Set to premiere October 1, Hooking Up is a web series from HBOlab – a subsidiary of Home Box Office nestled in a corner of the network’s West Coast headquarters. The show is written and directed by Woody Tondorf – who’s also responsible for the Runawaybox productions – and is a highly orchestrated attempt to capitalize on the individual popularity of its stars.
Like a small scale Ocean’s 11 for the YouTube set.
In addition to Lonelygirl Jessica Rose, Hooking Up features web phenoms sxePhil (Philip DeFranco), KevJumba (Kevin Wu), Nalts and Michael Buckley (who just got a dev deal with HBOlab). They’re the 9th, 6th, 85th, and 8th Most Subscribed to YouTube Channels of All Time, whose subscription totals add up to over 793,327. That’s a helluva lot of viewers.
But let’s assume there’s a lot of overlap and everyone who subscribes to one of them subscribes to the others. That still means there are at least 281,000 people signed up to watch. That’s still a helluva lot of inherent viewership for a web show.
According to The Hollywod Reporter, the 10-episode series “puts its Internet all-stars to work acting as students at a fictional university where the populace spends most of its time e-mailing, instant-messaging and Twittering, but always seems to be miscommunicating.”
Andrew questions whether or not these YouTube vloggers can act, especially DeFranco and Wu, who have lead roles but zero acting experience. Judging by their webcams and the 15-second preview above, I don’t think they’ll do a bang up job appealing to their core audience and attracting a new one.
After all, if you’re one of the top 10 YouTubers of All Time, you’re there for a reason.
DeFranco, Wu and the rest of the cast obviously possess an engaging appeal that comes across on camera. And because of their popularity, these guys always produce near-guaranteed hits. Not every video is going to be a viral homerun, but even their least popular productions make it out of the infield (i.e. Wu’s Least Viewed video has been seen 290,957 times, DeFranco’s 2nd Least Viewed video is at 23,477 views).
Plus, they’ll have some help from Jessica Rose, who’s building up quite the online acting resume. In addition to being the original Lonelygirl, she’s also starring in the just-launched WB series, Sorority Fever, and the soon-to-launch 60Frames series, Blood Cell.