs, the scary encounters with wild animals.

During this ordeal, Jane and Paul naturally get closer to each other. Paul opens up to Jane about the emotional scars he has from his mother’s death. Just like Jane lost her father at a young age, so too did Paul lose his mother before he became a teenager. Paul later confesses to Jane that he was attracted to Jane the minute he saw her.

One of the best things about “Survive” is the cinematography from David Devlin. There are some truly majestic views as well as terrifying shots of this remote mountain area. Turner and Hawkins are utterly believable in their roles and do an excellent job of portraying the life-or-death journey of these two strangers who end up relying on and trusting each other in ways that they didn’t expect. The emotional connection that Paul and Jane have will keep viewers hooked as much as the question of whether or not they’re going to survive being trapped on this mountain.

The weakest aspect of “Survivor” is that it could have used more realism in showing how the harsh, subzero weather would have had an effect on Paul and Jane. Because they are not dressed in clothes that can withstand this type of weather over a long period of time, Paul and Jane definitely would’ve had hypothermia at some point.

And there’s no indication of what kind of food they were eating. In the middle of a snowy forest, there’s no fruit growing on trees. And there are no scenes of Paul and Jane being able to get any animals to eat. Paul and Jane are trapped on the mountain for several days, but they don’t show any signs of starvation. However, some injuries do occur, which are portrayed realistically.

Despite the flaws in “Survivor” that overlook showing realistic effects of starvation and long-term exposure to freezing temperatures, the story has a life-affirming message that will emotionally touch people and probably bring tears to some people’s eyes. “Survivor” also shows that trusting someone with your heart is all the more meaningful if you love yourself too.

Quibi premiered the first three chapters of the 12-chapter “Survive” on April 6, 2020.

 

Review: ‘When the Streetlights Go On,’ starring Chosen Jacobs, Sophie Thatcher, Sam Strike and Queen Latifah

April 13, 2020

by Carla Hay

Sophie Thatcher and Chosen Jacobs in “When the Streetlights Go On” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

“When the Streetlights Go On”

Directed by Rebecca Thomas and Brett Morgen

Culture Representation: Taking place in Colfax, Illinois, the mystery drama “When the Streetlights Go On” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with some African Americans, Latinos and Asians) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: An African American man tells the story of the year he was 15, when two sisters from his high school were murdered within six months of each other.

Culture Audience: “When the Streetlights Go On” will appeal to people who like “mature audience”-level stories about teenagers and don’t mind if the stories have a lot of formulaic clichés.

Sam Strike and Sophie Thatcher in “When the Streetlights Go On” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

The streaming service Quibi (which launched on April 6, 2020) has set itself apart from its competitors by offering only original content, and each piece of content is 10 minutes or less. Therefore, content that Quibi has labeled a “movie” actually seems more like a limited series, since Quibi will only make the “movie” available in installments that look like episodes. One of the original movies that was part of Quibi’s launch is “When the Streetlights Go On,” a mystery drama about a man who tells the story about what happened in the year that he was 15 years old, when two sisters from a prominent family were murdered within six months of each other, beginning in the summer of 1995.

“When the Streetlights Go On” is narrated by a man named Charlie Chambers, but the entire story is told as a flashback to 1995, in the suburb of Colfax, Illinois, which was devastated by the murders of Chrissy Monroe (played by Kristine Froseth) and Becky Monroe (played by Sophie Thatcher). Charlie is seen in “When the Streetlights Go On” only as his 15-year-old self (played by Chosen Jacobs), as the story unfolds from his perspective.

Chrissy was the sister who was murdered first, and her brutal slaying is shown in the first installment of “When the Streetlights Go On.” A popular high-school student, Chrissy also had a big secret: She was having an affair with her married teacher Steve Carpenter (played by Mark Duplass). Steve is so besotted with Chrissy that he tells her that he’s going to leave his wife for her. One night, while Chrissy and Steve meet in the woods for a tryst in his car, they are ambushed by a man armed with a gun and wearing a ski mask.

The masked man orders Steve to drive all three of them further into the woods, where he orders Steve and Chrissy to strip to their underwear before he shoots both of them in the head. The double homicide has stunned and terrified the community. And it’s at the forefront of the local high school’s gossip when school resumes in the fall, because the murderer hasn’t been caught yet. (“When the Streetlight Goes On” has some violence and language that don’t make it suitable for very young or very sensitive viewers.)

Heading the homicide investigation is Detective Darlene Grasso (played by Queen Latifah), who is a very by-the-numbers generic cop character that has been done many times before in TV shows and movies. Charlie, who’s on the school’s newspaper, seems himself as an aspiring investigative journalist, so he asks to be assigned the story of investigating Chrissy’s murder.

Meanwhile, all eyes at the school are on Chrissy’s younger sister Becky, who is the opposite of Chrissy. Becky is quiet, withdrawn and one of those “quirky” creative types who doesn’t make friends easily. People feel sympathy for her but they also feel awkward around her because they don’t know what to say to her about her tragic loss. And a creepy thing happens when the murderer calls Chrissy’s phone number (which hadn’t been disconnected yet after she died), to apparently taunt the Monroe family and the authorities.

During the course of the story, two very different young men fall under suspicion for murdering Chrissy. One of the possible suspects is Brad Kirchoff (played by Ben Ahlers), who was Chrissy’s high-school boyfriend while was also secretly having an affair with Steve Carpenter. There’s speculation that Brad (who’s a popular but very arrogant guy) might have found out about the affair, and murdered Chrissy and Steve out of jealousy and revenge. It doesn’t help Brad look innocent when he admits that he and Chrissy argued shortly before she was murdered.

The other young man who gets a lot of scrutiny is Casper Tatum (played by Sam Strike), a rebellious delinquent with an arrest record and a drug problem. Casper is one of those students who’s slightly older than high-school age because his failing grades have prevented him from graduating from high school with his original class. Because he’s over 18 and doesn’t seem to have any parental supervision, he has a lot more freedom than other students at the high school.

Because of Casper’s hoodlum reputation, more people in the community think that he’s the murderer than those who think Brad is the one who’s guilty. Casper has a massive crush on Becky, but he thinks he has no chance with her, because even if he weren’t under a cloud of suspicion for murdering her sister, Becky would still be considered out of Casper’s league. But Casper soon learns that Becky has a crush on him too, and they begin dating each other.

Casper and Becky’s relationship is a major scandal in the community. Becky ignores the orders of her parents (played by Cameron Bancroft and Eliza Norbury) to stop seeing Casper. One of the people who is the most offended by this romance is Brad, who thinks Becky is being disrespectful of Chrissy’s memory by dating someone whom a lot of people in the community think is the one who murdered Chrissy.

Needless to say, Brad isn’t shy about telling people that he thinks Casper is the murderer. Brad gets so angry at Becky that he curses her out and physically assaults her at school. Brad later apologizes to Becky, but when Casper hears about the assault, that leads Casper and Brad to have a major brawl at a house party attended by several of the students. It seems like every TV show or movie that’s centered on a high school has to show at least one big fight among students.

Meanwhile, Becky and Charlie become friends, as they bond over their mutual love of reading the same type of literature. You know where this is going: Charlie starts to fall for Becky too. And because Charlie is distracted by his feelings for Becky, it leads to him losing some interest in investigating Chrissy’s murder.

“When the Streetlights Go On” starts off promising, but it rapidly goes downhill when it starts to focus on Charlie falling in love with Becky. What happened to the murder mystery? It takes a back seat in the story after Charlie tries to get Becky to fall in love with him.

The acting in “When the Streetlights Go On” isn’t very remarkable, except for Thatcher, who gives a standout performance as the troubled and complicated Becky. And this story from screenwriters Chris Hutton and Eddie O’Keefe needed a lot of improvement. For example, it would’ve been better to not tell viewers up front that Becky would be murdered too.

When Becky’s death happens at the end, it’s not shocking because viewers know it’s coming. And when the murderer is finally revealed, how this reveal is handled is very rushed and almost like an afterthought. If you want to see yet another story about an angst-ridden teenage love triangle, then “When Streetlights Go On” might not disappoint you. But if you’re looking for a compelling drama about solving a murder mystery, then this isn’t that story.

Quibi premiered “When the Streetlights Go On” in 10 chapters, with the first three chapters debuting on April 6, 2020.

Quibi announces programming for launch date

March 6, 2020

The following is a press release from Quibi:

 

Today, Quibi unveiled that it will launch with 50 shows, including “Survive,” “Most Dangerous Game,” “Thanks A Million,” “Chrissy’s Court,” “Murder House Flip,” “Last Night’s Late Night,” “The Replay by ESPN” and more on April 6. Full list below.

As an added bonus, Quibi announced it would offer 90 day free trials for a limited time. To unlock the offer, viewers need to visit Quibi.com and sign-up before April 6.

Launching on April 6, Quibi is the first entertainment platform designed specifically for your phone and will feature fresh, original content from Hollywood’s biggest stars and creators.

Quibi will release 175 original shows and 8,500 quick bites of content in the first year alone.

Quibi will offer three categories of content:

1. Movies in Chapters: Big stories told in chapters that are 7 to 10 minutes in length.

2. Unscripted and Docs: This episodic category is food, fashion, travel, animals, cars, builds, music, sports, comedy, talk, variety, documentary and more. All with episodes in 10 minutes or less.

3. Daily Essentials: Curated daily into 5-6 minute quick bites of news, entertainment and inspiration. Quibi’s Daily Essentials will quickly give viewers everything they need to know – and why it matters.

Quibi – which is short for “quick bites” – is built for easy, on-the-go mobile viewing with new episodes of movie-quality shows delivered daily in episodes of 10 minutes or less.

The Quibi app is now available for pre-order.

Quibi will cost $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without ads.

BELOW IS THE FULL LIST OF SHOWS COMING TO QUIBI ON APRIL 6:

MOVIES IN CHAPTERS

Most Dangerous Game

Desperate to take care of his pregnant wife before a terminal illness can take his life, Dodge Maynard (Liam Hemsworth) accepts an offer to participate in a deadly game where he soon discovers that he’s not the hunter… but the prey. This dystopian action-thriller explores the limits of how far someone would go to fight for their life and their family. Let the games begin.

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Christoph Waltz

Cast: Sarah Gadon, Zach Cherry, Aaron Poole, Christopher Webster, Billy Burke, Jimmy Akinbola, and Natasha Bordizzo

Writer: Nick Santora

Director: Phil Abraham

Executive Producer: Nick Santora, Phil Abraham

When the Streetlights Go On

After the murder of a beautiful young girl rocks a suburban community, the victim’s sister and her high school peers must struggle to find a sense of normalcy while coming of age in the midst of the murder investigation.

Starring: Chosen Jacobs, Sophie Thatcher, Sam Strike, David Lewis, Mark Duplass, Cameron Bancroft, Tony Hale, Beh Ahlers, Kristine Froseth, Queen Latifah

Writers: Chris Hutton, Eddie O’Keefe

Director: Rebecca Thomas

Survive

Jane (Sophie Turner) wants to end it all. Then a plane crash almost ends it for her. Now she’s crawling from the wreckage with the only other survivor (Corey Hawkins) and a new drive to stay alive.

Together they embark on a harrowing journey out of the wilderness, battling brutal conditions and personal traumas in this thrilling drama based on the critically acclaimed novel, SURVIVE, by Alex Morel.

Starring: Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins

Director: Mark Pellington

Writers: Richard Abate and Jeremy Ungar

Flipped

Jann and Cricket think they have what it takes to become TV’s newest house-flipping couple. Unfortunately, a Mexican drug cartel thinks so too. Now the delusional duo has to survive their newest project – renovating the cartel’s mansions.

Starring: Will Forte, Kaitlin Olson, Arturo Castro, Eva Longoria, Andy Garcia

Director: Ryan Case

Writers: Steve Mallory, Damon James

UNSCRIPTED & DOCS

Thanks A Million

Executive Produced by Jennifer Lopez, this emotional and inspiring series features grateful public figures who kickstart a chain of kindness by gifting $100,000 to an unsuspecting individual who must pay it forward.

Across ten episodes, $1,000,000 will be put in the hands of everyday people.

Jennifer Lopez, Kristen Bell, Nick Jonas, Tracy Morgan, Aaron Rodgers, Yara Shahidi, Gabriel Iglesias, Anthony Davis, Kevin Hart and Karlie Kloss will each lead individual episodes of Thanks a Million.

Chrissy’s Court

Real people. Real cases. And real, legally binding decisions. If you thought Chrissy Teigen couldn’t become an actual courtroom judge, you’ve been overruled.

In each episode of Chrissy’s Court, Chrissy Teigen reigns supreme as the “judge” over one small claims case. Chrissy’s mom turned “bailiff,” Pepper Thai, maintains order in the courtroom.

Punk’d

Hosted and Executive Produced by Chance the Rapper, PUNK’D dares to go where no show has gone before. Now that technology can really augment reality, we’re back to pull the boldest pranks on the biggest stars in Hollywood. No one is safe.

Starring and Executive Producer: Chance the Rapper

Murder House Flip

From the Executive Producer of CSI, Murder House Flip is an unconventional new home renovation show that takes on the country’s most infamous homes: the ones known for mysterious murders committed behind their walls. Homeowners turn to high-end renovation experts, Mikel Welch and Joelle Uzyel, to remove the stains of the past and take these homes from morbid to marvelous.

Executive Producers: Josh Berman (CSI, Bones), Chris King (Penny Dreadful), Katherine Ramsland and Star Price (Active Shooter, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition)

Elba v Block

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Idris Elba, and one of the planet’s hottest drivers, Ken Block, are going head to head in a hilarious, action packed rivalry as they pit cars against each other through increasingly outrageous stunts to prove whose car, and which driver, is the best.

Skrrt with Offset

Offset is a big fan of cars. His garage has over 30 sports and luxury cars. This series follows him as he joins his celebrity and rapper friends – like Quavo, Lil Yachty and T-Pain – exploring all things cars.

Guests on ‘Skrrt with Offset’ will include: Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, Dapper Dan, Jay Leno, Quavo and Takeoff from Migos, Lil Yachty, T-Pain and more.

“Quibi will give me a chance to connect with my fans in yet another way,” said Offset. “They don’t know how much I know about cars for real. This platform will let them see there is more to me than just buying cars.”

Host and Executive Producer: Kiari “Offset” Cephus

Nikki Fre$h

Starring and executive produced by Nicole Richie, ‘Nikki Fre$h’ unites her passions for Mother Earth and hip hop into her eponymous alter ego, Nikki Fre$h. Nikki brings a new voice to wellness with a totally fresh style of music – dropping socially conscious and educational rhymes on the world. Nikki Fre$h will interact with real life seekers and consciousness experts to learn ways to better serve our bodies and our planet — while comedically exaggerating those solutions to the edge of sanity

&MUSIC

&MUSIC shines the spotlight on the unsung artists and surprising elements behind the world’s biggest music stars. Each episode will reveal an unprecedented look at a vital behind-the-scenes collaborator that transforms the performance of an iconic musical artist into a cultural phenomenon.

The documentary series will feature the following artists on camera:

· Dance & Music: Scott and Brian Nicholson & Ariana Grande

· Light & Music: Gabe Fraboni & Martin Garrix

· Mind & Music: Ramiro Agudelo & J Balvin

· Audio & Music: Derek Ali aka MixedByAli & YG

· Style & Music: Jasmine Benjamin & Anderson .Paak

· Writing & Music: Andrew Watt & Ozzy Osbourne

Gone Mental with Lior

Lior Suchard is the world’s best mentalist – he literally can read your mind. He teams with a featured celebrity and runs him or her through a string of mindblowing mental stunts.

Featuring Kate Hudson, Ben Stiller, Zooey Deschanel, The Miz (Mike Mizanin), Big E (Ettore Ewen), Sasha Banks, Bayley, Rob Gronkowski, James Corden, and David Dobrik

Singled Out

Hosted by Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster, “Singled Out” will hook up a new generation of singles, of all genders and sexual preferences, seeking love in 20 bite-sized episodes. Reflective of today’s dating landscape, where everyone is connected, the series will bring online dating to life with a twist — the main dater is linked to the pool of diverse singles through social media.

“I am thrilled to be hosting ‘Singled Out'” said Keke Palmer. “To be able to reimagine this show for my generation and on a new platform is so exciting. Can’t wait for you guys to see what we have in store!”

Gayme Show!

Hosted by comedians Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni, GAYME SHOW! is a comedic competition show that uplifts and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. In each episode, two straight contestants are paired with a celebrity “life partner” as they battle head to head in physical, mental and even emotional challenges for the title of “Queen of the Straights.”

Some of the celebrity “life partners” include: Ilana Glazer, D’Arcy Carden, Trixie Mattel, Jon Lovett, Nicole Byer, Rachel Bloom, Guy Branum and more.

Dishmantled

From the Creator and Executive Producer of Chopped comes DISHMANTLED, a high-octane cooking competition that will literally blow your socks off. Hosted by Tituss Burgess, each episode starts with the cannon-blasting of a mystery food dish into the faces of two blindfolded chefs. They’ll use their culinary prowess to identify the exploded dish and then race against the clock to recreate it. Whichever chef comes closest to the original dish wins a cash prize.

Guest judges include: Dan Levy, Wolfgang Puck, Jane Krakowski, Antoni Porowski, Rachel Dratch, Roy Choi and more.

The Sauce

Executive Produced and judged by Usher, THE SAUCE follows dance sensations and hosts Ayo & Teo as they explore the unique dance cultures in cities across the U.S., finding the freshest online talent to compete head-to-head for a cash prize.. Usher will serve as judge for this fresh dance competition series.

You Ain’t Got These

Executive Produced by Lena Waithe, this is not a show about sneakers. It’s a show about sneaker culture. Fitting in. And belonging to something bigger than yourself.

Episodes feature: Carmelo Anthony, Billie Jean King, Hasan Minhaj, Candance Parker, Questlove, Nas, Jazerai Allen- Lord, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Mike Epps, Jemele Hill, Lena Waithe, Josh Luber and Eric Koston

Fierce Queens

Presented by Reese Witherspoon, this nature series explores the fabulous females of the animal kingdom. From ant queens to speedy cheetahs, they call the shots in their world and sit at the top of the social hierarchy earning them the title “fierce queens”.

From the multi-award-winning BBC Studios Natural History Unit, this documentary series will bring you the most dramatic natural history stories from a fresh female perspective.

Executive Producer: Jo Shinner

Prodigy

Hosted by Megan Rapinoe, each episode highlights one Prodigy’s unprecedented athletic accomplishments, while also diving deep into their origin stories to introduce the Prodigies to the world in a powerful, unique way. Each episode will inspire not only sports fans, but fans of the human experience, all while honoring the villages that helped them earn the numerous National, World and Olympic Championships they have obtained early in their young careers.

The 2020 Prodigy Class is:

· Jalen Green: #1 ranked high school basketball player in the country

· Sha’Carri Richardson: fastest woman in NCAA track and field history

· Red Gerard: youngest Winter Olympic Gold Medalist since 1928

· Regan Smith: fastest woman in swimming history

· Matthew Boling: fastest man in high school track and field history

· Tyler Adams: member of the USMNT, one of the world’s most promising soccer stars

· Korey Foreman: #1 ranked high school football player in the country

· Chantel Navarro: US Junior National Boxing Team member, 5-time National Champion

Run This City

RUN THIS CITY is a series that follows Jasiel Correia II as he navigates his role as the youngest mayor of Fall River, MA ever elected to office. When the FBI indicts him for his former company, Correia vows to fight the charges and be vindicated.

Shape of Pasta

Chef Evan Funke. Italy. And the pursuit of pasta perfection. He’s uncovering the craft and culture behind some rare and forgotten pasta shapes. We dare you not to drool.

Follow Chef Evan Funke’s passion-filled quest to find the last remaining masters of the world’s most beloved food… pasta. Join his whirlwind tour of Italy to keep these traditions alive.

NightGowns

Full of heart, humor, and a hell of a lot of glitter, NightGowns follows Sasha over the course of eight episodes as she adapts her critically-acclaimed Brooklyn drag revue into a full-on stage production – and the biggest drag showcase of her life.

Part performance documentary, part portrait of the artist, we’ll watch Velour work with each member of her uniquely inclusive ensemble to craft the lip-sync performances of their wildest dreams. Each installment draws us to one performer in particular and pulls back the curtain on their life out of drag, their process, and their story, culminating in a made-for-mobile visual expression of their live number, directed by legendary music video director Sophie Muller. The result will be something totally new: live drag, designed for the screen. Eight iconic, shareable, must-watch performances that redefine what drag can be.

Executive Producer: Sasha Velour

DAILY ESSENTIALS

Last Night’s Late Night

From Entertainment Weekly, LAST NIGHT’S LATE NIGHT celebrates late night television every morning with a breakdown of the smartest monologues, best interviews and must-see sketches. This daily recap series highlights the best moments from the previous evening’s shows to determine who won the night and the week!

Quibi also confirmed Heather Gardner will host the daily show.

Host: Heather Gardner

The Daily Chill

By combining guided meditation and awe-inspiring visuals, THE DAILY CHILL takes users on a pathway to calmness. Each episode features a new global destination and, with it, a new ASMR journey to peace.

The Rachel Hollis Show

NYT Best Seller Rachel Hollis helps you level up your life with a daily dose of motivation & inspiration. The show will run once daily, Monday through Friday.

Sexology with Shan Boodram

Created by Corin Nelson and Shan Boodram, SEXOLOGY WITH SHAN BOODRAM features certified sexologist and intimacy expert Shan Boodram as she shows viewers how to navigate the realities of sex, dating and relationships in a world where the rules of love and attraction are often confusing and fluid.

“Relationships and our relationship to our sexuality is a big part of our daily lives, which is why I am over the moon to be a part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials slate,” said Shan Boodram. “Everyone should have access to tools to become their own sex and relationship expert, and with our new daily show, we will be able to provide those necessary tools to Quibi’s audience in a highly engaging format. This is the kind of project I’ve dreamed of being a part of for my entire career.”

Fashion’s A Drag

Model/actress Willam Belli joined by supermodel Denise Bidot kick back with their closest drag queen friends to break down what the hottest celebs are wearing and all that’s happening in the world of fashion.

Hosted by: Willam Belli, Denise Bidot

60 in 6 by CBS NEWS

The longest running and most watched news program on television creates a new edition for a new generation. A rotating cast of dedicated correspondents will tackle one story a week on topics ranging from hard news coverage to politics, lifestyle, pop culture, business, health, and science. We call it, 60 in 6.

Anchors: Wesley Lowery, Laurie Segall, Enrique Acevedo

The Nod with Brittany & Eric

The popular and critically-acclaimed podcast, The Nod, is now a daily show on Quibi. Five days a week, hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings dig into the biggest moments and most under-explored corners of Black culture, as told by the actors, musicians, writers, thinkers, chefs, activists, artists, and everyday people who live it. The Nod tells the stories about Black life you won’t see anywhere else.

Around the World by BBC News

Drawing on the BBC’s vast global network, along with its 100-year history of impartial and authentic storytelling, Around the World will ensure that Quibi’s users stay up to date with the most important and illuminating international stories.

Morning Report by NBC NEWS

This fast-paced show gets you up to speed with the most important headlines from around the world, and gives you the context to go deeper on the stories that matter most.

Evening Report by NBC NEWS

A new kind of evening broadcast built on the vast resources of NBC News, and featuring in-depth pieces and explainers to get you up to speed on what matters and why – all before cocktail hour

Saturday Report by NBC NEWS

Each Saturday, NBC News takes you up close to the meet characters driving a story that shapes our world.

Sunday Report by NBC NEWS

The pace of news can be overwhelming – so on Sundays we slow it down: taking a detailed look at a single critical issue.

Pulso News by Telemundo

Pulso News is a daily newscast catering to the English speaking LatinX market, where a proudly bicultural, binational host and a series of diverse LatinX contributors will help portray the diversity of our community and bring the issues that matter to light.

Anchor: Andrea Martinez

For the Cultura by Telemundo

Welcome to ‘For the Cultura,’ where we celebrate our Latinidad while reveling in all things pop culture.

Anchor: Krystal Vega, Freddy Lomeli

Weather Today by The Weather Channel

Weather Today will be a three-to-five minute show airing seven days a week that features the most important weather news stories of the day as well as a national forecast.

Anchor: Jordan Steele

NewsDay by CTV News

CTV News, Canada’s leading news organization, offers two new daily editions of curated news for Canadians. Delivered in a new and innovative way allowing millennials to get smart news they can trust, NewsDay by CTV News and NewsNight by CTV News covers the biggest stories of the day – from politics and business, to health and climate change. NewsDay by CTV News and NewsNight by CTV News stream mornings and evenings on weekdays, and NewsDay by CTV News streams mornings on weekends.

Produced by: Bell Media

NewsNight by CTV News

CTV News, Canada’s leading news organization, offers two new daily editions of curated news for Canadians. Delivered in a new and innovative way allowing millennials to get smart news they can trust, NewsDay by CTV News and NewsNight by CTV News covers the biggest stories of the day – from politics and business, to health and climate change. NewsDay by CTV News and NewsNight by CTV News stream mornings and evenings on weekdays, and NewsDay by CTV News streams mornings on weekends.

Produced by: Bell Media

TSN Sports Show (untitled)

TSN, Canada’s sports leader and #1 sports network, will produce a daily sports information update streaming every morning, 7 days a week.

Produced by: Bell Media

The Replay by ESPN

ESPN’s “The Replay ” will feature daily episodes and breaking news covering the biggest stories in sports.

Hosts: Nabil Karim, Ashley Brewer, Sebastian Salazar

All The Feels by the Dodo

Most days need a moment of pure joy – a happy cry, belly laugh, and a little zen time. Everyday The Dodo curates a new animal story to deliver “All the Feels” to the Quibi audience.

Close Up by E! News

Get ‘Close Up’ with Hollywood – bringing pop culture and celebrity into focus daily. Small screen, big news.

Fresh Daily by Rotten Tomatoes

Fresh Daily by Rotten Tomatoes helps you navigate today’s endless sea of content. A daily conversation around the latest news, reviews and recommendations from the best in television, streaming and film.

No Filter by TMZ: AM

No Filter by TMZ takes you inside the newsroom for a twice-daily entertainment and pop culture show offering the latest in TMZ’s brand of edgy, exclusive content.

No Filter by TMZ: PM

No Filter by TMZ takes you inside the newsroom for a twice-daily entertainment and pop culture show offering the latest in TMZ’s brand of edgy, exclusive content.

Speedrun by Polygon

Speedrun will present a caffeinated, hyperfast injection of the news that the gaming (and gaming adjacent) audience craves, with insightful cultural deep dives into the biggest trending topics including expert analysis, exclusives, recommendations, and beyond.

Hosted by: Jimmy Mondal

Trailers by Fandango

Get all the latest movies and tv/streaming trailers daily, powered by FANDANGO.

Pop5

Pop5, by Mission Control Media, is a daily, fast-paced, and colorful collage of must-know information about pop music today. It will highlight everything that is worth talking about in popular music right now, go behind the scenes with artists and dive into why you like the songs you like.

Hosted by: Tim Kash

Hot off the Mic

HOT OFF THE MIC is a new daily show showcasing today’s hottest established and emerging comedians and their takes on the latest headlines. Released five days a week, the original short form series will be taped at leading comedy clubs across the country, beginning with the legendary Improv in Hollywood.