Call it “America’s Next Top Gamer.”
Here’s how it will work: Quibi will let viewers of “FaZe Up” (working title) submit videos showing off their gaming skills and making the case to join the team. Then Quibi subscribers will vote to determine six finalists, who will travel to FaZe Clan’s HQ to compete in a series of real-life and gaming challenges. Ultimately, one gamer (selected by FaZe) will be crowned the winner, receiving a slot on the team and a cash prize. It’s produced for Quibi by entertainment and sports media company Whistle.
“The ‘FaZe Up’ show represents our next chapter in content creation with our first premium production effort and in collaboration with innovative partners like Whistle and Quibi,” FaZe Clan head of content Oluwafemi Okusanya said in a statement.
The series will be part of the lineup in Quibi, set to launch April 6 at $4.99 monthly with ads and $7.99 per month without ads. The service, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, will feature original content from a host of Hollywood partners, including Jennifer Lopez, Liam Hemsworth, Catherine Hardwicke, Antoine Fuqua, Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon. The well-bankrolled startup promises “movie-quality shows,” broken into episodes of 10 minutes or less.
Quibi’s untested hypothesis is that it can persuade smartphone-addicted millennials to pay for exclusive scripted and unscripted short-form programming like “FaZe Up.” The service includes no licensed library content.
“FaZe Up” will be directed by William Silva Reddington, overseen by showrunner Harrison Nalévansky. Executive producers are FaZe Clan, Nathan Gaines, Dennis Lisberger, Mike Basone, Charles Segars and Nalévansky.
“We have had an incredible partnership with FaZe and couldn’t be more excited to take it to new heights with this show, especially on a unique platform like Quibi,” said Michael Cohen, president of Whistle.
FaZe Clan, founded in 2010, maintains a roster of 85 gaming personalities active across digital content and streaming platforms, including YouTube, Mixer, Twitch, Instagram and Twitter. The company fields six competitive esports teams in “Fortnite,” “FIFA,” “PUBG,” “Rainbow Six,” “Call of Duty” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (“CS:GO”). Its roster also includes pro athletes, including the NBA’s Ben Simmons and the NFL’s Juju Smith-Schuster, and musicians Offset and Lil Yachty.
Last year, FaZe Clan had an acrimonious split with its biggest star, Turner “Tfue” Tenney. Tfue sued the esports organization, claiming it financially exploited him with a contract that was “grossly oppressive, onerous and one-sided.” FaZe Clan subsequently released Tfue from his contract.
Pictured above: FaZe Clan members celebrate their win at the Blast Pro Series Miami 2019 esports tournament.