Sony’s Crackle Tries to Look and Feel More Like Traditional TV

Sony Pictures TV’s broadband network Crackle is hoping to stand out with viewers with a redesign that aims to replicate some of the linear TV experience.

Crackle is putting new emphasis on the scheduling of programs the service with multiple channels offering themed programming targeted for specific dayparts and genres: daytime, primetime and latenight. And with a new “Always On” interface that is rolling out on various platforms this fall, viewers who pull up the channel will find a specific program playing at any given time a la a network schedule.

“It looks and feels more like a cable channel,” said Andy Kaplan, Sony Pictures TV’s president of worldwide networks during Crackle’s presentation at the Television Critics Assn. press tour at the Beverly Hilton. Crackle will serve up more than 100 episodes of original programming in the coming year, ranging from Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” to game show “Sports Jeopardy” to the out-there animated comedy “SuperMansion.”

The revamp of Crackle is coming in preparation for the launch of its first original scripted drama, “The Art of More,” premiering Nov. 19. The 10-episode series — toplined by Dennis Quaid, Kate Bosworth, Cary Elwes and Christian Cooke — is set in the world of high-end auction houses. Gardner Stern and Chuck Rose are creator-exec producers for Sony Pictures TV.

Quaid was quick to express his enthusiasm for working in the fast-growing digital TV arena. “There’s a revolution going on with television,” he said. “It feels like the inmates have taken over the asylum. It’s sort of like movies were in the 1970s. There’s a freedom there.”

(Pictured: Dennis Quaid, Christian Cooke and Kate Bosworth of Crackle’s “The Art of More” at TCA)

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