YouTube Star Ray William Johnson Launches Time Travel Series on Facebook (Video)
"Riley Rewind" is the first long-form drama to debut exclusively on the social networking platform, according to its producers.
YouTube Star Ray William Johnson has his sights set on conquering new online territory with Riley Rewind, which debuted on Facebook on Thursday.
Johnson directed the series, which was written by and stars Anna Akana as a high school student who is able to "rewind" moments in her life and live them over and over again. Among the troubles she runs into when this comes in handy: finding a bomb at a school dance and attempting to go back and save a student who dies. But each rewind takes a physical toll on her body, so much so that it threatens her life.
Riley Rewind is produced by Runaway Machine, which Johnson and Akana formed earlier this year.
Act I of the series, which is comprised of five videos all roughly ten minutes long, is something of an experiment for Johnson, one of the most popular content creators on YouTube.
A rep for Johnson tells The Hollywood Reporter the YouTube star gave Facebook a one-day window of exclusivity to see what the response would be. The series will hit YouTube on Friday. The rep says Johnson received offers to sell Riley Rewind, but the star wanted to keep it free for his fans.
More Riley Rewind is in development and will be produced if the response is strong enough. Earlier on Friday, Riley Rewind was trending on Twitter, and the episode has been liked more than 12,000 times.
Johnson has a strong following on YouTube, with 2.9 billion upload views and over 10.5 million subscribers to his channel. He is perhaps best known for hosting the snarky YouTube series =3, in which he dissects viral videos. Earlier this year, Johnson was featured in THR's Comedy Class of 2013.
Watch Riley Rewind below.