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From the Digital NewFronts: 15 Shows for AOL, Start-Up Doc for WSJ and More



Curt-Hecht-2This week, all of the top media companies in the US have gathered together in New York City to present their digital content to potential advertisers. It’s the online version of the TV Upfronts, which they’ve dubbed The Digital Content NewFronts.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s in the works.

The Wall Street Journal

Did you know that WSJ creates more than 100 hours of video content every month. I had no idea. Now, they’re pushing even further into that area with several exciting new shows including WorldStream, a short-form Vlog platform for international journalists. The one I’m most interested in is “WSJ Startup of the Year.” In this series, which premieres in June, 25 aspiring entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch their best idea to mentors such as Sir Richard Branson, Ray Kurzweil of Google and Carly Fiorina, chairman Good360.

Weather Channel

As always, I’m amazed to learn that there are “weather enthusiasts” but hey. . . more power to ‘em. For those people, The Weather Channel is producing three short-form shows only one of which actually has anything to do with the weather. . .

  • “Alive” (December) – first-person accounts of people who survived life-threatening weather events.
  • I Am Unstoppable” (October) – profiling six athletes who overcome physical disabilities
  • “Virus Hunters” (November) – a docu about killer-virus outbreaks. (Yikes!)

yahoo newfrontsYahoo!

These guys are going for the laughs and they want to be helpful They have six new original shows. They also have a distribution arrangement with WWE, ABC News and they recently got an exclusive lock on the entire run of Saturday Night Live.

New Comedy Shows (coming to Yahoo! Fall 2013):

  • “Tiny Commando” — Ed Helms created and stars, along with Zachary Levi, Gillian Jacobs, and some of the biggest names in comedy, in the Principato-Young Entertainment production, “Tiny Commando,” an action-packed series following a four-inch-tall private investigator who uses his awesome fleet of vehicles to fight crime.
  • “We Need Help” — In Vuguru’s “We Need Help,” creators, producers and stars Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris exploit their shared personal assistant in the series produced by Principato-Young Entertainment and Steve Carr, and directed by Hines.
  • “Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos” — John Stamos interviews celebrities about their first sexual experiences in “Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos,” co-produced by Warriors Poets and executive produced by Morgan Spurlock and John Stamos.

New Lifestyle Shows (coming to Yahoo! later this year):

  • “Fashion Recipe” — Celebrity stylist Brett Alan Nelson shows you how to get the most from one particular article of clothing.
  • “Cinema & Spice” — Julianna Strickland and Natasha Feldman explore food and film while teaching viewers new cooking skills and decorating ideas.
  • “Grill Girls” (working title) — A new grilling show featuring Chef Megan Mitchell sharing her grilling secrets and tips for everything from steaks, to peaches and pizza.

AOL

AOL came in with the most ambitious schedule – 15 original shows with some top talent including:

  • A New York City Ballet documentary produced by Sarah Jessica Parker
  • An inspirational series with Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracy Anderson
  • Parenting with Hank Azaria
  • Now Eat This! Italy with Rocco Dispirito
  • My Ink, the story behind sports stars tattoos.
  • And. . . a reality show based on Nicole Ritchie’s Twitter account. (Sigh)

And that’s just a few of the media companies who are making a big splash with original video content. In addition, many of the companies said they were actively looking for new partners to create new content and that folks could look forward to more creative ads in the future.

Looks like a whole new world has opened up for producers, actors, directors and writers. I like it.