Upfronts 2016: Bell Media specialty banks on big names

New series from Jamie Oliver (pictured), Oprah Winfrey and Conan O'Brien have been added to the company's fall/winter slate.

Jamie Oliver Bell Media specialty 2016Bell Media revealed its slate of new specialty programming Wednesday, and it’s counting on big name shows and celebrities to draw audiences to its channels.

Space will add Class, a Doctor Who spinoff, to its fall lineup, while Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, a new superhero series from the Marvel comic book legend, will have a summer debut. Rounding out the new Space programming is Falling Water, about three unrelated people who realize they’re dreaming separate parts of a common dream, which will have a mid-season debut.

Gusto, Bell Media’s newly acquired lifestyle brand, is hoping beloved British chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver will attract audiences. The broadcaster announced Gusto will become the exclusive home of all new Jamie Oliver programming and feature a new series from the personality. Also debuting in the fall is Uncorked, which follows six master sommeliers as they prepare for their Court of Masters Sommelier exam.

On Bravo, Queen Sugar, from executive producers Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay (Selma) and Melissa Carter (Mistresses), will have a mid-season premiere. Other Bravo series include Guilt, a coproduction from Lionsgate and Thunderbird Films joint venture Sea to Sky Entertainment, as well as BV Family Productions, in association with Freeform. Queen of the South, Shooter and Famous in Love have also been added to the specialty channel’s lineup.

People of Earth, from EPs Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels (The Office), will have a mid-season debut on The Comedy Network. The series about a support group for alien abductees stars Wyatt Cenac of The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live‘s Ana Gasteyer.

Also joining the Comedy Network’s slate is Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City, an eight-episode series following the superstar comedian as he explores local comedy scenes across America. The series is one of many that will come to Bell as part of the recently announced long-term content licensing agreement it signed with Viacom for Comedy Central content in Canda.

On E, the docu-series Mariah’s World, which follows songstress Mariah Carey on her Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour, will have a mid-season debut, as will the new unscripted series, Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian. The Arrangement, a modern-day “Cinderella story” will also have a mid-season premiere.

Harley and the Davidsons will air on Discovery from Monday Sept. 5 to Wednesday Sept 7. The 3 x 120-minute scripted series tells the story of the birth of the Harley-Davidson. Discovery is also adding its first-ever scripted original with Frontier, starring Jason Momoa, this November.

Team Ninja Warrior an obstacle course competition show and The Almost Impossible Game Show will have summer premieres on Much, and the new animated comedy Legends of Chamberlain Heights is also slated to air in 2016.

Following the success of true crime formats, MTV will air the docuseries The Investigation, which follows alleged wrongfully accused convicted prisoners as they attempt to gain their freedom. Sweet/Viscious, Loosely Exactly Nicole and Mary + Jane will also air on the network.

Bell Media also announced first-window deals for its new dramas for CraveTV with Warner Bros. International Television, Entertainment One (eOne), and Sony Pictures Television. The deals mean that Bell Media’s new dramas, including Designated Survivor, Conviction, Training Day, Notorious and Time After Time, will get OTT exclusivity on the streamer beginning in 2017.

The media co also struck a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. International Television for the Canadian market, bringing a set of shows exclusively to CraveTV this fall. That deal includes Blindspot, Lucifer, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Detour and Angie Tribeca.