On the digital slate: NewFronts wrap-up

Realscreen offers a look at the unscripted content making its way online via such companies as AOL, Yahoo, Discovery Digital Studios, Maker Studios, Endemol Beyond USA, and others. (Pictured: YouTuber and adventurer Louis Cole)
May 8, 2015

Over the past two weeks, traditional and digital media companies have convened in New York City to present their online content offerings to advertisers at the annual NewFronts. Here, realscreen offers a look at the unscripted content making its way online via such companies as AOL, Yahoo, Discovery Digital Studios, Maker Studios, Endemol Beyond USA, and others.

AOL/NBCUniversal content deal: A content distribution and development deal struck between AOL and NBCUniversal will see clips and segments from select NBCU entertainment and news programming available via AOL On through multiple platforms. Also, the two companies will co-develop and coproduce original web series for distribution across the NBCU and AOL platforms.

Journey to the Draft: An original docuseries following three college football players from across the U.S., all vying for the same goal – to get drafted as high as possible during the NFL draft. The 10-part series from Relativity Television and Relativity Sports debuted on April 28 and wrapped on May 6.

Beyond the Horizon with Jared Leto: Billed as an interview documentary series, Beyond the Horizon sees the Academy Award-winning actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman “engaging in conversations about the future with the world’s most interesting visionaries in the arenas of science, art, technology and politics.”

Act Like a Musician: AOL says this docuseries, which brings actors into the rehearsal studio with their favorite bands to learn and perform one of their biggest hits, is “where the A-list meets the set list.”

Citizen Mars: The Mars 100 competition is part of the controversial Mars One project which will – if all goes according to plan – see ordinary citizens attempt to make their way to Mars. This webseries will feature “extensive vérité” as it follows five finalists from the 100 people moving to the next round of selection.

#BUILTBYGIRLS: Girl U: Four young women are given a crash course in a subject – ranging from film and fashion to business and robotics –by a different “influencer” in each episode, and must complete a challenge related to it in just 24 hours.

Ultimate DJ: EDM DJs face off against each other to potentially spin their way to a record deal with Ultra Records and Sony Music and a slot on an EDM concert. Produced by Simon Cowell and Kelly Belldegrun for Syco Entertainment, Patrick Moxey for Ultra Records, and Ian Stewart and Hamish Hamilton for Done and Dusted.

I Am Naomi: Supermodel Naomi Campbell hosts this web series on Yahoo Style, in which she will talk with the “world’s most powerful and influential people.”

Riding Shotgun with Michelle Rodriguez: Appearing on Yahoo Autos, this web series sees the Fast & Furious star test drive new cars.

American Woman: Produced in collaboration with ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions, this docuseries takes an irreverent look at “the women who made America great,” and features Maker talent traveling through history “in search of the tough mothers who helped create our young nation.”

I Am Maker: From Maker, World of Wonder and ABC Family, this docuseries examines what it takes to make it as a YouTube star. The “aspirational” docuseries will follow a group of content creators as they live together under one roof and are mentored by top online talent.

Vida Belleza channel: CNÉ is launching a new channel – its 19th – geared towards female Latino millennials. Vida Belleza will feature a mix of programming covering beauty, food, lifestyle, celebrity, culture and docuseries, and will launch later this year.

The Perfect Match: Streaming on its Glamour channel, this web series uses a 48-point checklist to match up women with their “ideal mate” and then follows the couple on its first date to test the wish list’s value.

How to Think Like a Tree: Airing on CNÉ’s Wired channel, this docuseries explores the rise of “biomimicry,” or “the idea of looking to nature for inspiration in the way we design our products, our homes and our cities.”

It’s My Party: For its Bon Appétit channel, this series delves into what it takes to “party in DIY style” and looks at how celebrity foodies entertain at home.


Epic Tool Time: Harley Morenstein and the team behind CDS sensation Epic Meal Time are getting out of the kitchen and into the shed with this series, in which they will “create extreme gadgets that men only dream about.”

Fake Company Incorporated: Charlie Todd and his performance art/prank collective Improv Everywhere will create a fake office that will also serve as “a hidden camera playground where the team will surprise unsuspecting workers with the weirdest, most fun day on the job they’ve ever had.”

Prank Week: Pranks pull big views online, and CDS will bring together a team they bill as “YouTube’s biggest mischief makers” for five days of full prank programming, which the MCN expects will amass up to 180 million total views.

Shaycation: Pretty Little Liars star and social media savyy celeb Shay Mitchell takes viewers to some of the world’s most exotic locales, such as Belize and the south of France, in this travel series.

Science of Fashion: A new series from fashion blogger Wendy Nguyen, creator of the blog Wendy’s Lookbook and the woman behind the huge viral video “25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes,” that explores the intersection of science and fashion.

While Vice Media CEO Shane Smith didn’t pinpoint the channel that would be airing the new content – no mention of the as-yet-unconfirmed, much-discussed A+E Networks/Vice joint venture that would see Vice take over H2 was offered – he did, during the edgy content company’s NewFront presentation, lift the lid on several new, on-brand series, while highlighting existing Vice content properties that will also head to “a new channel.”

Vice Portraits: Comedian and podcaster Marc Maron will host this series, in which he talks to “celebrities, actors and directors.”

F*** That’s Delicious: Rapper and food aficionado Action Bronson’s series, which currently runs on Vice food vertical Munchies, follows his “culinary adventures” while on tour.

Gaycation: Actor Ellen Page hosts this travelog that explores international LGBT culture.

Weediquette: A series that explores the “weirdest weed characters and the weirdest weed places.”


Your Doc: A Nat Geo-hosted video community in which “viewsers” can team up with National Geographic producers to create content.

#InAWeekend: This web series follows several thrill-seeking friends as they attempt to have a great adventure over the course of one weekend.

Take It Outside: Five photographers in different corners of the world capture their own perspectives on nature.

Campfire Stories: Viewers can gather “around the campfire” and be regaled with epic tales by Nat Geo explorers and adventurers.

Adventure 5: A webseries exploring the top 5 facts you need to know about adventure-related topics.

Investigation Explorer: An investigative journalism series that pledges to dive deep into stories of global importance.

Long Story Shorts: A short-form series that will deliver the history of a particular topic in one minute.


Discovery Virtual: VR is becoming big business now, and Discovery is entering the fray through its digital media division. Discovery Digital Studios SVP Conal Byrne told NewFront audiences that Discovery Channel staple MythBusters is working on VR content for next season, and other content utilizing the technology is now in development.

Flying the Globe: YouTube adventurer Louis Cole (pictured) is bringing his popular FunForLouis YT channel to Discovery’s Seeker channel. The adventure-themed channel will feature his upcoming series, Flying the Globe (w/t), in which Cole will circumnavigate the globe over a span of 60 to 90 days, touching down in 22 cities along the way and documenting his exploits various assorted social media platforms.

TLCme: This new digital hub will feature contributors from the female-skewing net’s programming fare, including Love, Lust or Run’s Stacy London, and will post daily content in six categories: family, home, beauty, health, style and food. The site launched this week in conjunction with TLC’s ‘Mother of All Weeks’ programming stunt.


Looksy: One of two new digital-first networks unveiled by Endemol Beyond at its Newfront, Looksy aims to “fuse the sexy edge of young Hollywood pop culture with the brash humor and relatability of digital stars.” Content includes the reality series True Internet Tales from exec producer Michael Lynn, and Deep Insider, which offers first-person accounts from digital influencers and traditional media stars about celebrity encounters, pop culture trends and current events.

Smasher: The other of the two new digital nets has a decidedly millennial male skew and combines sports, gaming and comedy. Series include U.S. versions of the Endemol Beyond UK imports Legends of Gaming and Rule’m Sports, and Offsides, in which a top YouTube prankster sets out to prank celebrity athletes.

Endemol Beyond has also extended its relationship with music star Pitbull via two new series: Masterclass, in which male and female hosts get schooled by experts in a wide range of fields; and Pitbull Presents, which introduces viewers to a range of individuals who play a key role in the day-to-day life of the performer.

American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez has also signed an overall deal with Endemol Beyond USA , which will have her featured across an array of its digital networks.

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