This morning Crackle, Sony Pictures Television’s web arm, announced a “season” of original web series programming which includes a slate of brand new shows as well as a few returning series all set to premiere beginning December 1, with weekly programming planned for every day of the week. Highlights of the 13-week season include a talk show with Emmy nominated writer Bob Kushell (featuring guests including Jennifer Esposito, Neil Patrick Harris, John Stamos and Christina Applegate), new seasons of Owen Benjamin Presents and The Jace Hall Show, and the debut of David Faustino‘s new comedy series Star-ving (premiering January 16, 2009).
Crackle has come a long way since its $65 million acquisition of video sharing site Grouper in 2006, partnering with content creators including The Guild producer and Hollywood Web Television Meetup presenter Kim Evey’s Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, and acquiring worldwide distribution rights to Rocketboom. “Delivering on our promise to debut high-quality original content on a daily basis, Crackle’s next programming slate combines new episodes of some of our most popular series with fresh new shows,” said Eric Berger, Senior Vice President, Sony Digital Networks. “From series like David Faustino’s Star-ving to the new feature titles we’re adding regularly, we’re a one-stop entertainment destination.”
It’s surprising that the web studios, many of which are attached or affiliated with network television studios, have taken this long to discover the value of programmed content. We have been championing shows that commit to regular release with the Tubefilter Web Television Schedule. This migration from the haphazard, viral, word-of-mouth driven distribution strategies that evolved out of the YouTube revolution to a more professional, strategic distribution model that requires both commitment and risk marks another victory for web television. We look forward to seeing other studios follow suit.
As for the lineup itself, Crackle’s risky programming move is offset by safe bets on content—most of the new shows are star driven reality shows or returns of proven series, which I find discouraging. I hope Crackle will still make room for brilliant and daring shows like Crackle Originals The Rascal, Mr. Deity, and The Line.
The Jace Hall Show: Film, television, and videogame producer Jason “Jace” Hall hosts this lifestyle series that mixes Hollywood glitz and gamer geekdom.
The Hustler: Does this mysterious man (Law & Order’s Mark Fuerstein) hustle children, the elderly and other vulnerables just to make a quick buck—or is there something more elusive going on?
The Groundlings Season 2: The venerable Hollywood improv group is back with more signature sketches and short series.
Owen Benjamin Presents: The House Bunny’s Owen Benjamin returns with a new season of how-to segments, music videos, and online vignettes.
Anytime with Bob Kushell: The Emmy-nominated writer brings you everything you expect from a late-night talk show: short monologue, comedy bits, full in-studio band, and celebrity interviews, al in a comically compact five minute package filmed in a garage.
Star-ving: David Faustino and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’s Corin Nemec star in a comedy series about a broke out of work actor (Faustino) who reinvigorates an inherited porn shop with the help of his Hollywood friends.