EXCLUSIVE: Chicken Soup for the Soul Television Group, a division of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, has given a green light to a pilot for original reality series Mutual Aid Brigade. Production will begin in April on the pilot, which will be co-hosted and executive produced by Emmy winner Debra Messing and author, speaker, and activist Shelly Tygielski.
Per producers, Mutual Aid Brigade allows viewers to not only participate in charitable activities on each episode but will also let them see the results of their efforts and contributions. Mutual Aid Brigade stems from the work of the charitable organization Pandemic of Love, founded by Tygielski. Described as mutual aid in action, the volunteer-led community pairs people who need help with people who want to be a part of the solution. To date, POL has transacted more than $100 million in direct giving, according to producers.
Mutual Aid Brigade is executive produced by Tygielski and Gillian Hormel, along with Michael Winter for Chicken Soup for the Soul Studios, Laura deNey and Mustafa Bhagat for production company Flicker Filmworks, Mark Schulman and Molly Madden from 3 Arts Entertainment, Sandy Grushow from Phase 2 Media as well as Debra Messing and showrunner Dorothy Toran.
“Pandemic of Love has proven that a lot of people doing a little bit can create a huge impact,” said Tygielski. “I’m excited that our show will be able to bring the mutual aid model into the collective consciousness of our society. So many families in this country are struggling, and my hope is that Mutual Aid Brigade will be able to remind people that one act of kindness, no matter how small, can ripple out and change lives. Ultimately, this is a show that will inspire viewers to roll up their sleeves and move to action within their own communities.”
“I’m so excited to be working with this amazing team on this transformative series,” said Messing. “Our goal is to make real, lasting change in the lives of people who are hurting and in need. At the same time, demonstrating for our audience how any group of local community members/strangers with a unifying goal, have the power to change lives if they simply show up for one another.”
“We are so honored that Shelly, Gillian and Debra have come to us to help tell their stories. Each episode will embody the ethos and the power of storytelling that has made Chicken Soup for the Soul such a beloved brand around the world,” said Michael Winter, SVP of Production for Chicken Soup for the Soul Studios.