After Susanne Daniels arrived from MTV to assume her post as VP of YouTube Originals last fall, some said it was only a matter of time before she pivoted away from digital influencers and adopted a Netflix-style approach, with traditional film and TV talent.
But the new slate of exclusive originals for the subscription service YouTube Red unveiled by Daniels at the YouTube keynote address at VidCon on Thursday afternoon was packed with platform-native talent, including Rhett & Link, PewDiePie, Smosh and Vsauce creator Michael Stevens.
“If we ask our creators, most of them will tell you that there’s a project, an idea, a collaboration, or a vision that they’ve always wanted to bring to life,” Daniels told the crowd. “YouTube has helped them achieve incredible things — build a fanbase, gain exposure, even earn serious money — but sometimes, they dream of something more. Late last year we launched YouTube Red Originals for exactly that reason. We wanted to help our creators realize their ambitions on the platform where their community already lives.
The new YouTube Red slate is as follows:
“Scare PewDiePie,” Season 2: A reality adventure series produced by Maker Studios, Skybound Entertainment (the creator and executive producers of “The Walking Dead” franchise) and Felix (“PewDiePie”) Kjellberg under the Revelmode banner.
“Foursome,” Season 2: Jenn McAllister returns as Andie Fixler for another round of high school awkwardness and extracurricular hooking up. Produced by AwesomenessTV.
New to YouTube Red:
“Step Up” series. A small screen adaptation of the dance film franchise that launched the career of Channing Tatum. “Step Up” film producers Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton will executive produce the series, along with Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who both co-starred in the original “Step Up” film.
“Rhett & Link’s Buddy System”: A new scripted comedy series in which popular YouTube duo Rhett & Link seek to regain control of their internet empire from their mutual co-ex-girlfriend who is now an evil infomercial queen holding a big secret over their heads. The series also features “Saturday Night Live” alumni Molly Shannon and Chris Parnell, along with as Leslie Bibb and Page Kennedy.
“Dan & Phil Tour Documentary”: Top YouTube comedy stars, Dan Howell and Phil Lester take their fans into the auditorium and behind the curtain of their latest world tour, “The Amazing Tour Is Not On Fire.”
“Vlogumentary”: Executive produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”), Maker Studios and Shay “ShayCarl” Butler, “Vlogumentary” takes an intimate look at some of YouTube’s biggest creators and demonstrates the power of the platform in shaping the lives of creative voices, their audiences and the media landscape.
Untitled Smosh Movie: After releasing the episodic series “Part Timers” on YouTube (but not YouTube Red) in January, Smosh brings an exclusive feature-length comedy to the subscription service in which luckless Charlie (Anthony Padilla) moves into a new apartment, only to find he’s living with a self-centered ghost named Max (Ian Hecox). Max makes Charlie’s life a living hell, until they learn that the only way Max can get into heaven is by working together with his new roomie.
Untitled Animated Series: 3Blackdot and its top YouTube creators SeaNanners, TheMrSark and VanossGaming star in an animated comedy series, helmed by Michael Rowe, the Emmy-winning writer of “Futurama” and “Family Guy,” about a team of ill-equipped paranormal investigators who struggle to unravel mysteries for their desperate clients.
Untitled Michael Stevens Project: In this new educational series, Vsauce creator Michael Stevens will take a deeper look into the human mind, using real subjects, including himself and special guests, to show some of the most fascinating, important and least understood aspects of human nature.
“Our original series and movies are one of the leading drivers of YouTube Red subscriptions, with viewership that rivals similar cable shows,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki during her portion of the keynote. “We’re also seeing creators featured in YouTube Red Originals get a boost in subscribers and watchtime on their main channels, with most of this watchtime coming from viewers who haven’t watched that creator’s content before. It turns out that there’s a virtuous cycle from YouTube Red that actually supports their existing channel on YouTube.”
YouTube’s VidCon keynote also included announcements about new features for the platform, including mobile live streaming.