By Sahil Patel
In addition to ordering four more seasons of its flagship series, Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Crackle announced today that it’s working on new programming with stars like Bryan Cranston, Jeremy Renner, and Robert Downey, Jr.
“We are a studio and a network,” said Crackle GM Eric Berger at the company’s second Newfront presentation, pointing to how Crackle both produces its original content and distributes it across a portfolio of 30 apps for mobile and connected-TV platforms. “As a result we are able to provide quality long form programming and unique solutions to advertisers, with certainty around the content, platforms, and timing.”
In 2014, Berger said Crackle plans to produce more than 100 episodes of original, full-length programming across scripted, unscripted, comedy, drama, music, and reality formats.
The slate includes returning series like the third season of the Milo Ventimiglia-produced “Chosen,” which debuted on the streaming service two weeks ago. A fourth season is also in the works, as announced by season three star Chad Michael Murray on stage at the Newfront.
“Cleaners,” an action series starring Emmanuelle Chriqui and Emily Osment, is also coming back later this year for a 12-episode second season. Crackle originally announced the renewal of the show, which was part of last year’s Newfronts slate, in January.
It was the new programming, though, that should catch more attention.
Among the new projects that Crackle is currently in development or production are: “Sports Jeopardy,” which will be hosted by “Football Night in America” anchor Dan Patrick; “The Throwaways,” a hacker film executive produced by and starring Jeremy Renner; and “Tightrope,” a comedy series from executive producer Bryan Cranston that will replace a character from a classic detective series with a modern-day actor.
More episodes of “Playing It Forward,” a music series that features major Sony artists doing unannounced, unexpected performances in LA, are also in the works. Produced by Robert Downey, Jr.’s Team Downey shingle, the series debuted last year with an episode starring John Legend. Berger said that each episode of “Playing It Forward” will lead to a $100,000 donation to a charity or initiative of the artist’s choice.
On the advertising front, Crackle has inked an upfront deal with Publicis Groupe’s Spark, which will now have access to “premium video inventory” across Crackle’s network. Spark also gets a first-look at integrations with Crackle original shows and movies.
For instance, the first five minutes of “The Throwaways” will include a branded integration opportunity for a technology or lifestyle brand, according to James Smith, head of digital media sales at Crackle and PlayStation. It’s similar to an opportunity that Crackle made available for the first episode of “Cleaners” last year.
And, as you know by now, Crackle and Jerry Seinfeld have already received recognition for the custom spots and branded integration they have done for Acura as part of the brand’s multi-season sponsorship of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Here is Crackle’s 2014 programming slate:
12 episode Series Scheduled to Premiere on Crackle in August
A sophisticated, intense thriller, starring Jesse Bradford (BRING IT ON), Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”),Patrick Warburton (“Rules of Engagement”), and Bruce Davison (X-MEN) about a jury sequestered in a hotel while deliberating a court case with massive implications. Series is produced by Lifeboat Productions and created by Aaron Tracy.
Game Show Series Scheduled to Air Weekly on Crackle for 52 Weeks
“Sports Jeopardy!,” which will be hosted by the Emmy®-Award winning sportscaster Dan Patrick, is a spinoff of Sony Pictures’ record Emmy®-Award winning hit game show. “Sports Jeopardy!” will be unique in its level of interactivity, allowing viewers to download a mobile application that will interact with the show as a second screen application to unlock new clues.
Feature Film Scheduled to Premiere this Winter, 90 Minutes
Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield (THE HURT LOCKER, THE TOWN) executive produces this suspenseful thriller about a notorious hacker captured by the CIA who is given a proposition to work for them or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Emmy®-Award winner Bryan Cranston returns to his comedic roots to executive produce this series that will replace a character from a classic detective series with a modern-day actor. The show juxtaposes the modern character, with irreverent comic sensibilities and also with older characters from another era to reshape the stories into contemporary comedy.
“COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE,” SEASON 4
Comedy Series, 5 episodes, Scheduled to Premiere in Early Summer
Back for a fourth season, the Emmy® nominated series created, written and produced by Jerry Seinfeld, will feature guests including Aziz Ansari, Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Klein and George Wallace. Sponsored by Acura.
“COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE,” SEASON 5
Comedy Series, 7 episodes, Scheduled to Premiere in the Fall
Special comedian guests to be announced soon. Sponsored by Acura.
“CHOSEN,” SEASON 4
The fourth season of the critically-acclaimed series is set to begin development. The series is executive produced by Milo Ventimiglia andRuss Cundiff alongside creators Ben Ketai (30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DARK DAYS) and Ryan Lewis (HIGH SCHOOL, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD), and written by Evan Charnov (LOST BOYS: THE THIRST) and Ben Ketai.
“PLAYING IT FORWARD”
Music Documentary Series
The special street performance-style reality series is produced by Team Downey, an entertainment company founded by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, alongside veteran music producer/composer Tony Berg and Kevin Lake. The “Playing It Forward” music movement will showcase surprise street performances by some of the world’s biggest artists in unplanned, unexpected environments across the country benefiting music education and charities of the artists’ choice.