You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AOL Gives ‘Connected’ Reality Series Early Premiere on Roku

AOL will give a sneak peek of “Connected,” its first longform original series, to users of Roku devices starting Tuesday. The teaser strategy leads up to the show’s official March 31 launch.

Roku customers will be able to watch the pilot “Connected,” a half-hour reality show featuring six New Yorkers who document their lives on handheld camcorders, exclusively on March 24 through the AOL On Roku streaming channel. Adapted from the Israeli docu-drama series of the same name from Koda Communications, AOL’s “Connected” is set to roll out with a schedule of four episodes every two weeks, with 20 episodes overall.

“Since Roku is a leading streaming platform with millions of customers, it is a natural fit for us to deliver an exclusive experience for viewers around our groundbreaking ‘Connected’ series,” said Robert Delacruz, VP and g.m. of consumer video experiences for AOL.

AOL first announced the deal for “Connected” last year, promoting it at the 2014 Digital Content Newfronts. Executive producers are Dermot McCormack, president of AOL Video and AOL Studios; Ram Landes and Ami Teer of Koda; and Morgan Spurlock of Warrior Poets.

The producers behind “Connected” touts the series as breaking the mold of reality TV series, with the format providing a more authentic and personal look into the subjects’ lives than what airs on traditional television. Stars of the series — not exactly drawn from the ranks of regular New York denizens — include Jonathan Bricklin, aspiring writer and owner of Spin club in New York, whose segments feature his girlfriend, actress Susan Sarandon.

Popular on Variety

Documentary filmmaker Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” CNN’s “Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man”) joined the project as exec producer because he saw “Connected” as delivering on the promise of reality television from 15 years ago.

“It’s not a contrived scenario,” Spurlock said. “In the last couple of years, there’s been this sea change in fiction programming, but not nonfiction programming. This show has an opportunity to change expectations about nonfiction programming.”

McCormack, who last fall joined AOL — where he most recently ran Viacom Music & Logo’s Connect Content Group — said “Connected” represents a tipping point in AOL’s programming strategy to draw in more viewers and boost the time they spend viewing video.

“We really felt we needed to move to longer-form programming,” he said. “We don’t have the budgets to compete against Netflix and TV, so part of our strategy has been innovative formats.”

AOL will “shoot for the gap,” to develop new kinds of shows similar to “Connected” that wouldn’t make it to TV. “The reason I decamped to AOL was because of what we could do that what was not being done on TV,” McCormack said.

Episodes of “Connected” will be released on the following biweekly schedule: March 31, episodes 1-4; April 13, episodes 5-8; April 27, episodes 9-12; May 11, episodes 13-16; and May 25, episodes 17-20.

More Digital

  • NATPE 2020 Miami Fontainebleau Hotel

    NATPE 2020: Bumpy Start But Business Is Humming as Conference Begins

    MIAMI — A technology meltdown at Fontainebleau Miami Beach made for a bumpy start to getting settled at NATPE for numerous executives and producers who arrived here over the weekend. Nonetheless, the core business of the content-sales gathering was humming as numerous distributors reported new deals and renewal pacts inked over the past few days. [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Disney Plus Set for Earlier Launch in U.K. & Western Europe

    The Walt Disney Co. has set March 24 as the new launch date for Disney Plus in the U.K. and other key markets across Western Europe. With the roll-out previously set for March 31, the streaming service will now be available a week earlier in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. Pricing [...]

  • Medici TV Show

    Vuulr Online Rights Market Makes Global Expansion at NATPE

    Singapore-based Vuulr, an online content marketplace for film and TV rights, is expanding from regional to global operations. The move was announced ahead of NATPE, one of the oldest face-to-face TV rights markets, this week launching its tenth edition in Miami, Florida (Jan 21-23). The Vuulr platform is free to use for buyers and for [...]

  • Loic Barche on Short 'The Atomic

    Loic Barche on Short 'The Atomic Adventure,' Upcoming Feature Debut 'Feu de Paille'

    “The Atomic Adventure,” a contender in UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilmFestival, is the third short from Loïc Barché (“Goliath,” “Le Commencement”). Variety talked to the director about the short, and his feature debut “Feu de Paille.” “The Atomic Adventure,” produced by young French outfits Punchline Cinéma and Leonis Productions, is set in 1961 in Algeria, where France [...]

  • The Isle of the Dead

    UniFrance Puts Spotlight on Emerging French VR Sector at Rendez-Vous

    France has a burgeoning eco-system of virtual reality and augmented reality producers, and is one of Europe’s leading VR/AR hubs. The UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris, a showcase of French projects that wraps Monday, included a VR/AR showcase, with recent projects demonstrated by Wide Management VR, VRrOOm and Atlas V. UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilm [...]

  • Blood Oath

    MBC Studios to Launch Arabic TV Series 'Blood Oath,' Written by Britain's Tony Jordan

    MBC Studios, the Saudi-owned production unit of top Middle Eastern free-to-air satellite network MBC Group is set to launch “Blood Oath,” an Arabic crime series written by Britain’s Tony Jordan (“EastEnders,” “Life on Mars”). The announcement comes as Dubai-based MBC Studios, set up in 2018 and headed by former president of NBCUniversal International Peter Smith, is [...]

  • Spirited Away

    Netflix Secures International Rights to Studio Ghibli Animated Films

    The iconic animated features of Japan’s Studio Ghibli will be available in territories outside the U.S., Canada and Japan on Netflix starting in February. The move is a further change of position for the studio which has repeatedly resisted the idea that its beloved cartoons would be released on digital platforms. Netflix, sales agent Wild [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content