×

Quibi Orders Comedic Murder Mystery From Lorne Michaels, ‘SNL’ Alums

Quibi keeps shelling out cash for content: Jeffrey Katzenberg’s richly funded startup has ordered a short-form murder-mystery comedy written by and starring former “Saturday Night Live” writers Paula Pell and John Lutz, and executive produced by Lorne MichaelsBroadway Video alongside Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker.

In “Mapleworth Murders,” Pell (pictured above) is Abigail Mapleworth, a murder-mystery writer who solves homicides in her quaint small town of New Woodstream. Each episode will feature guest victims and suspects in search of answering a bigger question: Why are there so many murders in one small town?

The series is one of dozens of shows — designed for on-the-go mobile viewing in sub-10-minute episodes — coming to Quibi, which is slated to launch in April 2020 at $5 monthly with ads and $8 without ads.

Led by former DreamWorks Animation chief Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, Quibi has raised $1 billion from investors including major Hollywood studios and is seeking to raise another $500 million ahead of its spring 2020 launch. The company last week said it had booked $100 million in upfront ad deals from advertisers including Google and Procter & Gamble.

“Mapleworth Murders” is executive produced by Lorne Michaels, Broadway Video’s Andrew Singer, Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker, and co-executive produced by Hilary Marx and Jason Carden. The show is being produced at NBCUniversal’s Universal Television.

Quibi has announced a slew of projects including  Steven Spielberg’s “After Dark,” a horror series users will be able to watch only between sundown and sunrise local time. Other partners include Guillermo del Toro, Antoine Fuqua, Sam Raimi, Jason Blum, Steven Soderbergh, Catherine Hardwick, Anna Kendrick, Doug Liman, Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media. Quibi also has ordered shows featuring Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen, Don Cheadle and Idris Elba as well as a remake of MTV’s “Punk’d.”

Quibi’s untested theory is that people will pay to watch premium entertainment, produced specifically for mobile consumption. Its challenge will be to carve out a large and loyal subscriber base, amid stiff competition from free and paid video services and apps. In the first year of launch, Quibi is aiming to deliver 7,000 pieces of content, including scripted and unscripted shows and daily news and lifestyle programming.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content