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NewFronts: Yahoo Teams With WWE, Announces Six New Shows

Internet portal lines up comedies and lifestyle shows, touts new ad formats

Yahoo unveiled slate of six new shows, including provocatively titled comedy “Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos,” as well as new partnerships with wrestling’s WWE — giving Internet portal exclusive access to all past matches and shows — and Conde Nast Entertainment at its Digital Content NewFronts in New York.

Lineup of new shows features talent and content creators including Ed Helms, Zachary Levi, John Stamos, Morgan Spurlock, Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris.

“Nobody does content the way Yahoo does content,” topper Marissa Mayer said in her brief opening remarks. Internet company hired former Google exec last July.

Yahoo held NewFronts sesh at the Best Buy Theater (formerly the Nokia Theater) in Gotham’s Times Square. Company showed redesigned homepage for Yahoo.com, designed for “three screens” — Web, smartphone and tablet.

Internet company said that in the past year, it has more than doubled the original video programming on Yahoo. “The new shows and partnerships we’re announcing at Yahoo’s NewFront demonstrate how we are building scale, reaching more targeted audiences and innovating with content,” said Erin McPherson, Yahoo veep and head of video, citing 18 different targeted categories.

Yahoo, which last week announced exclusive online deal with “Saturday Night Live” producer Broadway Video, will be the “premiere global video distribution partner” for WWE. Internet company will set up dedicated hub on Yahoo for all WWE content, beginning summer 2013.

On the originals front, Yahoo announced three new comedy skeins skedded to debut in fall: “Tiny Commando,” created by and starring Ed Helms along with Zachary Levi, which follows a 4-inch-tall private investigator; “We Need Help” from Vuguru, starring and produced by Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris, which follows the exploits of their shared personal assistant, Max; and “Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos,” in which Stamos interviews celebrities about their first sexual experiences — and will include “reenactments” with either actors or puppets, according to Stamos.

“We play versions of ourselves on the show that are more neurotic than in real life,” explained Harris of “We Need Help.”

New lifestyle shows, slated to come to Yahoo later in the year, are: “Fashion Recipe,” with celebrity stylist Brett Alan Nelson; “Cinema & Spice,” featuring Julianna Strickland and Natasha Feldman; and “Grill Girls” (working title), in which chef Megan Mitchell shares her grilling secrets and tips.

Yahoo will program its new fall comedy lineup — including previously announced shows, “The Fuzz” from Vuguru, and “Ghost Ghirls” from Shine America and Electric Dynamite — based on user data. In addition, Yahoo is making all episodes available at once in a “binge-viewing” format.

Meanwhile, Yahoo reupped commitment with ABC News, which first launched in October 2011. Three of ABC News’ top franchises — “Nightline,” “World News With Diane Sawyer” and “Good Morning America” – will come to Yahoo in daily, digital-native extensions.

Yahoo Finance and CNBC will debut their third original co-production, “Talking Numbers,” highlighting investment opportunities by analyzing stocks from both a technical and a fundamental point of view. In a new partnership, Yahoo will distribute Conde Nast Entertainment’s video content, inspired by mag publisher’s brands, across the Yahoo network.

Under WWE pact, Yahoo will exclusively offer 30-minute preshow for “Monday Night Raw,” for every new seg on TV and two weekly series of 50 episodes per year to be produced exclusively for distribution on Yahoo.

In addition, Yahoo will have exclusive access to WWE’s archives of historical full matches, shows, highlights and other events, and Internet portal will air a live preshow content for every pay-per-view event. Finally, short-form clips from all WWE television programs will now be available on Yahoo.

Yahoo also touted three new advertising products, including: Yahoo Stream Ads, a performance-based native ad embedded in personalized content streamed on the new Yahoo homepage; Billboard, an ad positioned at the top of the Yahoo homepage and designed to enhance the user experience with “rich and immersive interactions”; and a new video-ad buying method that blends its own topical video channels with distribution partners’ video content to create 18 new category-specific channels.

One of the Internet’s biggest vidsites, Yahoo garnered 50.3 million unique viewers who watched 371.7 million videos during March 2013, according to comScore.

Monday evening event was capped with performance by The Lumineers, which Yahoo live-streamed at music.yahoo.com. Performance started at around 8:40 p.m. ET, later than the 8 o’clock scheduled start time. Grammy-nommed Denver folk-rock trio performed hit “Ho Hey,” of course, plus other selections.

Separately, Yahoo is searching for new chairman, after Fred Amoroso announced last week he will step down.

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