AwesomenessTV Pacts with Universal Cable Prods. for Long-Form YouTube Musical Drama

YouTube is the first-run platform for “Side Effects,” a 42-minute musical drama aimed at youth audiences co-produced by DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV and NBCUniversal’s Universal Cable Prods.

The show is unusual in that it’s one of the few pieces of long-form original programming produced for YouTube in association with a traditional studio.

“Side Effects,” which for now is a one-off show, was inspired by the phenomenon of people posting their own renditions of pop songs on YouTube. AwesomenessTV launched “Side Effects” on its YouTube channel Tuesday, to coincide with the Google-owned site’s weeklong music event that will culminate Sunday in the first-ever YouTube Music Awards. The soundtrack, which is being distributed by Universal Music Group, is available for purchase via Apple’s iTunes.

In addition to YouTube, Universal Cable will distribute “Side Effects” with various windows to multiple platforms, including international territories, digital download and VOD.

“We are convinced that YouTube will become a new launching pad for long-form television style content, which is why we decided to debut a 42-minute version of ‘Side Effects’ on AwesomenessTV,” AwesomenessTV CEO and founder Brian Robbins said in announcing the show.

“Side Effects” features covers of recent Top 40 hits, including Ke$ha’s “C’Mon,” David Guetta’s “Titanium” and P!nk’s “Try.” The show is told from the perspective of 16-year-old Whitney Connolly (Meg DeLacy), who is prescribed a medication produces a side effect of musical hallucinations as she struggles with the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father.

“Side Effects” executive producers are Robbins, Joe Davola, Shauna Phelan, YouTube multihyphenate Chester See, and Allison Schroeder (“Mean Girls 2” and “90210”), who also wrote the show. It was directed by Matt Stawski (Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”).

The “Side Effects” ensemble cast includes YouTube personalities Chester See (ChesterSee), Lia Marie Johnson (LiaMarieJohnson), Taryn Southern (TarynSouthern), Meghan Rosette (MeghanRosette), Vincent Cyr (IamCyr).

“‘Side Effects’ combines YouTube stars and trends with television narrative and production values, which we believe will be the wave of the future, particularly for our teen/tween audience,” Robbins said.

Universal Cable’s last programming to run on YouTube was the 10-part series “Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome”, which premiered on Machinima last year. To date, that has generated more than 8 million views.

Watch “Side Effects” on YouTube:

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