By Sahil Patel
Another YouTube talent partnered with Collective Digital Studio is making the jump from web to TV.
The dudes at Epic Meal Time are joining the FYI Network launch programming slate. The lifestyle cable network, which is owned by A+E and was formerly known as Bio, will reboot on July 7 with a focus on passion categories like food, fashion, style, and design.
Epic Meal Time will host a show called, you guessed it, “The Epic Meal Show.” The show, produced by Collective Digital Studio and “Sauce Boss” Harley Morenstein’s Nexttime Productions, will feature the EMT crew inventing new crazy dishes. FYI has ordered 16 half-hour episodes as part of its launch slate.
This isn’t the first time Epic Meal Time has attempted an expansion to TV. A few years ago the crew inked a deal with NBCUniversal’s G4 to develop a TV version of their insane cooking show. FYI president Jana Bennett tells The Hollywood Reporter that “The Epic Meal Show” will be different from the one developed for G4. This was confirmed to us by CDS founding partner and chief content officer Gary Binkow.
Collective Digital Studio seems to have developed a habit of helping its top creators move popular IP from YouTube to other distribution outlets. Prior to this deal, CDS helped set-up “Annoying Orange” creator Dane Boedigheimer with Cartoon Network, transitioned “Fred” to Nickelodeon, and worked out a deal with Netflix to distribute the first two seasons of Freddie Wong’s “VGHS.”
After aggressively pitching a long-form show format for Epic Meal Time, CDS found several interested suitors, says Binkow. With A+E and FYI Network, Binkow says CDS found a TV partner willing to work out a deal that protected the online Epic Meal Time brand, while also allowing the creators to do something interesting and entertaining on TV. It also helps that A+E and FYI were willing to option 16 episodes from the get-go, a rare-if-not-unprecedented move when it comes to web-to-TV deals.
While declining to disclose further details about the show format, Binkow stresses that it won’t be a straight extension of what EMT does on YouTube. Furthermore, this isn’t an instance of a creator abandoning YouTube to go to TV, assures Binkow, as the deal framework enables EMT to continue creating and monetizing content on their YouTube channel.