Roku announced that it has ordered Season 2 of “Die Hart,” which naturally will be titled “Die Harter,” as an exclusive for the free, ad-supported Roku Channel. “It’s been great to see the incredible response to ‘Die Hart’ on the Roku Channel,” Hart said in a statement. “We’re excited to be partnering with Roku to bring another season to its audience.”
The show is the first former Quibi original that Roku is renewing. Actually, “Die Hart” had already been picked up for a second season by Quibi last September, but that came about a month before the richly funded Jeffrey Katzenberg-led mobile subscription-video startup announced that it was shutting down. In January 2021, Roku paid substantially less than $100 million to snap up the assets of Quibi, a deal that included more than 75 shows.
On May 20, Roku re-premiered 30 of the Quibi shows, rebranded as Roku Originals, available for free to anyone in the U.S., Canada or U.K. Over the first weekend the ex-Quibi programming was available for free on the Roku Channel, “Die Hart” scored as the biggest debut ever on the service in terms of number of households that streamed it, according to Roku. However, the company declined to quantify the audience it claimed watched the show.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring an equally hilarious, action-packed second season to the record number of viewers who have watched in recent days,” said Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original sdcripted programming. Davis, formerly a senior content exec at Quibi, joined Roku in March 2021 after the sale was completed.
As with the first season, “Die Harter” Season 2 will be produced by LOL Studios, the in-house production division of Hart’s Laugh Out Loud. The first season of “Die Hart” starred Kevin Hart, John Travolta, Nathalie Emmanuel, Josh Hartnett and Jean Reno. Other than Hart, Roku and LOL have not confirmed casting for the second season.
In Season 1 of “Die Hart,” which comprises 10 episodes of 7-9 minutes apiece, Kevin Hart plays a fictionalized version of himself who’s tired of being the comedic sidekick. He gets his wish when a famous director offers him his dream — to be a leading-man action star — but with a catch: Kevin must first train at the world’s greatest action star school, which is run by a lunatic (John Travolta). Kevin must survive his coach and competition from a rival student (Nathalie Emmanuel) in a series of over-the-top action sequences and face his fears if he wants to land the role of a lifetime.
Davis declined to say whether the “Die Hart” premiere on the Roku Channel outperformed the show’s bow on Quibi, on July 20, 2020 — but all evidence indicates that it was seen by a far bigger audience. In the first quarter of 2021, the Roku Channel reached an estimated 70 million people in the U.S., Roku estimated. As of the third quarter of 2020, Quibi reached 710,000 subscriber households, according to estimates from research firm Kantar.
“While it is still early days for Roku Originals, we’re clearly seeing the fantastic results of marrying great content with a large audience,” said Rob Holmes, Roku’s VP of programming. He cited the record viewing of “Die Hart” as “yet another proof point of our AVOD flywheel, where compelling content brings in desired audiences, leading to strong advertiser demand and the ability to invest in more content.”
In addition to returning to his starring role, Hart — founder and chairman of Laugh Out Loud — will also executive produce the second season. Laugh Out Loud CEO Jeff Clanagan, who is Hart’s longtime business partner, will serve as producer on the project. Writers/creators Tripper Clancy and Derek Kolstad serve as executive producers, alongside Candice Wilson, Bryan Smiley and Thai Randolph. Eric Appel will return to direct the second season.
“The return of ‘Die Hart’ marks a pivotal moment in the continued growth and expansion of LOL Studios,” said LOL CEO Jeff Clanagan. “We’re excited for the opportunity to team up with Roku and be the first Roku Original to get a second season. We can’t wait for fans to dive into what is sure to be an even bigger, more action-packed season two.”
Launched in 2017, the Roku Channel is the home of free and premium entertainment on the Roku platform — and in the past year, the company has been stocking up on exclusive content, such as through Quibi deal and with the acquisition of the company behind “This Old House.”
Most of the content on the Roku Channel is licensed from third parties, with a lineup of more than 40,000 free movies and TV shows and 190-plus free live linear television channels in the U.S. In addition to Roku devices, the Roku Channel is available on the web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung smart TV models.