Now the telco has ordered two more seasons one of Go90’s so-called cult hits: late-night talk show series “Tawk” with Awkwafina — the stage name of comedian-rapper-actress Nora Lum — which will return for seasons 4 and 5 starting early 2017.
But it’s not clear how many people are actually tuning in to watch “Tawk,” or any of the other 250-plus hours of exclusive original series currently available on Go90. Verizon has declined to disclose any details on viewship for the mobile-centric service.
At first glance, “Tawk” has attracted a relatively tiny following based on activity for its social-media accounts. Launched last year, “Tawk” currently has just over 3,800 fans on Twitter — and, as of this writing, a mere 34 on Facebook. The short-form talk show is produced by Astronauts Wanted, the digital-studio joint venture between Judy McGrath, former CEO of MTV Networks, and Sony Music Entertainment.
According to Astronauts Wanted, although the show’s Twitter account was reserved in 2013 it hasn’t been very active until recently while the Facebook page was created about two weeks ago ahead of the show’s season 4 debut this fall. Prior to the recent start of production, social promotion for “Tawk” primarily came from Awkwafina’s personal social media accounts where there are more followers (she has 42,000 likes on Facebook and 25,000 Twitter followers). For example, a clip from Awkwafina’s interview with porn star Asa Akira on her personal Facebook page — which was not included in the show on Go90 — has accumulated 82,000 views.
In any case, Go90 and its programming have hardly set the social media universe on fire, with 62,400 Twitter followers just under 80,000 Facebook fans for the service’s primary accounts. Earlier this summer, a bigger-budget Go90 show, reality competition series “The Runner” from executive producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, had an anemic response on social media.
Whatever the actual usage for Go90 to date, Verizon is plowing ahead in acquiring new shows — including “Embeds,” a political comedy about reporters on the campaign trail with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly attached as producer — as well as bringing back series like “Tawk,” as it tries to build an audience with critical mass.
“We are pumped to have the ‘Tawk’ crew returning for seasons 4 and 5 and with a loaded guest list at that,” said Ivana Kirkbride, chief of content at Go90, who joined Verizon earlier this summer after leaving Jason Kilar’s Vessel.
Awkwafina, who lives in Brooklyn, first drew attention with her self-produced underground comedic rap videos. Since then, Lum has become a regular on MTV’s “Girl Code” and “Guy Code vs. Girl Code,” and will appear in the all-female remake “Oceans 8” alongside Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling and Rihanna. She also has an upcoming indie comedy “Dude” with Lucy Hale (“Pretty Little Liars”) and appeared in “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” opposite Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. Awkwafina has also released hip-hop track “Green Tea,” co-written and performed with comedian Margaret Cho.
“This new season of ‘Tawk’ will be lit!” said Awkwafina. “I’m stoked to have this opportunity to bring new faces on the show for awesome awkward conversations you’re not going to hear anywhere else.”
The guest list for season 4 and 5 are slated to include: singer-songwriter Jay Sean; comedian Nicole Byer; actress Jamie Chung (“Once Upon a Time,” “Gotham”); actors Josh Peck (“The Wackness,” “Grandfathered”), Andy Milonakis (“Adventure Time,” “The Andy Milonakis Show”) and Mamoudou Athie (“The Get Down”); and social media stars GloZell Green and Nicholas Megalis.
Previous seasons of “Tawk,” which was nominated for a 2016 Streamy Award, featured Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” rapping in a supermarket about how stupidly tall he is; Laura Gomez and Abigail Savage from “Orange Is the New Black” failing at a game of charades; LA restaurateur Roy Choi making a sandwich in a Bushwick deli; comedian and “The Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj ranting about the curse of Kim Kardashian on a G train; and YouTube star Lilly Singh (aka “||Superwoman||) dissing farm animals at a house party.