Mojo Banks on Tech and Food Originals

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In the wake of its recent rebrand, HD men’s network Mojo (formerly INHD) will roll out in October three new original series, along with new episodes of three returning series.

“For the fall season, we really want to capitalize on a lot of the momentum we had,” Mojo senior vice president of programming and new media David Asch said. “We have some really good combinations not only in terms of shows that are brand-new and returning, but also in how we pair the shows together to get really compelling hours of programming.”

The first pair of premieres tackles the technology front. While car series Test Drive covers everything from chick-magnet cars to tips on driving and maintenance in the concrete jungle, a “fish-out-of-water” reality series called Technology Jones will challenge modern professionals to use only the technology from randomly selected years for their everyday needs.

Mojo ordered up six and eight 30-minute episodes, respectively, and it is looking to debut the tech duo in mid to late October.

The third new show could be thought of as Top Chef meets Survivorman. Still untitled, the series follows chef and restaurateur Ralph Pagano (former competitor on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen) around the world as he is dropped, without money, into different cultures and cuisines.

“When they take him to the airport, he does not know where he is going,” Asch said. “And he’s forced to use just those cooking skills, common sense and ingenuity to get home.”

Episodes have already been shot in Iceland and Mexico, and the network ordered a total of 10 half-hour adventures.

Following up on the first season of After Hours, which was shot in New York, Mojo will air a second seasonfrom the late-night restaurant scene in Los Angeles. Chef Daniel Boulud will host 10 half-hour episodes, gathering other chefs, celebrities and food critics for new dishes, stories and gossip.

After a successful first season in Africa, Dr. Danger also gets a geographic makeover. The eight-episode second season brings former NBC correspondent Dr. Bob Arnot to the Middle East, featuring reports from Afghanistan, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Libya.

Finally, live-music series London Live enters its third season with a new host, BBC Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox, and top bands performing at The Koko Club in London.

“Music, it looks great in high-def and it sounds great in high-def with the Dolby 5.1 sound,” Asch said. “With a show like London Live, we tried to get away from the typical concert format of an hour or a 90-minute concert.”

To that end, the series whittles performances down to 10 half-hour episodes, with artists including Fergie, Maroon 5, Rufus Wainwright and Queens of the Stone Age.

“We got some really good feedback from a lot of these series from advertisers,” Asch said. “The other thing I think that’s really driven a lot of our programming [is that] we have a lot of different food groups that we like to program. Rather than just being focused on one specific niche or one specific genre of programming, we like to have a wide range of topics and programming subjects that would appeal to this Mojo man.”

The network target-audience is affluent males 25-49.

“We’ll take risks,” Asch said. “We’ll go around the world to some locations that people generally don’t see or with a concept that people haven’t seen on TV before. And we really like to push the envelope that way.”

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