Yahoo Unveils Celeb-Driven Online Series at NewFront
The search giant continues its winning online video ways with Hollywood talent and television partnerships.
In a packed newfront presentation in New York City's Times Square, Yahoo announced new online series starring Ed Helms and John Stamos, as well as novel TV partnerships that create pre-show viewing hubs.
NewFront week is the online video community's version of television upfronts: a place to win advertising support for upcoming projects and perhaps demonstrate some star power. Yahoo has emerged as one of the leaders in online video, with solid comedy hits, including three seasons of "Burning Love," a parody of "The Bachelor."
In Monday's newfront, Yahoo announced a series called "Tiny Commando," created by Ed Helms and starring Zachary Levi, about a Smurf-sized private investigator. Also, John Stamos will star in a series called "Losing Your Virginity With John Stamos," in which celebs describe their first times, and then those stories are dramatized with puppets and dolls. Morgan Spurlock will produce the series.
Yahoo also announced a series starring Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris called "We Need Help," about two actresses sharing an assistant.
In an interesting collaboration with television, Yahoo announced that it will create an online hub for WWE wrestling fans starting this summer. Fans will get a pre-show for "Monday Night Raw," two weekly online original series, and a video-on-demand archive of WWE matches and highlights. Yahoo will also create online extensions for three ABC news programs.
Prior to its newfront, Yahoo announced that it will present an online comedy starring Jack Black, and will soon host the complete "Saturday Night Live" archives online.
The Yahoo Digital Content NewFront concluded with a 30-minute live performance by The Lumineers, which was streamed on Yahoo Music.
Yahoo wasn't the only company holding a newfront presentation Monday. Earlier in the day, the Weather Channel announced three series that will play both on TV and online. The series ("I Am Unstoppable," about disabled athletes; "Virus Hunters," about contagious threats; and "Alive," about weather-related dramas) will each contain six two- to four-minute episodes. On TV, they'll air between regular programming; online, all the episodes will be available for viewing from the launch. The Wall Street Journal also hosted a newfront, in which it announced "Startup of the Year," a documentary series that will pair innovative startups with mentors. The series will debut on June 24.
Katie Couric, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino join Yahoo execs to lure advertisers and partners.
In a move to make the growing newfront season more inclusive, IAB is taking over from Digitas.
Once known solely for search, Yahoo is responsible for some of the web's biggest shows and is becoming a major online video destination.