Jada Wesley TikTok star on AwesomenessTV's

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In a teaser for AwesomenessTV’s new reality show, “Next Influencer,” there are no signs that its stars are filming during a pandemic. 

A swarm of teenagers in bikinis and swim trunks splash around in a pool, take a group selfie in front of a ring light, and climb on each other’s backs.

“There is [an] actual pandemic and y’all out here trying to get views,” one YouTube commenter wrote.

What viewers don’t see in the trailer is that the production team created an NBA-style “bubble” to protect its cast and crew from COVID-19-related risks during its 10-day shoot at a Miami Beach mansion. 

“We’re part of ViacomCBS, so we have very strict COVID rules that we have to abide by,” said Emily Hecht, executive producer for the show, which premieres this Sunday. “We fully created a bubble in a Miami mansion. [An] amazing house to incentivize the kids to want to spend a bunch of time there because you could not leave once you’re in.”

“Next Influencer” is a cross between a traditional MTV-style reality show like “The Real World” and a series of “collab” videos between a group of TikTok friends.

The project, hosted by TikTok star Alex Warren, features nine up-and-coming TikTok creators who compete to win a talent and content development deal with AwesomenessTV. The group faces off in a series of challenges that range from in-person foot races to virtual contests like posting a TikTok “duet” with Warren. All episodes of the show were shot at a Miami Beach mansion overlooking the Indian Creek canal (where MTV’s “Jersey Shore Family Vacation” was filmed).

Producing shows during the coronavirus pandemic has created an array of challenges for traditional media brands. ViacomCBS put together a COVID-19 production task force to set testing protocols, PPE requirements, order cleaning and disinfection services, and vet vendors for compliance on set. Other producers have cut scenes with crowds and used camera tricks to avoid making cast members get too close. 

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While AwesomenessTV didn’t advertise its health precautions in its show’s trailer, the team is including safety disclaimers at the start of each episode to inform users that “scenes in this episode were filmed adhering to then-current Local, State, and/or Country mandated COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.”

All cast and crew were tested repeatedly, including before arriving to set and throughout filming, a representative from Viacom said. AwesomenessTV also plans to post behind-the-scenes footage about the show’s COVID-19 safety protocols, including “a day in the life” video where the cast shares what COVID-19 testing looked like on set.

As it launches its first TikTok-oriented reality show, the team at AwesomenessTV had to strike a balance between acknowledging the realities of a global pandemic and offering fans an escape from that reality.

“It won’t be a main focus on the storyline because as a consumer, we know that there’s fatigue around that,” Hecht said. “We don’t want to relive some of the moments that we’ve already lived once through.”

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Source:: Business Insider


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