A new Vulture report has again trained a spotlight on fledgling streaming service Quibi, which turned three months old today — also notably marking the conclusion of its 90-day free trial window.
The piece paints a picture of an uber-confident company prior to launch, in which founder Jeffrey Katzenberg was offering to pay show creators a 20% premium over costs. Despite snagging Hollywood’s biggest names, however, Quibi has failed to drum up any breakthrough hits, and has even garnered viral ridicule on occasion — namely for an unintentionally hilarious scene from the Sam Raimi horror short The Golden Arm, in which celebrated actress Rachel Brosnahan can be seeing pining over her prosthetic arm (see below).
While some shows have received positive reviews, including the Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz-starring action-thriller Most Dangerous Game, others have already been given the axe, including Frat Boy Genius (a biopic inspired by Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, which was cancelled while still in development) and Idris Elba’s Elba vs. Block, in which the actor goes head to head with motorsport pro Ken Block on outrageous auto stunts.
Losing my fucking MIND at this Quibi show where actual Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan plays a woman obsessed with her golden arm pic.twitter.com/rSfqCv75SG
— Zach Raffio (@zachraffio) April 15, 2020
One key point that has prohibited shows from breaking through the zeitgeist, per Vulture, is the inability for viewers to take screen shots of any programming — and thus discuss series or scenes across the greater social sphere. Among other features, Quibi is readying screenshotting capabilities, the outlet reports.
And while Katzenberg has previously chalked up the service’s failings to the coronavirus pandemic, a rep for the company maintained to Vulture that he was just kidding. Nevertheless, Quibi has seen a dramatic decline in downloads since its launch day on April 6, when it it ascended to the No. 3 position on the Apple app store charts, per Vulture, subsequently plummeting to No. 284 by mid-June. As of early July, the app had been downloaded on roughly 5 million devices, with 1.5 million users having registered for accounts (when the 90-day free trial was still in operation).
Despite its uphill battle ahead, Quibi has opted in recent weeks to double down on a number of shows, ordering second season renewals. Here’s a list of all the service’s second-season bets to date, most of which were first reported by Deadline.
- Dishmantled was the first series to be renewed by Quibi on May 28. The Tituss Burgess-hosted cooking-competition from Chopped creator Linda Lea sees two chefs competing to recreate an exploded (literally, by a cannon) mystery dish while blindfolded, with the winner being selected by celebrity judges.
- The second series to be renewed by Quibi on May 29 was Jennifer Lopez’s Thanks A Million. In each episode, celebrities like Nick Jonas, Tracy Morgan, and Yara Shahidi bestowed unsuspecting do-gooders with $100,000, who then had to give half of that sum to somebody else in order to pay the charity forward. Across the first season’s 10 episodes, everyday citizens received a collective $1 million, per Deadline.
- Quibi also renewed was Murder House Flip on June 17. That series combines true crime and home renovation, following designers and hosts Mikel Welch and Joelle Uzyel making over some of the country’s mos haunted homes.
- On June 23, Quibi renewed its reboot of MTV prank show Punk’d (see below) — produced and hosted by Chance the Rapper. Season one featured pranks conducted on social media stars like Liza Koshy and Addison Rae, as well as musicians Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X, and Adam Devine.
- On the 23rd, Quib announced it had ordered a second season of another MTV reboot, Singled Out — this one hosted by Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster. Unlike its predecessor, the new iteration of Singled Out features daters of all genders and sexual preferences.
- Quibi has also renewed Gayme Show, a comedy competition hosted by Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni. The show, announced for renewal on June 25, sees two straight contestants going up against celebrities in various mental and physical challenges in order to win the title ‘Queen Of The Straights’.
- Quibi picked up a second season of Chrissy Teigen’s Chrissy’s Court on June 26. That show, starring and executive produced by Teigen, sees the popular social media personality presiding over petty small claims cases, with her mom serving as bailiff. Prospective participants can submit cases to be part of season two right here.
- Nicole Richie’s Nikki Fre$h was most recently renewed for a second season on June 29. The Quibi comedy sees Richie portraying an alter ego and interacting with real-life experts from the wellness world. In episode one, for instance, Richie and Bill Nye explore bee colony collapse disorder.