To fill the void, Crackle has assembled a new slate of original programming, including two crime-themed drama series from rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (pictured above) and a weekly highlights show hosted by YouTube star Ian Hecox. Execs announced the shows at the ad-supported internet network’s upfront presentation for advertisers Wednesday at Manhattan’s Sony Square NYC venue.
Crackle also announced renewals of Bryan Cranston and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios’ “SuperMansion,” “Snatch” and “StartUp” for new seasons along with other new programming in the development pipeline for 2017-18. And, as it was a pitch to the Madison Avenue crowd, Crackle released findings from two studies, one aimed at showing its ad effectiveness and another analyzing consumers whose preferred streaming device is game consoles.
Details of Crackle’s upfront news:
- “The Oath” (working title): Scripted original drama executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit Film & Television production shingle. The series explores the subculture of gangs, whose members are sworn to protect and defend their own. Written and created by former L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy Joe Halpin (“Hawaii Five-O,” “Ice,” “The Lottery”). “The Oath” is executive produced by 50 Cent and G-Unit, Todd Hoffman and Dennis Kim of Storied Media Group, and Halpin, who also serves as showrunner.
- “RPM” (working title): An hour-long original drama series from 50 Cent’s G-Unit, written by Leo Sardarian, set in the working-class streets of Boston’s most corrupt neighborhoods following a used-car salesman who starts moonlighting as a getaway driver for a crime syndicate.
- “Crackle Spotlight: This Week On,” hosted by Ian Hecox: The digital star, half of YouTube comedy duo Smosh (with Anthony Padilla), will highlight new programming on the service in a weekly show slated to debut in May. Smosh, managed by Defy Media, has amassed over 6 billion views and 22 million subscribers.
- “Snatch” Season 2: Heist-comedy series starring Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter” movies) loosely based on the 2000 movie of the same name will return for a second season in 2018. In addition, Crackle announced plans to release a “Snatch” virtual-reality experience on PlayStation VR this summer.
- “StartUp” Season 2: The hour-long drama will return for a second season on Sept. 28 with Ron Perlman (“Hellboy,” “Sons of Anarchy”) joining the cast. Perlman, who will be taking on producer role in the new 10-episode season, joins returning series stars Adam Brody (“CHiPS,” “The League”), Martin Freeman (“Fargo,” “Sherlock”), Edi Gathegi (“The Blacklist”) and Otmara Marrero (“Graceland”).
- “SuperMansion” Season 3: Stop-motion-animated comedy series from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and exec producer Bryan Cranston (who also voices lead character Titanium Rex), will return for a third season in 2018. In addition, Crackle greenlit two new “SuperMansion” specials set to debut this fall and in early 2018.
- “In the Cloud”: Techno-thriller feature film from Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (“Insidious: Chapter Three”) set to begin production in late summer 2017. The movie is about a secretive tech company, Cloud Inc., which is developing software capable of uploading a person’s consciousness and memories to a virtual space. Produced by Kring’s Imperative Entertainment and Kavanaugh-Jones’ Automatik.
- “Accident Park” (in development): Comedy written by Pete Marquis and Jamie T. McCellan is produced by Zach Levi’s Middle Man Productions and Erik Olsen’s Apocalyptic Media. Series follows an unambitious but lovable zero, Vern, who uses the settlement from a personal injury lawsuit to buy the notoriously dangerous local theme park where he was injured.
- “Tribes” (in development): Hour-long drama series is set 20 years into the future when a nano-virus has ravaged the West Coast of the U.S. – and residents in the quarantined zone have reverted back to tribal culture. Adapted from the 2010 graphic novel by Michael Geszel and Peter Spinetta for IDW Publishing and SoulCraft Comics. Series is written by Alex Tse (“Watchmen”), who will also serve as an executive producer along with Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures (“The Matrix,” “Die Hard,” “Veronica Mars”).
- “The Row” (in development): Hour-long scripted drama centers on death-row inmates who are about to be given a choice about what they want to do with the rest of their lives: remain in the execution queue or be sent on an experimental space mission with a 1% chance of survival. can find their way out. Created and written by Michael Polish (“The Astronaut Farmer”) who will also direct and executive produce alongside Kate Bosworth under their Make Pictures production banner.
Also at its upfront, Crackle released results of a research commissioned from Miner & Co. identifying a psychographic segment, “Connected Entertainment Enthusiasts.” The online study, which surveyed 1,500 adults who use game consoles as their primary entertainment hub, found that 85% of this group prefers streaming over other viewing options and that 50% said that they cancelled a subscription VOD service like Netflix in the past year because it they felt it wasn’t worth the money.
In addition, Crackle touted results of a Nielsen-commissioned study analyzing the over-the-top service’s BreakFree program, which strips down the ad load in a one-hour program to just five spots. Nielsen analyzed the cut-down ad load in “StartUp” season 1, finding that advertisers achieved brand lift and affinity as high as — or higher than — ads running are eight times the frequency. The study also found Crackle viewers are seven times more likely to recall BreakFree ads vs. traditional TV advertising. Recent BreakFree participating advertisers have included Sprint, Cadillac, Microsoft, Jaguar, Telltale Games and Infiniti.
Finally, Crackle announced pacts with Fusion Media Group’s A.V. Club and Mashable to produce standalone video content as extensions to its original programming. The videos will be available on Crackle as well as A.V. Club’s and Mashable’s platforms.