Yahoo Launches Original Web Shows Targeting Women With Judy Greer, Morgan Spurlock, Niecy Nash

8:01 AM PST 10/04/2011 by Georg Szalai
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images For The Broadcast Television Journalists Association

The online firm also unveiled Yahoo Screen, designed to be the most comprehensive premium Web video content library by combining content from Yahoo and such partners as Hulu, CBS, Turner Sports, Discovery, Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, Funny or Die and ABC News.

NEW YORK - Yahoo on Tuesday unveiled a slate of eight original shows targeting women that feature such Hollywood talent as Judy Greer, Niecy Nash (Reno 911, Dancing with the Stars), Cameron Mathison (All My Children, Dancing with the Stars), Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me, 30 Days) and others.

Seven of the eight shows are live now with new episodes of the weekly series launching on Mondays. Spurlock’s show, Failure Club will kick off in November.

Mickie Rosen, senior vp of the Yahoo Media Network, announced the new shows here at a press event, highlighting that Yahoo had all 10 of the top 10 most-watched Web shows in August. Highlighting that the company's 26 original series, which so far include Primetime in No Time and finance news show The Daily Ticker, among others, strengthen the company's brand, she said that "this is next-generation television."

She also unveiled the launch of a beta version of a revamped video destination, dubbed Yahoo Screen, which she said would be the most comprehensive premium video content library on the Web and combine Yahoo video content with programming from around 70 partners, including Hulu, CBS, Turner Sports, Discovery, Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, Funny or Die and ABC News.

Rosen said Tuesday's news is all part of the "videofication" of the company. "Yahoo is the ultimate producer, partner and distributor of video content online," she said, highlighting that its online original attract 27 million unique visitors, more than Hulu. Last month, Yahoo originals reached more women than Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Bravo, TLC, Lifetime and other female-skewing media brands combined, she said.

Rosen also said that Yahoo is open to other business models, such as subscription components, in the future, but for now it is focused on advertising-supported free content.

The Yahoo shows for women include OMG! Now, an entertainment and celebrity news show hosted by Kristen Aldridge that launched earlier this year and has 75 million views to-date, and new shows Let's Talk About Love hosted by Nash, Spurlock's Failure Club, which follows 10 adults with dreams, only one of whom will reach it, health and fitness show Reluctantly Healthy with Greer, Blue Ribbon Hunter with chef/host Allison Fishman, a travelogue about food festivals, The Ultimate Proposal with Mathison, cooking show Chow Ciao with Fabio Viviani (Top Chef season 5) and Your Friends Will Never Believe You, a hidden camera show in which stars surprise their biggest fans.

Run times for most of the shows are around three and a half and five and a half minutes, Yahoo executives said. Among the advertising partners for the shows are Unilever and Kraft.

Two of the shows are in-house productions from Yahoo Studios, with others developed in partnership with production companies Electus/Principato-Young Entertainment, FishBowl Worldwide Media, Prime Content and Warrior Poets.

Talent at the press announcement, including Greer, Viviani, Mathison, Fishman and Nash, said that they are excited about online video work as it allows them to be themselves, connect with fans and reach a big audience. 

Reluctantly Healthy gives me the chance to share tips and advice about achieving and maintaining a healthy "on the go" lifestyle with viewers who may face the same challenges that I do, and I think Yahoo, with their audience of millions of women, is the perfect place to do it," Greer said.

The programming focus is on the U.S., but Yahoo is also looking to expand its programming into foreign markets as well. For example, it is looking at regional versions of The Thread, its fashion show, executives said.

The Yahoo online series announcement came a day after the company unveiled a video partnership with ABC News and a day after AOL unveiled a slate of original video series.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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