YouTube is clearing its deck, as the service gets ready to unveil its new original programming plans. As part of the spring cleaning of sorts, YouTube series “Champaign ILL,” “Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television,” “Sideswiped,” and “Do You Want to See a Dead Body” won’t be back.
Those shows join previously confirmed cancelled series “Overthinking with Kat & June,” “Youth & Consequences,” and “Origin.”
YouTube isn’t completely wiping down the mat, however. Breakout hit “Cobra Kai” is back for Season 2 on April 24, and “Step Up: High Water,” currently in its second season, continues to perform well for the service. Also, comedy “Liza on Demand,” starring Liza Koshy, and sci-fi drama “Impulse” are both in production for their sophomore releases.
Meanwhile, YouTube hasn’t yet revealed the fates of comedy “Wayne,” which premiered in January, and anthology series “Weird City,” which launched in February.
YouTube will unveil its new originals distribution strategy, dubbed “Single Slate,” and is also expected to announce several new and returning series, at its Brandcast event on May 2.
As has been expected for months, YouTube is moving to a dual distribution strategy, in which its programming will now be available on the free ad-supported YouTube platform, in addition to its subscription YouTube Premium service (which is ad-free and includes YouTube Music).
Insiders note that the crop of original programming being thinned today was developed for a different SVOD strategy, when the originals were behind the YouTube Premium pay wall. Last year, YouTube Originals generated 1.5 billion views across more than 50 series launches.
That means rather than taking on streamers like Netflix and Amazon with a traditional slate of scripted projects, YouTube will center more efforts on genres such as unscripted, educational and music artist-focused docu-follows.
“Our goal is to create amazing programming focused on music, education, YouTube creators and some lighthouse shows [tentpoles like ‘Cobra Kai’],” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. “We just had our most successful year to date and will soon announce a slate of new and returning hits.”
As part of the shift, YouTube plans to focus more of its investment on endemic creators, which it identifies as its core business. In one big move announced Tuesday, YouTube Originals named Ben Relles to the newly created role of head of innovation. In that position, Relles will be tasked with overseeing a slate of interactive programming and live specials, which YouTube sees as a way to expand its originals audience.
Relles had previously served as head of unscripted programming, and is the latest exec change at YouTube originals, which also saw the departure of comedy development and current programming head Dustin Davis at the end of 2018.
“Champaign ILL” starred Adam Pally and Sam Richardson as two hangers-on who take full advantage of their best friend’s status as a hip-hop superstar. But when the rapper dies, Pally’s and Richardson’s characters have to figure out how to fend for themselves. Jordan Cahan, David Caspe, Daniel Libman, and Matthew Libman created the show, which premiered on December 12.
Sony Pictures TV was the studio on “Champaign ILL.” Pally has already moved on to the NBC comedy pilot “Uninsured,” also from Sony, while Richardson continues on the final season of “Veep.”
“Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television,” which ran for two seasons on YouTube, starred actor Hansen (“Veronica Mars”) as a parody version of himself. The fictional “Ryan Hansen” joins an LAPD task force that partners actors with homicide detectives to help solve murders. In Season 1, which premiered Oct. 25, 2017, Hansen starred opposite Samira Wiley, who played his cop partner, Det. Mathers. Season 2 of the show, which was created by Rawson Marshall Thurber, premiered on Jan. 30.
The relationship comedy “Sideswiped,” about dating in the digital age, starred Carly Craig (“American Housewife”), Rosanna Arquette, and Chelsea Frei (“Hostess”). The show debuted in July. The comedy “Do You Want to See a Dead Body” featured Rob Huebel and celebrity friends as, playing a silly version of himself, Huebel stumbles across a corpse — and then shows his friends. The series featured guests including Adam Scott, Terry Crews, Randall Park, John Cho, Rob Corddry, Paul Scheer, Judy Greer, Alexandra Daddario, Michaela Watkins, and Pally.
[Pictured: “Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television” stars Hansen and Wiley.]