HBO Max Orders Ellen DeGeneres’ ‘Ellen’s Home Design Challenge’, ‘Little Ellen’ & ‘First Dates Hotel

DEADLINE  By Nellie Andreeva, Denise Petski              September 27, 2019 12:20pm


Ellen Degeneres is one of the biggest TV names on WarnerMedia’s talent roster, and the company’s upcoming streaming platform HBO Max is getting in business with her in a big way.

The streamer has teamed with DeGeneres and her A Very Good Production on four new original series. HBO Max has given straight-to-series orders to the unscripted Ellen’s Home Design Challenge, a home design competition show; and First Dates Hotel, a matchmaking series based on the hit UK format; as well as to animated children’s series Little Ellen, centered on DeGeneres as a child.

Additionally, HBO Max, set to launch in spring of 2020, has put in development, Finding Einstein, a docuseries which seeks to find a new generation of Einsteins who are motivated to change the world for the better. DeGeneres announced the deal today on her The Ellen DeGeneres Show, along with a free two-year HBO Max subscription for everyone in her studio audience.

Ellen’s Home Design Challenge reunites the key auspices, A Very Good Prods. and A. Smith & Co., behind the 2015 Ellen’s Design Challenge series, which aired on HGTV for two seasons. Showcasing DeGeneres’ penchant for design, it was her first major foray into producing reality series.

First Dates Hotel also has ties to a previous reality series produced by DeGeneres. The original British First Dates Hotel is a spinoff from the popular Chanel 4 series First Dates, which A Very Good Prods. adapted as an NBC series. It aired for one season.

Meanwhile, Little Ellen, which had been in the works at Warner Bros. Animation, marks the second animated series for A Very Good Prods,, joining the upcoming Green Eggs and Ham on Netflix,

“Ellen is a singular talent, and a powerhouse, creative triple-threat that we are lucky to have now bringing her talents to bear on behalf of HBO Max,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and president, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “Ellen’s flair for home design and matchmaking will most certainly inspire and delight – but HBO Max is full service, so as not to leave the kids out she’s bringing them back to the hilarious misadventures of her childhood in an imaginative animated series.”

Said DeGeneres, “I’m very excited to bring my new shows to HBO Max. I don’t know who Max is, but I can’t wait to work with him.”

In Ellen’s Home Design Challenge, design aficionado DeGeneres gives eight forward-thinking designers the chance to push their creativity to the limit. DeGeneres will be on hand to weigh in on each challenge and provide commentary. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television and A. Smith & Co. Productions in association with Telepictures and A Very Good Production, with DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman and Arthur Smith serving as executive producers.

Little Ellen is a 2D animated children’s show that explores the world through the eyes of a hilarious and unpredictable seven-year-old Ellen DeGeneres. On her adventures in her musical hometown of New Orleans, Little Ellen takes big risks and makes big mistakes, but she’s always able to laugh at herself and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. The 40-episode quarter-hour series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Ellen Digital Ventures. DeGeneres, Kevin A. Leman II, and Sam Register serve as executive producers. Jennifer Skelly is a co-executive producer and Jason Blackman is a producer.

Matchmaking series First Dates Hotel is based on the hit UK format from Twenty Twenty Productions. It’s set at an affluent boutique hotel where single people from multiple generations gather for an intensive and tailor-made romantic experience. After fun, amusing and potentially disastrous dates at the hotel restaurant, poolside and under the stars, if the potential lovers like each other, they can choose to stay on for a second date in the hopes of finding out if they’re ultimately a match. Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television produces in association with Shed Media, DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production and Twenty Twenty Productions Limited. DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Pam Healey, and Dan Peirson will serve as executive producers. Previous seasons of the UK series First Dates and First Dates Hotel will also be available on HBO Max.

Currently in development, Finding Einstein is an inspiring docu-series, blessed by the Einstein estate, that will seek out, celebrate and support a fresh generation of Einsteins. Per the logline: “Some may be a stone’s throw away …others may be in a tiny village halfway around the world…all of them are motivated to live up to Einstein’s ideal of changing the world for the better.” The series is executive produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television in association with Telepictures and A Very Good Production, with DeGeneres, Kleeman and Todd Goldman serving as executive producers.



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