General Purpose delves further into digital with The Succulent Six

Launching today on CBC digital, the factual series follows a group of plus-size models as they design and execute missions to champion body positivity.

Toronto’s General Purpose Entertainment (GPE) has teamed up with a group of plus-sized models for its latest digital series, The Succulent Six (6 x 10 minutes), launching Feb. 27 on CBC’s digital platform.

Shot in Toronto in September and October of 2017, the show follows a group of five close friends as they design and execute missions to champion body positivity and battle against size bias. During each episode, the group of five invites a sixth person to join their cause. The prodco’s previous production credits include Post My Party (Makeful), Undercover High (YTV) and Holmes on Homes (HGTV Canada). This is its first commission with the CBC.

While the digital commissions coming from CBC have seemingly leaned more toward scripted programming over the past year (including greenlights for LoCo Motion Pictures’s How To Buy a Baby, Aircraft Pictures’ Terrific Women and Insight Productions’ But I’m Chris Jericho), GPE president Scott Clark McNeil told Playback Daily that, in a slow commissioning climate for factual, the public broadcaster is proving to be a valuable door to knock on for unscripted producers in Canada.

“[CBC] has really quickly rearranged itself to embrace this type of digital content, so we’ve had a lot more success [with them] than with a lot of the others we’ve pitched,” said McNeil.

CBC has doubled down on its digital offerings over the past two years, commissioning nine new series at its 2016 Upfront and announcing 15 new and returning digital series at its 2017 Upfront. In December, the pubcaster also launched an updated OTT service that includes live streaming of its 14 regional channels, on-demand viewing and exclusive digital content.

Among the other factual series CBC commissioned for 2017/2018 were First Generation Films’ The Artists: From Pong to Pop and the Dawn of the Video Game Era (10 x 8 minutes), Project 10′s Tom Green’s Snow Jam (8 x 5-10 minutes) and Four Corners Productions’ Ten X Ten: Ten Portraits of Queers in the Arts (10 x 3 minutes).

Like many producers in the unscripted space, GPE is pursuing partnerships with digital platforms as linear greenlights become harder to come by. Last year the company produced a short-form digital series, Furry, Fierce, and Fabulous (5 x 3 minutes), for Bravo in the U.S. The show, which follows dog stylist Roberto Negrin, launched via Bravo’s pet-based vertical Unleashed.

McNeil said the digital space is where GPE is looking to pitch many of its future projects, with the company currently in development on a number of other titles with CBC.

Beyond the digital rollout, international sales are the next priority for the digital series. While there isn’t yet an international sales partner attached to the project, McNeil believes the market for short-form digital is growing. “Some of the other distributors that I’ve talked to are telling us that things are changing – that there are markets emerging for short-form digital content. I have yet to see what type of fees will be available, but I think there is a growing market for this type of content internationally,” he said.

The Succulent Six is directed and executive produced by McNeil, with GPE’s VP of development Anna Wasylenki serving as producer.