Maker Studios has unveiled a slate of 15 original series rolling out this fall and winter on its game channel Polaris and newly relaunched comedy channel The Station. And the Disney-owned multiplatform network and digital studio plans to release the content first on Dish Network’s Sling TV over-the-top subscription service and at least two other yet-unannounced premium platforms — before trying to monetize them on YouTube.
The new programming push is an extension of Maker Studios’ strategy to diversify distribution off YouTube, a path followed by other networks like Fullscreen, Machinima and DanceOn (which used to be referred to as “multichannel networks”).
In 2015, Maker reached its initial deal with Dish make Polaris channel content available first on Sling TV. Currently, packaged channels or original content from both Maker Studios and its creator network have launched on 20 platforms, including Netflix, YouTube Red, ABC’s ABCd, Comcast’s Watchable, Fullscreen, Spotify and Verizon’s Go90.
With The Station, Maker is going back to its origins: It started as a YouTube comedy channel of the same name, and the company says the relaunched channel will take a similar approach to “nonconformist” content featuring original sketches, musical comedy and vlogs. Polaris, formerly called The Game Station before being renamed in 2013, has been “refreshed” with a mix of gaming entertainment talk shows, animation and games-to-life content.
“I’m excited to go back to our roots with The Station and further lean in on gaming culture with Polaris, working with our global network of creators to provide a unique voice to the marketplace,” said Courtney Holt, head of Maker Studios.
Some of the shows in the new lineup are being developed from the Spark by Maker content-incubation program, which invites creators to pitch original ideas. The series for the channels will launch throughout the end of 2016, with additional series to come in 2017:
The Station by Maker
“Thai Machine”: YouTubers Timothy DeLaGhetto and Ricky Shucks (pictured above) get their own food truck — but unbeknownst to them, it’s also a time machine that takes them on epic adventures through history. Watch the trailer here.
“Casual Sketch”: A weekly sketch-comedy series covering politics, race and gender, cults, superheroes, cheap furniture and more. The series spoofs formats such as vlogs, public-access TV and music videos.
“Song Voyage”: Subversive comedy created by Portal A and The Gregory Brothers follows the musical group as they travel the world to band together with offbeat musicians in remote locales.
“So This Is A Thing”: Roundtable of comedians discuss the intended utility of out-of-context imagery from U.S. patent applications both past and present.
Polaris by Maker
“Bad Box Art”: Improv game show where gaming experts and comedians try to piece together the plot of an obscure game based solely on its box art; after making their predictions, they play the game to see just how different their version of the game was.
“Can I Crush It?”: Bodybuilder Kali Muscle puts his very large muscles to the test and gets out some aggression — taking suggestions from fans on what he can and cannot crush.
“Gamify the News”: Roundtable discussion that turns current events into a video game with animated segments that demonstrate plot, gameplay, characters, and the outcome of the “game.”
“Let’s Play with Luzu”: Spanish YouTuber LuzuGames plays through the best new games with his trademark humor.
“Monster Almanac”: Mockumentary-format series features game crypto-zoologist Holly Conrad (aka Commander Holly) setting out to track down video-game beasts.
“Nerd Rocks”: Four creators become hapless adventurers in a tabletop role-playing game lead by a mysterious, bearded game-master.
“Player vs. Pop Culture”: Podcast-style talk show where creators get out of their comfort zones to talk about what they do — and do not — know about topics beyond the gamersphere.
“Polaris Loves You”: A trending part of the gaming space that has fallen on tough times receives a fun, love song serenade from Polaris and special guest creators.
“Ready, Let’s Play”: Rotating cast of creators share their best “let’s play” gameplay videos.
“The Remember Hour”: YouTube creator Chad Quandt brings audiences a dystopian puppet show in which characters Rash and Skid share their (often incorrect) knowledge of the past with fans.
“Untitled MOD Project”: Talk show with a rotating cast of creators who bring the discussion about gaming mechanics into the real world — arguing about why things like power-ups, invincibility and re-spawning would be the best things ever or life-ruining.