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'American Idol' meets 'The Office' in new Fine Bros show on YouTube Red

Reporter's note: This is part of a series featuring each new original show or movie debuting on YouTube Red. The subscription streaming service's first slate of originals launched in February.

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — "Why aren't people making fun of this more?"

That's what the creative duo and brothers Benny and Rafi Fine thought every time they watched a reality TV show that centered around singing. It was that observation that inspired Sing It!, which made its series debut Wednesday on YouTube Red.

The scripted series — from Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films — marks the first YouTube Red series for the Fine Brothers, who have remained popular influencers on the platform since 2007 (despite a recent controversy over their "react" videos). 

The 10-episode show is a workplace comedy about a singing competition show (a la American Idol or The Voice). It features a mix of both traditional and digital stars including Mircea Monroe (Hart of Dixie) Missi Pyle (Gone Girl), Debby Ryan (Disney Channel’s Jessie) and Mark Sullivan (Guest of a Nation).

It also includes actual singing competition alumni, including Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo (the married couple who competed on American Idol) and Leah Lewis (The Voice Season Four). 

"The concept comes primarily from watching a lot of reality TV, singing shows primarily," Benny Fine told Mashable on set in December. "The shows are getting so repetitive."

Benny said the duo also had a desire to bring more interactive elements to their own scripted content, which many traditional reality shows excel at.

With Sing It!, YouTube Red viewers will actually be able to vote for which fictional contestant they want to win ahead of the final episode. Contestants will actually be eliminated based on who viewers pick, giving an immersive element to the digital show.

"It's like Game of Thrones, you don't know who is going to die," Rafi joked of the Sing It! end result. 

"We'd love to blur the lines of reality as much as possible," Benny added. 

Though the Fine Bros. began on YouTube, over the past few years they have turned their company into a full service production studio, home to digital series, television shows and feature films.

Under their Fine Brothers Entertainment banner, the pair produce 10 serialized shows a week across two YouTube channels for a dedicated fanbase of upwards of 20 million subscribers and have branched out beyond the digital sphere with shows for Nickelodeon and Freeform, as well as a feature film, F&%$ The Prom, which is currently in post-production.

The series gave Benny and Rafi the opportunity to do a different kind of project for the platform they grew up on, while also partnering with a traditional company.

Mandeville Films, which produced USA's Monk and ABC's The Family (recently canceled), picked up Sing It as its first digital endeavor.

"We wanted to venture into this world with somebody, or in this case somebodies, who had success and understood the world more than we did," producer Todd Lieberman told Mashable. "It's been an enormous amount of fun, we've learned an incredible amount from The Fine Brothers and how to go make something in this world, which at the end of the day in execution isn't that different than making something in the traditional world." 

Lieberman anticipated Mandeville will take on more digital projects in the future.

"I see YouTube Red as another way to consume content," he said. "Now everyone says [the entertainment industry] is like the Wild West — so many channels, streaming services ... For us, there are now so many opportunities to tell stories."

On set, a YouTube Space sound stage is decked out with lights — the brightest was of course a marquee featuring the show's title Sing It! which perched just above a table where the show's judges normally sit.

It was the second-to-last day of the 31-day shoot, and the cast and crew were already on take 228. The scene — no spoilers — features one contestant sharing an intimate moment with a character who plays a production assistant.

Benny clutched a folded up script in his hand and put it in his jean pocket. Nearby, Rafi rested his hand on his chin, staring carefully at the monitors.

"Can I get the line?" one of the young actors, who plays a singing contestant, asked.

"Girls as pretty as you aren't usually nice to me," a script coordinator yelled back.

After a few takes, the scene comes to an end. The Fine Brothers smiled and exchanged satisfied looks. 

"That was a good, good take," Benny said. 

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