“The Runner” will be the first original, high-concept competition series to become available on the mobile-first platform. The concept was originally sold to ABC in 2000, but was pulled shortly after 9/11. It was then sold again in 2006 to Yahoo, where it remained in development.
The series will challenge one individual to make it across the United States unnoticed in 30 days while the rest of the rest of the country works to locate and capture him. There will also be a team of “Chasers” who have the chance to earn money for catching the Runner. Go90 users who provide tips, sightings and evidence of the Runner’s location are also eligible to bring home some cash.
Affleck and Damon exec produce “The Runner” through their company Pearl Street Films. Adaptive Studios’ founding partners Joubert and Perrin Chiles serve as executive producers alongside Pilgrim Media Group’s Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols. The series was packaged by WME.
“This is an excellent format for a brand new platform,” Joubert said. “‘The Runner’ is our way of meeting a millennial audience where they live – on their smartphones and on social media.”
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Verizon’s deal for “The Runner” is easily its most ambitious foray into original entertainment for Go90 to date. The free, ad-supported service, launched in October, is stocked with an amalgamation of original short-form content from digital-focused studios like AwesomenessTV, Machinima and Warner Bros.’ Blue Ribbon Content, along with licensed TV episodes including Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” and TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.”
The telco has said it’s investing heavily in content and marketing for Go90, which will not be profitable for at least the next two years, CFO Fran Shammo told investors earlier this year. Verizon, whose AOL division is selling ads for the service, aims to reach young, mobile-obsessed millennials who aren’t interested in traditional pay TV.
Adaptive Studios is a pioneering media studio focused on the acquisition and development of intellectual property across all platforms. The company produced the acclaimed series “Project Greenlight” for HBO and recently launched Project Greenlight Digital Studios, through which it is actively greenlighting an expanding slate of new digital series with emerging filmmakers.
Pilgrim Media Group, a Lionsgate company, produces a wide variety of unscripted and scripted programming for television, including “Fast N’ Loud,” “Street Outlaws” and “Misfit Garage” for Discovery; “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” for TLC; and “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” for OWN. Pilgrim also produces FYI talkshow “Kocktails With Khloe,” and in the scripted realm it produces the rookie series “Recovery Road” for Freeform.
Todd Spangler contributed to this report.