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HBO Max adds kids’ unscripted originals

Forthcoming streamer HBO Max has ordered two new unscripted kids’ competition series and recruited YouTube talent to host them.

Jennifer O’Connell

Karma (8×60′) will be presented by Michelle Khare, a lifestyle enthusiast with almost two million followers on YouTube, while Craftopia (8×30′) will be fronted by Lauren Riihimaki (aka LaurDIY), one of YouTube’s top creators with more than 21 million followers across all her social platforms.

Karma, currently in production, takes 16 contestants ranging in age from 12 to 15 completely off the grid to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules.

The adventure competition series will test the mental and physical stamina of its young contestants as they unravel how their social actions affect their success in the game.

Karma is executive produced by JD Roth, Adam Greener and Sara Hansemenn for GoodStory Entertainment with Fred Pichel serving as showrunner and executive producer.

Roth co-founded 3 Ball Productions in 2001 and is credited with bringing ‘weight-loss’ television to the forefront more than a decade ago with the creation of The Biggest Loser on NBC.

Craftopia is described as an epic kids’ crafting competition show in which nine- to 15-year-old contestants put their imaginations to the test and make their crafting dreams come true in a magical studio.

Production will begin later this year. Craftopia is executive produced by Riihimaki and Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher for B17 Entertainment.

“We are giving kids an opportunity to show us their absolute best as they strive for excellence in both challenging and creative situations,” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive VP, original content at HBO Max.

HBO Max is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering debuting in spring 2020. With 10,000 hours of premium content set to be available at launch, HBO Max will brings together original series and third-party licensed programmes and movies.

It will feature content drawn from WarnerMedia’s brands such as HBO, Warner Bros., New Line, DC, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes.

Last week HBO Max set up its animated and scripted originals kids and family team, which includes an exec from WarnerMedia-owned TBS and the VP of original series development at Nickelodeon.

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