Since the cessation of its Original Channels Initiative, YouTube has mostly offered assistance to its creative community through programs like its Spaces and its creator-focused advertising campaigns. Now, YouTube will once again directly fund content from its biggest stars. It has announced its plan to finance original series created by The Fine Bros, Prank Vs. Prank, Joey Graceffa, and Smosh.
We first heard about YouTube’s plan to fund shows from its creators in September 2014, when the site’s Head of Originals, Alex Carloss, wrote in a blog post that YouTube had “decided to fund new content from some of our top creators, helping them not only fulfill their creative ambitions but also deliver new material to their millions of fans on YouTube.” Then, in October of that year, YouTube re-organized its content division, placing Tim Shey in charge of scripted content, Ivana Kirkbride in charge of unscripted content, and Ben Relles in charge of comedy. In January 2015, at the NATPE conference in Miami, Carloss provided some more hints about the upcoming original content push.
As the reorganization of YouTube’s content team forecasted, the four new series are a mix of scripted and unscripted projects. Here, via a YouTube blog post written by Carloss, is information about them all:
- Since launching their first YouTube channel in 2007, the Fine Brothers’ channels have amassed over 17 million subscribers and over 3 billion views as well as earning a Daytime Emmy. They’ll continue the hot streak with their new scripted comedy series that takes a satirical look at the world of singing competition shows, produced in partnership with Mandeville Films.
- For six years, Prank vs. Prank have waged an epic prank war on each other in front of an audience of nearly 14 million subscribers and generated nearly 3 billion views on their two channels. In their forthcoming series, celebrity guests join Jesse and Jeana to pull off their most ambitious pranks yet.
- Joey Graceffa has built a devoted fan following of over 5 million subscribers, cumed over 600 million views and earned two Teen Choice nominations through his channels’ daily vlogs, scripted series and short films. Now Joey will lead an all-star cast of YouTubers in his all-new murder mystery reality series.
- For a decade, Smosh has been entertaining a YouTube fanbase of over 35 million subscribers across their channels with comedy sketches that have generated over 7 billion views. In their new comedy series, we’ll see Ian and Anthony working at a theme restaurant where out-of-control kids and crazy parents are all in a day’s work.
“We are excited to be part of this new phase with YouTube to continue our decade long passion to produce premium online shows,” said The Fine Bros in a press release. “This partnership with YouTube and Mandeville will take that to a whole new level. With our strong distribution and the support of our audience, we’re ready to keep innovating.”
All four of the new projects will premiere on YouTube. Specific release dates have not yet been announced.