With over 5.6 million subscribers and upwards of 1.3 billion views, The Lonely Island is one of the most popular channels on YouTube. Unfortunately, the channel has been completely dark for the past six months, depriving viewers of any new comedy music videos.
According to Variety, The Lonely Island’s new deal will be different than what we’ve come to expect from members Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer. Instead of musical hip-hop comedy, they will focus on creating “serial comedy programming” as well as “overseeing development and finding talent.” The Lonely Island team has plenty of experience behind the camera that will help complete these tasks; Schaffer directed 2007 comedy film Hot Rod, while Taccone helmed 2010 SNL spinoff MacGruber. As for Samberg, he doesn’t have as many directing credits, but he did just win a Golden Globe, so he has that going for him.
FOX previously dabbled in online video by investing in WIGS, the YouTube channel featuring a variety of female-focused programming. The Lonely Island deal represents a different approach, one that moves away from YouTube and towards Hulu (co-owned by FOX) and Roku (for which FOX is an investor). I would’ve loved to see the triumphant return of one of YouTube’s most popular channels, but I suppose comedy videos created by the Lonely Island team are the next best thing.