William Shatner has traveled through space, chased crooks in a police car and pitched consumers on the ability to get low hotel rates using the Internet. Now he will embark on a new adventure: Hosting a cooking program.
The actor is set to host a new online-video series in which he holds conversations with chefs and explores the roots of their various culinary approaches. The series will be distributed via Ora.TV, an online video network majority-owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim via his family’s investment in America Movil. Ora already distributed Shatner’s “Brown Bag Wine Tasting” series.
“There is a mix of folks that Bill is really fascinated by, as well as some other well-known chefs we think makes sense for this kind of work,” says Jon Housman, chief executive of the company, in which Larry King holds a minority stake. Ora had distributed a Shatner-led wine program. Ora expects the show’s first ten-episode cycle to go into production in late October.
The series development comes as Ora has been working to launch programs both on its site as well as for other networks and distributors. The company wants to make programming that can run across multiple venues, whether that is streaming video or traditional television. “I think we are creating a very interesting company that is doing these hybrid types of shows, and doing a digital network paired with this TV production,” he said.
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Ora has projects pending with HBO, FYI Vice and Nascar, the chief executive said, and ESPN recently announced that Ora would provide short films to the sports juggernaut’s Nate Silver-led Five Thirty-Eight site that will profile various statisticians.
Another series, “Queen Bee,” is set to launch on Ora later this year with online brokerage ETrade as a sponsor. Housman said the show will focus on female entrepreneurs, and pair them with business mentors.