You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Liza on Demand’ Season 2 Has YouTube’s Most-Watched Original Debut to Date (EXCLUSIVE)

YouTube claims its new windowing strategy for originals — making them available to watch free, with ads, for everyone — is delivering big audiences just as execs hoped.

Season 2 of “Liza on Demand,” the sitcom starring and co-created by popular YouTube comedian Liza Koshy, scored more views for debut episode “Naked” in its first week than any of the video platform’s original series to date. In the episode, through a series of mishaps, Koshy’s character accidentally finds herself nude in public — and she later strips bare on a city street in a bid to prove she has nothing to hide.

Across all episode 1 debuts for YouTube Original shows, “Liza on Demand” had the biggest debut ever with 25 million views in the first seven days (Sept. 25-Oct. 1), according to YouTube. “Cobra Kai” season 2, a spinoff of the “Karate Kid” movies, previously held the seven-day record with 21 million views in April 2019, followed by “Cobra Kai” season 1, which had 18.6 million views for the premiere ep in its first seven days in May 2018.

“The success of ‘Liza on Demand’ is proof that our [ad-supported video-on-demand] strategy is working,” said Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, in an emailed statement. She added, “Liza is an amazing talent who’s successfully built a home on YouTube as both a creator and the star of her own hit original.”

YouTube attributes the strong showing in part to the fact that it made all episodes of “Liza on Demand” season 1 free in August, generating new fans who tuned in for S2. To be sure, the record turnout for season 2’s bow also was driven by viewers who knew they’d eventually be able to see the full run for free. Also, the premiere’s nudity theme undoubtedly piqued interest.

YouTube premiered season 2 of the scripted comedy for both YouTube Premium subscribers (who got immediate binge release of the entire season) as well as weekly episodic roll-outs with ads for free to watch on YouTube. The first episode now has more than 74 million views in just over two weeks.

A caveat on YouTube’s self-reported “views” metric: It’s not comparable to TV ratings. YouTube uses a secret algorithm to count views, tallying users who watched some portion of a video (varying depending on overall length) and discarding “low-quality playbacks” like those generated by bots. In addition, YouTube publicly reports views only for the premiere episodes of its original series (which it has made available for free under a sampling strategy since the get-go). That means it’s impossible to gauge how well YouTube Originals are retaining audience over the course of a season.

In any case, the “Liza on Demand” team is pleased to hold the title of most-watched YouTube Originals premiere episode for “Naked.”

“The launch of season 2 speaks to YouTube’s unique power to reach so many people directly,” show creators Liza Koshy, Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan said in a joint statement. “The success is a testament to everyone behind and in front of the camera. It’s this collaborative force and family of ours that created a fun, fearless (and free!) comedy.”

Liza Koshy in “Liza on Demand” season 2, episode 1 (“Naked”)

“Liza on Demand” season 2 continues the misadventures of Liza (Liza Koshy) and her roommates Harlow (Kimiko Glenn) and Oliver (Travis Coles) as the millennial pals navigate relationships, trends and making ends meet. Guest actors in the second season include Rachael Leigh Cook, Andy Daly, Josh Peck, Chrissie Fit, Jim O’Heir, Kevin Nealon and Nora Dunn.

The series is produced by Above Average, the digital studio formed in 2012 by Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, with Sam Childs serving as producer. Executive producers are Liza Koshy, Deborah Kaplan (“Can’t Hardly Wait”) and Harry Elfont (“Can’t Hardly Wait,” “Josie and The Pussycats”), and Courtney Carter.

YouTube’s shift to a dual AVOD/SVOD release strategy comes as it has dialed back on scripted originals, having canceled several projects in the past year. The originals team has refocused on tentpole scripted series like “Liza on Demand,” “Cobra Kai,” Doug Liman’s “Impulse” and “Escape the Night” with Joey Graceffa, while upping investments in music, learning and personality-driven programming.

Pictured above (l. to r.): Travis Coles, Liza Koshy, Kimiko Glenn in YouTube’s “Liza on Demand”

More TV

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Agencies' Antitrust Suit Against Writers Guild Set for January Hearing

    The antitrust suit filed by Hollywood’s major agencies against the Writers Guild of America has been set for a Jan. 17 hearing. U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birotte issued the calendar update this week on the litigation, filed on Sept. 27 by CAA, UTA and WME after the agencies consolidated their individual agency suits. The [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG Awards

    Gabrielle Carteris Preps for 26th Annual SAG Awards

    SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris is already looking forward to the 26th SAG Awards on Jan. 19, held in its usual location at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. “One of the best things about the SAG Awards is that it’s a peer-to-peer recognition,” she says. “It’s the highest honor for performers to be recognized by [...]

  • GoliathSeason 3CR: Greg Lewis/Amazon Studios

    'Goliath’ Renewed for Fourth and Final Season at Amazon

    Amazon has renewed gritty legal drama “Goliath” for a fourth and final season. The series centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who seeks redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. [...]

  • Jon Favreau'The Mandalorian' TV show premiere,

    Jon Favreau Already Has a Star Picked for His 'Star Wars' Holiday Special

    The “Star Wars” franchise is no stranger to the strange and odd. But the wildest of all the offerings from the galaxy far, far away is the bizarre (but beautiful) “Star Wars Holiday Special.” And Jon Favreau is ready to resurrect it. The TV special celebrating the Wookiee holiday “Light Day” aired on CBS in [...]

  • Justin Marks FX

    'The Jungle Book' Writer Justin Marks Inks Overall Deal With FX Productions

    “Counterpart” creator and showrunner and “The Jungle Book” scribe Justin Marks has signed an overall deal to create new content for FX Productions. “Justin is a true creative talent and we feel fortunate to be his partners in supporting his vision of bold and ambitious storytelling,” said FX Entertainment original programming president Gina Balian. Marks, [...]

  • Tye Sheridan

    Tye Sheridan Starring in Survival Thriller 'Wireless' From Steven Soderbergh for Quibi

    Quibi has ordered another show with notable Hollywood talent attached: scripted series “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer. In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content