Quibi launches April 6, with 175 original shows available on the platform in its first year

By Alexia Fernandez
January 24, 2020 05:28 PM
Kaitlin Olson; Joanna and Chip Gaines
Daniel Boczarski; Nathan Congleton/NBC

Kaitlin Olson‘s upcoming Quibi series, Flipped, sought inspiration from Chip and Joanna Gaines‘ HGTV hit, Fixer Upper — with a hilarious twist.

Olson, 44, teased her new show in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE on Friday after a Quibi panel at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The actress and comedian will star alongside Will Forte as an underemployed couple, Cricket and Jann Melfi, who are self-proclaimed renovation experts. If the description sounds familiar, that’s because it takes after the Gaines.

“It was inspired by them,” says Olson, although she notes that she didn’t copy Joanna, 41, exactly.

“My character isn’t trying to emulate her, my character thinks she can be way better than her,” Olson jokes. “I certainly have seen those shows and get sucked in just like everybody else, and I find it fascinating.”

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Kaitlin Olson, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Veena Sud at Quibi's panel at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival
Daniel Boczarski

Cricket, she says, “is extremely upbeat and positive and has big dreams, which she really knows that she can fulfill. They get stuck renovating this old run-down shack that they find in the desert, and it turns out that it belongs to a drug cartel, and they end up being kidnapped, and they’re forced to renovate homes for this drug cartel.”

“So she is creatively fulfilled, but she is a prisoner,” Olson adds.

Flipped also stars Eva Longoria, Andy Garcia and Arturo Castillo.

Quibi, short for “quick bites,” is a video platform focused on producing quality content for millennials and telling stories in bite-sized chapters of 10 minutes or less. The slate is plentiful, with content that runs across genres, boasting shows from Hollywood’s top stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart and Chrissy Teigen.

Among the anticipated series is writer-director Veena Sud’s thriller The Stranger, which centers on a female rideshare driver (Maika Monroe) who is thrown into her worst nightmare when a mysterious Hollywood Hills passenger enters her car. It also stars Dane DeHaan and Avan Jogia in the cat and mouse game.

Lena Waithe will debut her documentary You Ain’t Got These on Quibi. The film centers around the culture and commerce of sneakers. Told in 12 parts, the documentary will dig deep into the subtext of the fashion-forward sneaker world.

Lena Waithe
Vera Anderson/WireImage

 

Zac Efron, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images; Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Andy Cohen will voice himself in The Andy Cohen Diariesan animated series chronicling iconic and untold moments from his life. Zac Efron will go off the grid in Killing Zac Efron, which follows the heartthrob and his brother in the jungle of a remote island as they attempt to survive without food, water and technology for several days. Comedian Chris Rock will narrate Wild Kingdom, a series of short documentaries produced by National Geographic on the platform. Each episode is set to be four to five minutes long, according to Fortune. Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake will host a show where he asks singers about the songs inspired them to become musicians. Timberlake, 38, and the featured singers would then sing a duet of that song.

PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive Idris Elba is set to star alongside Ken Block on a stunt-driving series, while Stephen Spielberg will work on a horror series that viewers can only watch at night, Vanity Fair reported. Lopez, 50, will also hit the phone screen with her own show titled Thanks a Million — Lopez and nine others will choose an influential person from their early lives and give them $100,000 each, as long as that person passes down $50,000 to a similar person and that person hands off $25,000 and so on, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Speaking at the Quibi panel at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Friday, the platform’s founder and chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg described it as “a daily consumption habit.” (Meg Whitman, who previously served as president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is Quibi’s CEO.)

“We will publish every day,” he said, adding that a single day for Quibi includes “31 original pieces of content” — everything from storytelling, documentaries and reality shows to news programs centered on the interests of the user.

Katzenberg, who was the co-founder and CEO of DreamWorks Animation, told the audience that 10-minute videos will be the “maximum length of anything” on Quibi.

“We’ve all found, interestingly now that we’ve been making content for a year, we’ve found that the sweet spot is about six or seven minutes,” he said. “That’s the magic moment.”

Additionally, Katzenberg added Quibi is “most targeted” at 25-to-35-year-old users, calling the content “young-facing and adult.”

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In June 2019, Katzenberg told Vanity Fair that Quibi was “not a substitute or a competitor for television.”

“Our [service] is exclusively about what you do from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on your phone,” he said. “And what you’re doing today, if you’re in our core demographic of 25-to-35-year-olds, is you’re actually watching 60 to 70 minutes of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. That growth is now a well-established consumer habit that Quibi is sailing into.”

Quibi has already garnered $1 billion in investments, including an additional $400 million, as reported earlier this month by the Los Angeles Times. Once released, users can pay $4.99 to access the platform with advertising or $7.99 without it.

Quibi launches April 6 with 175 original shows available on the platform in its first year.

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