Saturday, October 19, 2019

Nickelodeon Greenlights Unscripted Holiday Series 'Top Elf'; Orders Full Series Pickup of 'The Substitute'

Originally published: Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

Original Nickelodeon Press Release:


Holiday-Themed Competition Show Top Elf Premieres December;
Series Debut of The Substitute Premieres October

Share it: @Nickelodeon #TheSubstitute #TopElf

BURBANK, Calif.—Aug. 28, 2019—Nickelodeon has greenlit a new high-stakes competition series, Top Elf, and ordered a full series pickup of The Substitute, it was announced today by Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President, Unscripted Content. Top Elf, which begins production in September on five one-hour episodes, features kid contestants with extraordinary building and design skills competing for the coveted title of Top Elf.

Hidden camera prank show The Substitute has been picked up for a full 10-episode series order, following the strong performance of two specials which aired earlier this year. Production on The Substitute is underway, with the series premiere airing this October.

Said Bagshaw, “Giving our audience a range of unscripted content in different formats is one of our top priorities. Top Elf is an irresistible opportunity to celebrate the holidays with a uniquely comedic approach to a high-stakes competition. Our first new format from this division earned high marks from our audience, so we’re very pleased to order The Substitute for a full series.”

In Top Elf, Santa has invited seven civilian “Elf-testants” to the North Pole in a competition that tests their skills in a series of holiday-themed challenges. Demonstrating the true spirit of the holidays, the Elf-testants compete to have their wish lists granted--not for themselves, but for someone in their community.

The Substitute features stars who are transformed by a team of Hollywood special effects artists to go undercover as professionals in various fields, surprising unsuspecting kids in schools, camps and other locations. During the reveal at the end of the day, each organization receives a $25,000 donation. The Substitute’s first special debuted in April with guest star Jace Norman (Henry Danger), and the second special premiered in May, guest starring multitalented comedian Lilly Singh.

Top Elf is created by Mike Duffy and Tim Duffy of Ugly Brother Studios, who will executive produce the series along with Jimmy Fox at Main Event Media, an All3Media America company. Bob Schermerhorn (Project Runway All Stars, America’s Next Top Model) and Lisa Fletcher (The Titan Games) are executive producers, with Fletcher also serving as the showrunner. Nickelodeon’s Vice Presidents of Unscripted Content Paul J Medford and Mandel Ilagan also serve as executive producers. Michael Pearlman (Chopped, Project Runway All Stars) will direct the series.

The Substitute is produced by Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation. Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman and Todd Hurvitz (Punk’d), serve as executive producers, with Hurvitz also serving as the showrunner. Jessica Brown, Nickelodeon’s executive in charge of production and Vice President of Current Series, also serves as an executive producer.

Production of The Substitute and Top Elf for Nickelodeon is overseen by Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President, Unscripted Content.

About Ugly Brother Studios

Ugly Brother Studios is the Emmy-winning production company founded by twin brothers Mike Duffy and Tim Duffy. Ugly Brother creates and produces premium content themed around comedy, music, food and family including Ron Funches: Giggle Fit, The Funny Dance Show and the multi-Emmy-winning and James Beard Award-nominated Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse, among others.

About All3Media America

All3Media America is the U.S. arm of global independent television, film and digital production group All3Media. With teams in Los Angeles and New York, All3Media America’s portfolio companies are responsible for hits that include the Emmy Award-winning Undercover Boss for CBS, the Emmy Award-winning United Shades of America for CNN, Chrisley Knows Best for USA, 24 Hours to Hell and Back with Gordon Ramsay for FOX, the Emmy Award-winning Cash Cab for Discovery, Worst Cooks in America for Food Network and Betrayed for Investigation Discovery. All3Media’s unique federal structure, a model followed in both the U.S. and U.K., encourages the creative and strategic independence of its growing roster of production companies. Today comprised of 30 global production companies and counting, All3Media is one of the largest production houses in the world. All3Media is owned jointly between Discovery Communications and Liberty Global.

About Main Event Media

Main Event Media, an All3Media America company, is an Emmy-winning production company based in Los Angeles. Founded by producer Jimmy Fox, the company creates content across multiple genres including scripted, documentary, reality and original podcast production. Main Event is known for the multi-time Emmy-winning CNN series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell and Investigation Discovery’s Breaking Homicide. Additional works include the E! drama series The Arrangement, Snapchat’s original series While Black, multiple specials for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, Amazon Prime’s docuseries Inside Jokes, the comedy series Hollywood Darlings for POP Network, Is OJ Innocent: The Missing Evidence for Investigation Discovery, It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards for Paramount Network and Make Me a Millionaire Inventor for CNBC. Main Event has been recognized for its work garnering TCA, NAACP and International Documentary Association (IDA) nominations.

About The Intellectual Property Corporation

The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) is an Emmy-winning IP creation and production studio based in Van Nuys, California. Founded in 2016, IPC develops and produces a wide range of television, film, documentary, and interactive mobile content. The company currently has series in production or development with a wide range of US broadcast, cable networks, and streamers including “Free Meek” for Amazon and the company's first scripted project, “Dirty Thirty”, for HBO. In 2017, the company was awarded an Emmy and in 2018 a Producers Guild Award for its series “Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath” which was nominated for another Emmy this year. IPC was acquired by Industrial Media in 2018.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

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Top Elf logo:

Update (10/19): Mysticart Pictures held auditions for Top Elf in September 2019!:



From Emmy Award-Winning producers Main Event Media & Ugly Brother Studios comes a holiday competition like no other for a Major Kids Network!

We are now casting contestants between the ages of 9-13 years old for TOP ELF!

Parents, to apply for your child, click "Log In" above! To be considered, potential contestants must have a complete application and release. Parents/legal guardians must complete the application/release in representation of their child.

Parents/legal guardians, if you are completing an application/release for more than one contestant, you must create a SEPARATE profile with for EACH contestant you are applying on behalf of utilizing different email addresses.

Please review the eligibility requirements prior to completing the application for your child:

1. Parents/legal guardians must apply for this show under their own profile on behalf of contestants.
2. Contestants must be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States at the time of filming.
3. Contestants must be between 9 and 13 years of age at the time of application.
4. Contestants must be available for approximately 10 days of filming in Los Angeles in September 2019.
5. Parents/legal guardians of all prospective contestants must complete this application prior to consideration, and may be asked to sign additional casting application and release materials.
6. Contestants must be accompanied by one parent/legal guardian.

If your child is selected as a potential contestant you must execute waivers and release agreements required by Producer and Network or any of their licensees, successors or assigns. All eligibility determinations shall be made solely by Producer and/or Network in its/their sole discretion and are final and binding in all respects.

Producer and Network reserve the right to modify the above eligibility requirements at any time without notice.

In addition, Producer and Network each reserves the right at any time to render ineligible any person who Producer or Network determines, in its sole discretion, is sufficiently connected with the production, administration, or distribution of the Program such that their participation in the Program could create the appearance of impropriety.

Parents/legal guardians, if you have any questions please reach out to our talent team at!


From Auditions Free:

Auditions for Nickelodeon Show Top Elf

Nickelodeon auditions for Nick show Top Elf.

Producers for Nickelodeon are now casting for a new kids reality competition called “Top Elf“. The show and their casting team are looking for kids that are between the ages of 9 and 13 for a holiday reality competition show, like no other, for the Nickelodeon Network.

From Emmy award-winning producers Main Event Media and Ugly Brothers Studios comes “Top Elf.” Top Elf is created by Mike Duffy and Tim Duffy (Ugly Brother Studios) the duo will also be serving as executive producers on the Nickelodeon show along with Jimmy Fox (Main Event Media.) Michael Pearlman (Chopped, Project Runway All Stars) will direct the series.

The show is looking for kids that love the holidays, are filled with holiday spirit and extremely creative to be “Elf-testants” on the new holiday show.

According to Deadline, In Top Elf, Santa has invited seven civilian “Elf-testants” to the North Pole in a competition that tests their skills in a series of holiday-themed challenges. Demonstrating the true spirit of the holidays, the Elf-testants compete to have their wish lists granted–not for themselves, but for someone in their community.

Be sure to check out all the other reality shows that may be currently casting.

Parents, is your child filled with holiday spirit? Are they wildly creative? Are they as artistic and skilled at building and design as one of Santa’s Elves?

If so, parents can apply for their kids to be considered to audition for this new Holiday kids reality competition series.

Please note that parents must apply for their kids and the show is now taking online submissions.

Please see the casting notice [above] for all the details.


The two series join an unscripted and game-show lineup at Nick that also includes reboots of Double Dare and Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, The Crystal Maze, The Dude Perfect Show, Crashletes, Keep it Spotless and Lip Sync Battle Shorties. The network has also greenlit competition show America’s Most Musical Family, hosted by Nick Lachey, premiering Friday, November 1, 2019.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Embarks on New Direction with its Biggest, Most Wide-Ranging Content Slate Ever!

H/T: The Hollywood Reporter.
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon, Top Elf and The Substitute News and Highlights!

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