Discovery + has ordered three further court battle shows in its ‘vs’ series, from Optomen TV, after the initial two-parter Johnny vs Amber became the streamer’s top performing acquisition driver in the UK.
Optomen is making a follow-up to Johnny vs Amber, focusing on the US perspective, and two further ‘vs’ series: Coleen vs Rebekah and Britney vs Jamie.
The new series were ordered for discovery+ by Clare Laycock, commissioned by Charlotte Reid and executive produced by Matt Reid for Warner Bros. Discovery in the UK. They are executive produced by Nick Hornby and Sarah Eglin for Optomen TV.
Nick Hornby, Co-ceo at Optomen TV, said: “The discovery+ ‘vs’ format allows viewers to make up their own minds about some of the most reported stories of our times, and will offer an in-depth look at them from both sides.”
In March 2019 Depp filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018. In the article, she referred to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Whilst not named in the piece, Depp who has denied accusations of abuse, claims this damaged his reputation and career. Heard subsequently countersued Depp for $100million, with her legal team accusing him of orchestrating a smear campaign against her.
The newly commissioned two-part discovery+ documentary will again look at the extensive evidence and testimony of both Depp and Heard. Each episode will present one side of the argument through legal teams, friends, family and key witnesses allowing discovery+ viewers to decipher the story behind the headlines in this complex case centered on the difficult and important issue of domestic abuse.
Coleen vs Rebekah will examine the recent UK court battle between high profile footballers’ wives Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy. In October 2019, Rooney discovered someone was leaking personal information to The Sun newspaper and, determined to identify who was responsible, she posted a series of fake stories on her private Instagram. Coleen subsequently announced via social media that Rebekah Vardy was the source. Vardy, who has maintained her innocence throughout these claims, sued Rooney for defamation resulting in one of the biggest celebrity showdowns of recent years.
At the end of 2021, global pop star Britney Spears announced to the world that she had broken free from her controversial 13 year conservatorship after her father Jamie Spears was suspended as her conservator. Now she has indicated she may press charges against her father for financial corruption and conservator abuse. Britney vs Jamie will look into the truth behind the headlines, accusations and very public family feud, examining an archive of media interviews and appearances, photos, social media posts and legal testimony from the case.
Clare Laycock, SVP Planning & Insights, Head of Entertainment, Warner Bros. Discovery UK, said, “When we commissioned Johnny vs Amber for discovery+, we knew that we were tackling a very sensitive case but one with huge global profile and interest that would resonate with our audience. Since it premiered in December last year, Johnny vs Amber has been one of the most successful unscripted discovery+ Originals, currently the number 1 acquisition driver in the UK as well topping engagement figures and traveling globally across the US, EMEA and our wider international markets.
“This unique format examines each side of the story as played out in the legal trials and the court of public opinion, with access to opposing legal teams, witnesses, reporters as well as personal archive and testimony to give viewers insight into both sides of some of the most widely debated and high profile celebrity cases.”
The three new series will drop on discovery+ in the UK later this year with details on the international roll-out to follow.
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