Defy Media is ladling out a bucket fresh digital content with more than a dozen new shows and special spanning comedy, entertainment and news. The slate includes three new shows from the popular Smosh crew and the reprise of the troupe’s live sketch-comedy special.
The company announced the slate at its Digital Content NewFronts event Tuesday, held at Sony’s PlayStation Theater in Times Square.
Highlights from the millennial-targeted digital network include new shows from Smosh, the popular comedy channel started by buddies Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla back at the dawn of YouTube (and who are still the principal players) that today counts some 66 million followers. In addition, Defy is launching Smosh Pit as the new hub for Smosh’s unscripted and community-oriented content.
The slate also features new series and specials for Clevver, the news and lifestyle brand geared toward young women, and ScreenJunkies, aimed at movie and TV fanboys and fangirls — including a documentary about cult sci-fi comedy “Galaxy Quest” and live coverage from 2017 Comic-Con International.
All told, Defy claims it has more than 110 million followers on YouTube and social platforms. The current lineup comprises 75 weekly or bi-weekly original programs. At last year’s NewFronts, the company said it would launch 30 new shows in 2016 — and it actually released 35.
“If we talk about [a show], we’re making it, we’re committed to it — you can invest alongside it,” Defy Media president Keith Richman told the crowd of ad buyers and marketing execs.
In his intro remarks, Richman also stressed that Defy Media is fully focused on serving an under-34 audience, in contrast to old-school media companies. To illustrate his point, he showed a composite image of the CEOs of media and communications conglomerates, who are all 57 or older: CBS’s Leslie Moonves, Discovery’s David Zaslav, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, Fox’s Rupert Murdoch, AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, and Verizon’s Lowell McAdam.
Highlights of Defy Media’s 2017 content slate:
- “One Hour Song Machine”: Smosh music videos have been among the brand’s most popular content, starting with Hecox and Padilla’s “Pokémon” parody song that went viral way back in 2005. In this new show, host Keith Leak Jr., his musical friends, and special guest stars create one-of-a-kind songs inspired by random items in a mystery box. But, there’s a big catch: They only have one hour to complete the task.
- “Not Quite Cancelled”: The scripted series (Smosh’s second after “Part Timers” last year) pulls back the curtain on the making of a TV show — a la “30 Rock” — to reveal the drama and debacles of its eccentric cast and crew. The show focuses on fictional tween show “The Snake That Likes to Bake,” which has seen ratings flatline after eight seasons and its ratings have flat lined. Facing cancellation and low morale, it takes a spunky new intern named Ellie to finally turn things around and remind everyone that, while they may be a dysfunctional family, they’re family nonetheless.
- “Operation: Open World”: Smosh Games’ Jovenshire (Joshua Ovenshire) and Mari Takahashi team up to explore the world and take fans inside the games they know and love. Mari is a classically trained ballet dancer and “Minecraft” aficionado who has toured the world accomplishing amazing physical feats like summiting Kilimanjaro, ice climbing in the Andes, and even competing on “Survivor.” Jovenshire is a self-proclaimed expert in all things geek culture, and was featured in season one of TBS’s “King of the Nerds.” In the new show, the unlikely duo will travel to events like the Tokyo Game Show and Germany’s Oktoberfest — all while adding their own flare to the adventures.
- “Smosh Live”: Defy is restaging the live sketch-comedy show, a la “Saturday Night Live,” which was shot with a live studio audience. Last August’s “Smosh Live” on YouTube featured original sketches, commercial parodies, and pre- and post-show programming for fans, who tweeted and commented throughout the show.
- Smosh Summer/Winter Games: The biannual events are returning for 2017-18, taking over both Smosh Pit and Smosh Games for a full month of head-to-head competition. All 12 Smosh cast members will come together to shoot more than 25 episodes, with fans rooting for their favorite team. The 2017 Smosh Winter Games drove more than 13 million views, according to Defy. Sony’s PlayStation has signed as sponsor for the specials.
- “Galaxy Quest: A ScreenJunkies Documentary”: In its first full-length feature documentary, ScreenJunkies takes an in-depth look at the making of one of the most popular comedy sci-fi films ever, “Galaxy Quest.” The movie, which starred Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Tim Allen as the washed-up cast members of a TV series akin to “Star Trek.” The documentary film gets personal with the cast and fans who raised it to cult status, promising behind-the-scenes access.
- “Millennial Falcon”: Jenny Nicholson will join ScreenJunkies News this summer with a show taking a deep dive into the “Star Wars” universe and other things Disney-related, covering breaking news and nerdy minutia (like trying to figure out exactly what a Tatooine moisture farmer does all day). She’ll provide breakdowns of new “Star Wars” trailers and host discussions with special guests and experts as well as perform comedy bits.
- “FlickBait”: New weekly movie news roundup show that breaks down the latest headlines and gets viewers involved in the discussion, hosted by ScreenJunkies’ “Honest Trailers” writers, with each episode revolving around “clickbait” headlines.
- “It Got Real”: New docu-series that gives fans access to the real lives of the hosts. In its premiere season, Clevver host and producer Erin Robinson takes viewers on her journey as she struggles with her recently diagnosed fibroid tumors. As she and her husband explore different treatment options, Robinson gives the audience unprecedented access to her life to encourage young women to stay in tune with their bodies and make their health a priority.
- “Clevver Takes On”: Aimed at millennial females, hosts in this show tackle challenges faced by young women as they grow older and provide advice in step-by-step instructions for mastering the solutions.
- “Get Jacked”: In this new show, fitness bucket lists are conquered and healthy living takes the spotlight. Each episode showcases a unique and adventurous workout designed to entertain, educate and elevate viewers’ fitness games — whether it’s fire dancing on the beach or practicing yoga at 5,000 feet above sea level.
- “Prank It FWD”: Talent from Defy Media’s Smosh, Clevver, AWE me, and ScreenJunkies brands will be back again to play “positive pranks” on targets who were nominated by their loved ones. Each of the targets has faced a challenge in his or her life — illness, unemployment, financial woes — and the “Prank It FWD” teams work to help them out. The series has raised funds for a number of charities and drawn the participation of celebs and public figures including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. “The thing that has resonated the most [from ‘Prank It FWD’] was the call to action to spread positivity on the internet,” said Defy Media chief marketing officer Andy Tu.
- “ScreenJunkies Central”: To be staged at 2017 Comic-Con at a live studio location near the San Diego Convention Center, covering the biggest news for movie and TV fans. Last year, ScreenJunkies produced three full days of live programming, including celebrity panels, interviews, and head-to-head “60 min Movie Fights” battles.