×

ABC Relaunches Free Streaming Service With 7 Short-Form Originals, Full Seasons of 38 Older Shows

Network makes live stream available in 14 additional markets in pact with Hearst

ABC is not going down the subscription VOD route, at least for now: The Alphabet network is relaunching its video-streaming service with seven original digital short-form series, including shows starring Ty Burrell and Iliza Shlesinger, plus full seasons of 38 older shows — all available on the free, ad-supported service.

The network is launching the new digital shorts under the “ABCd” banner, an initiative that got under way last year as previously reported by Variety. Those, along with the “throwback” series, which include “Betrayal,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Felicity,” “My So-Called Life,” “School House Rock,” “Sports Night” and “Ugly Betty,” will be available to all viewers on ABC.com and the ABC apps for mobile and connected TV devices without signing in. Other broadcasters, by contrast, have introduced Netflix-style pay services, like NBCUniversal’s Seeso and CBS All Access (while The CW’s CW Seed is also a free, ad-supported service with original series and library content).

“Our team has completely re-imagined the digital viewing experience for ABC fans,” said Karin Gilford, senior VP of digital media, ABC Television Network. She called the new ABCd original digital series “fun, fresh and perfect for mobile.”

The seven new ABCd comedy and lifestyle digital series were developed in-house by ABC Comedy Development, ABC Daytime and ABC Digital Media. The network says it has more than 40 additional series in development and will roll those out monthly.

“We hope this will be an opportunity for our existing talent to flex their creative muscles, and also an opportunity for audiences to discover and champion new emerging content creators,” Samie Falvey, executive VP of comedy and international scripted development, ABC Entertainment, said in a statement.

ABC also is touting a redesigned user interface of its app for Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV, which is aimed at enhancing discovery and navigation. It also announced that live local streaming is now available for 14 of Hearst Television’s ABC-affiliated stations, accessible to subscribers of participating cable and satellite operators.

The new ABCd series are:

  • “All My Gay Friends are Getting Married”: A celebration of gay marriage through the eyes of only mildly bitter single girl, Michelle Collins, who’s realizing that everyone is now getting married – except her.
  • “Boondoogle”: After a life of obscurity, actor Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) has finally made it big with a starring role in the hit series “Wingbot.” Now he and his “non-tourage” of best friends, Mel, Joel and Johnny, get to enjoy some of the perks of being a TV star. It’s time for these 40-something husbands and dads to cut loose – mostly on weekends and during reasonable hours. Starring Ty Burrell, Joel Spence, Mel Cowan and Johnny Meeks, all as themselves.
  • “Forever 31”: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger and her friends struggle with the indignities of dead-end jobs, hangovers, dating, infidelity and all the rest of the absurdities of modern adulthood.  Created by and starring Shlesinger.
  • Tastemade’s “Get Cookin’”: Sponsored by Hefty, three creators in the Tastemade network – Erwan Heussaff, Lazarus Lynch, Megan Mitchell – present techniques, tips and recipes to take their food game to the next level. The chefs also will tell personal stories behind these dishes, why they matter and why they should be the next things to devour.
  • “I Can Find $3,000 In Your Home”: EBay millionaire Linda Lightman believes that everyone has at least 52 items totaling at least $3,000 in their homes. In this series, she travels to households across the country to find the treasure in their trash.
  • “Newborn Moms”: Comedic series about life as a new parent struggling with sleepless nights, self doubt and swollen boobs. Created by Aurora Browne and Nadine Djoury, the series follows two moms, Rosie and Julia, as they reconcile the kind of mothers they thought they would be with the kind they actually are. Starring Browne (Rosie) and Djoury (Julia).
  • “On The Record”: An intimate “story behind the song” experience where songwriters perform an acoustic version of the song and share the inspiration behind it. The interviews will reveal the song’s meaning, personal anecdotes of its evolution, and its impact on the artist’s life and career. The first installment in the series features Hollywood Records recording artist Shawn Hook discussing his hit singles “Wonderful Surprise,” “Million Ways” and “Sound of Your Heart.” Future artists include Fancy Hagood and Yuna.

Full seasons of past shows now on ABC’s streaming service include: “8 Simple Rules,” “Benched,” “Betrayal,” “Body of Proof,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Commander in Chief,” “Detroit,” “Dinosaurs,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Ellen,” “Felicity,” “FlashForward,” “Happy Town,” “Hope and Faith,” “I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” “The Knights of Prosperity,” “Less Than Perfect,” “Manhattan Love Story,” “Mixology,” “My Generation,” “My So-Called Life,” “The Neighbors,” “October Road,” “Off the Map,” “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” “Perception,” “Reaper,” “Red Band Society,” “The River,” “Samantha Who?,” “School House Rock,” “Secret Millionaire,” “Smart Guy,” “Sports Night,” “Trophy Wife,” “Ugly Betty” and “What About Brian?”

ABC.com and the ABC app enables users nationwide to access full episodes of shows on demand, including “Dancing with the Stars,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Modern Family,” “Quantico,” “Shark Tank” and “Scandal.” Additionally, subscribers of participating pay-TV providers get additional features, including the ability to watch a 24-hour live network stream in select markets, access exclusive programming events and the most recent episodes of ABC series and news programs the day after they air.

Under its agreement with Hearst Television, ABC is finally adding access to live 24-hour feeds including local, national and syndicated programming for subscribers of pay-TV partners for 14 Hearst stations — three years after the network launched live TV on the app for its eight owned-and-operated stations. ABC had originally expected to add affiliate stations by the fall of 2013. The Hearst stations are in Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M. (KOAT), Boston (WCVB and WMUR), Fort Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark. (KHBS), Jackson, Miss. (WAPT), Kansas City (KMBC), Milwaukee (WISN), Monterey-Salinas, Calif. (KSBW-DT2), Oklahoma City (KOCO), Omaha, Neb. (KETV), Pittsburgh (WTAE), Portland-Auburn, Me. (WMTW), Savannah, Ga. (WJCL) and West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla. (WPBF).

Hearst Television is the first affiliate group to launch the ABC live feed as part of ABC’s Clearinghouse initiative, extending the network’s live local reach to 20 markets, including the Alphabet’s already launched O&O stations in New York (WABC), Los Angeles (KABC), Chicago (WLS), San Francisco (KGO), Houston (KTRK), Fresno (KFSN), Philadelphia (WPVI) and Raleigh-Durham (WTVD).

The newly redesigned ABC app is available exclusively on Apple’s App Store and Apple TV App Store. The ABC app is also available on ABC.com, Amazon Appstore, Google Play, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox 360.

Pictured above (l. to r.): “Boondoggle” cast members Johnny Meeks, Joel Spence, Mel Cowan and Ty Burrell

More Digital

  • HQ Trivia

    HQ Trivia Lives? CEO Claims He's Found Potential Buyer for Live Game-Show App

    Hold the phone, HQties — there might be a second act for HQ Trivia. The once-buzzy live game-show app, whose audience had declined after peaking two years ago, shut down last week after the company ran out of money and a deal to sell it fell through. Now Rus Yusupov, CEO of parent company Intermedia [...]

  • Dolan Twins

    Dolan Twins to Launch Their First Podcast (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Dolan Twins, sibling digital influencers who have a combined following of more than 50 million across internet platforms, are set to launch their first podcast: “Deeper With The Dolan Twins.” The new weekly podcast from 20-year-old Ethan and Grayson Dolan is being produced under an exclusive pact with Cadence13, a division of Entercom Communications’ [...]

  • Justin Bieber Changes album cover

    Following Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber Track Is Latest to Highlight Online Marketplace

    A shout-out on social media from Justin Bieber has brought some additional shine to Splice Sounds, the popular platform for rights-cleared sounds and beats. The track “Running Over,” from Bieber’s album “Changes” and featuring Lil Dicky, was produced by The Audibles and is based on a loop created by British artist Laxcity and uploaded to Splice. [...]

  • LadBaby at Abbey Road Studio, London,

    Facebook Leans on Local Creators to Grow Watch and Hit New Target Areas

    As Facebook leans into sports, non-scripted and select scripted properties, it’s increasingly looking to an army of creators rather than A-list celebrities to tap into all three target areas as they grow businesses on the Watch platform. Facebook’s newly appointed head of entertainment media partnerships for Northern Europe Anna Higgs tells Variety, “The Watch strategy [...]

  • Apple-Coronavirus

    Apple Warns of Sales Shortfall for March 2020 Quarter, Blaming Coronavirus Outbreak

    Apple said the spread of the coronavirus in China has disrupted iPhone manufacturing and driven down sales in the country. As a result, the tech giant said it now expects to undershoot the revenue guidance it previously provided, of between $63.0 billion and $67.0 billion its fiscal 2020 second quarter (which ends March 28). “Work [...]

  • Jeff Bezos

    Jeff Bezos Forms $10 Billion Fund to Fight Climate Change

    Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, announced a $10 billion fund to invest in projects that will combat the alarming trend of climate change. The Amazon founder and CEO announced the formation of the Bezos Earth Fund in an Instagram post Monday (Feb. 17).⁣⁣⁣ According to Bezos, the fund will begin issuing grants this [...]

  • Jake Paul

    YouTuber Jake Paul Launches Entrepreneur How-To Platform, Financial Freedom Movement

    YouTuber Jake Paul wants you to be financially free, for $19.99 a month.  At a rally on Saturday, the content creator — along with influencer friends and around 50 teenage and tween-age fans, some chaperoned by parents — launched the Financial Freedom Movement (FFM) in partnership with GenZ Holdings Inc., a Los Angeles-based brand development [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content