On Aug. 13, the company will premiere 23 new Roku Originals (each of them from Quibi’s library) exclusively on the Roku Channel to stream for free with ads. It’s the second tranche of Quibi shows coming to the Roku Channel, after Roku bowed 30 titles in May.
The new shows coming to the Roku Channel include “Mapleworth Murders,” a “Murder She Wrote” spoof that nabbed three 2021 Emmy acting nominations for Paula Pell, John Lutz and J.B. Smoove. Also on the slate are four previously unreleased Quibi titles: “Eye Candy” hosted by Josh Groban, a competition series in which contestants attempt to identify outrageous edible creations that look like everyday objects; cleaning competition “Squeaky Clean” hosted by Leslie Jordan; Season 2 of money-giveaway reality show “Thanks a Million” from executive producer Jennifer Lopez with guests including Matthew McConaughey, Chris Rock, Vanessa Hudgens and Lana Condor; and docuseries “What Happens in Hollywood,” directed by Marina Zenovich.
The batch also includes Veena Sud’s psychological thriller “The Stranger”; plane-crash drama “Survive,” starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins; survival drama “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan from exec producer Steven Soderbergh; and “Singled Out,” a reboot of the ’90s MTV dating show hosted by Keke Palmer.
Roku said the first wave of Quibi content significantly boosted viewership of the Roku Channel, which is available in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. In the second quarter of 2021, the Roku Channel saw streaming hours more than double, per the company (while overall usage on the Roku platform rose 19% year over year but dropped by 1 billion hours sequentially). Roku Originals accounted for the five most-streamed TV programs on the Roku Channel from May 20-July 18 by Roku active accounts. The company declined to name the shows, but previously said Kevin Hart’s “Die Hart” had broken viewing records in its opening weekend of release (and has greenlit a second season of the action-comedy).
In addition, the Roku Channel ranked as the No. 6 streaming channel by household reach in the U.S. for the month of June, coming in after Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus, according to Nielsen’s streaming reach estimates. (Nielsen declined to provide data on number of households per service.)
“The investment in Roku Originals is already paying dividends,” said Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original scripted programming, who was previously a senior content executive at Quibi.
Viewers’ response to Roku Originals “has been overwhelming,” said Brian Tannenbaum, Roku’s head of alternative programming (also an ex-Quibi exec). “We’re excited to keep the drumbeat of premium series, featuring Hollywood’s top talent, available only on the Roku Channel with this next slate of original programming.”
Roku still has about two dozen more Quibi shows that it hasn’t yet released that it plans to roll out later in 2021.
Here’s the full list of Roku Originals set to premiere Aug. 13: “&Music,” “The Andy Cohen Diaries,” “Benedict Men,” “Elba vs. Block,” “Eye Candy,” “Fierce Queens,” “Floored,” “Gone Mental with Lior,” “Mapleworth Murders,” “Memory Hole,” “Nice One!”, “Nikki Fre$h,” “Run This City,” “The Sauce,” “Sex Next Door,” “Singled Out,” “Skrrt with Offset,” “Squeaky Clean,” “The Stranger,” “Survive,” “Thanks a Million” Season 2, “What Happens in Hollywood” and “Wireless.”
(Pictured above: Hayley Magnus (l.) and Paula Pell in “Mapleworth Murders”)