NBCUniversal is making its bet on the streaming-video landscape with the planned launch of a comedy-focused subscription-video service called Seeso.
Announced Thursday at an event in New York, Seeso will launch in invite-only beta in December and is planned for a wide release in January. For $3.99 a month, the service will offer up a mix of original series, exclusive content and licensed material.
With Seeso, NBCU is going after comedy fans instead of trying to compete for a wider demographic the way Netflix, Hulu and even new entrants from CBS and others do. Seeso plans to hand-curate the content for the site and will have guests select on-demand playlists with video recommendations each month.
“Big streaming services have created a paradox of choice — they’re great if you know exactly what to watch, but if you aren’t in the middle of a binge, the search can be near endless,” said Evan Shapiro, exec vp digital enterprises at NBCU. “By focusing on a specific yet large niche, and providing a curated experience, we can help viewers find good stuff they might not or cannot find. Seeso is your neighborhood comedy eatery, with daily specials from a chef you trust.”
Seeso is prepping more than 20 original series during its first year. Among them is HarmonQuest, an animated series from Community‘s Dan Harmon, The UCB Show from sketch comedy troop Upright Citizens Brigade and reality spoof show Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ from exec producers Scott Aukerman, Ben Garant, Tom Lennon and Kulap Vilaysack. Other originals will come from stand-up comic and former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac and Lorne Michaels‘ Broadway Video.
Seeso also will offer a collection of series available for the first time on streaming, including Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Also streaming on the service will be The Kids in the Hall and complete collections of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live, including new episodes available the day after they air. The entire catalog of NBC’s The Office and the original BBC version of The Office will also be available alongside 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation.
The ad-free service will be available on the web and streaming via connected devices and other distribution partners. NBCU says the launch of SeeSo will not affect its pre-existing deals with Hulu, which it co-owns as a silent partner alongside 21st Century Fox and Disney, and YouTube, where many of its late-night clips go viral.
Here is a full list of original series and stand-up specials:
Bajillion Dollar Propertie$
A half-hour, semi-scripted comedy with an ensemble of seven real estate agents set against the backdrop of a luxury, cutthroat L.A. real estate firm. Created and executive produced by Kulap Vilaysack. Executive produced by Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, Scott Aukerman and David Jargowsky. Production services by Comedy Bang! Bang! Productions for Paramount Television. Eight, half-hour episodes.
Before the Morning After
A late-night comedy entertainment show featuring the world’s best comedians getting drunk in a diner at 2 a.m. at the world’s largest festival. Hosts include Jena Friedman, Alex Edelman, Greg Proops, and more. Executive produced by Gary Reich for Brown Eyed Boy. Ten, 15-minute episodes.
Big Jay Oakerson’s What’s Your F*@#ing Deal
Let go of pretension and leave your ego at the door as Big Jay Oakerson leads a pack of comics in a completely improvised show based on interactions with the crowd. Starring and executive produced by Jay Oakerson. Executive produced by Cris Italia, David Kimowitz, Lou Wallach, and Frank Mosca. Eight, half-hour episodes.
Dave & Ethan: Lovemakers
A comedic sketch and game show that makes impromptu love connections between contestants plucked off the streets of New York City. Starring and executive produced by Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell. Executive produced by Jen Danielson, Ashley Bearden and Josh Poole for Above Average. Six, half-hour episodes.
An imaginative, cinematic comedy about an eccentric family — The Flowers — struggling to hold themselves together. Starring Olivia Colman and Julian Barratt. Written and directed by Will Sharpe. Executive produced by Naomi de Pear and Diederick Santer for Kudos. A co-production with Channel 4. Six, half-hour episodes.
Based on the hit GQ series, Garrett and Quinn are best friends and roommates struggling to survive the devastating reality that is being a 20-something lobster. Starring and executive produced by Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider. For Condé Nast Entertainment, executive producers are Dawn Ostroff, Michael Klein and Jed Weintrob. For HotHouse Productions, executive producers are Michael J. Rizzo and Sean Conroy. Eight, 15-minute episodes.
A comedic journey into the hilarious world of fantasy role-playing with Dan Harmon and his Comedian Companions. Starring Dan Harmon, Spencer Crittenden, Erin McGathy and Jeff Bryan Davis. Created and executive produced by Dan Harmon and Spencer Crittenden. Produced by Starburns Industries and Universal Cable Productions. Ten, half-hour episodes.
Hidden America with Jonah Ray
A fake travel show where the places are real but the people aren’t. Starring Jonah Ray. Executive produced by Ray, Troy Miller, Alex Murray, Todd Sellers and produced by Dakota Pictures. Nine, half-hour episodes.
Live From The Barrel House
A live stand-up series set at the famed Barrel House in San Francisco and featuring showcase performances from top comedians. Executive produced by Rooftop Comedy. Eight, hourlong episodes.
New York’s Funniest
Launched in 2008 and set at the famed Carolines on Broadway, the “New York’s Funniest” competition is open to any and all performers from around The Big Apple — the comedy mecca — who think they have what it takes to be “New York’s Funniest.” Executive produced by Caroline Hirsch, Louis Faranda, Andrew Fox and Lou Wallach. Four, half-hour episodes and one hourlong episode.
Night Train with Wyatt Cenac
A freewheeling mix of stand-up, music and other surprises, where anything can happen and anything is welcome, Night Train with Wyatt Cenac captures the amazing talent and spontaneity that has made the live show a staple of the New York comedy scene for the past three years. Starring and executive produced by Wyatt Cenac. Produced by Avalon Television Inc., with Marianne Ways as executive consultant. Six, hourlong episodes.
Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane
A musical comedy about two mismatched housemates from the acclaimed comedic duo, Sammy J, a human, and Randy, a purple puppet. Starring Sammy J and Randy. Created and written by Sammy J and Randy. Produced by Donna Andrews, co-produced by Chris McDonald and directed by Jonathan Brough. Sticky Pictures executive producers are Donna Andrews and Stu Connolly. ABC executive producers are Rick Kalowski and Brett Sleigh. A Sticky Pictures Production in association with the ABC TV, Screen Australia and Film Victoria. Six, half-hour episodes.
The story of two kindred spirits trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth, exploring love, loyalty and fashion in four different lifetimes. Starring Nick Boshier and Christiaan Van Vuuren. Created by Christiaan Van Vuuren, Connor Van Vuuren and Nick Boshier. Written and directed by Connor Van Vuuren and Christiaan Van Vuuren. Produced by Chloe Rickard. Executive producers are Rick Kalowski, Greg Waters and Abe Forsythe. A Van Vuuren Bros and Ludo Production in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen NSW. Six, half-hour episodes.
Take My Wife (w/t)
A half hour single-cam series that follows a young married couple as elements of their domestic lives provide material for the underground stand-up showcase they co-host. Starring and executive produced by Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. Executive produced by Scott Aukerman and David Jargowsky for Comedy Bang! Bang! Productions. Six, half-hour episodes.
The Amazing Gayl Pile
A scripted series about one man’s misguided quest to conquer the world of home shopping. Starring and executive produced by Morgan Waters and Brooks Gray. Executive produced by Matt King and Andrew Ferguson for LaRue Entertainment in association with Tom Spriggs for The Coronel Group, Jonathan Stern for Abominable Pictures, Paul Scheer for 2nd Man on the Moon and Becca Kinskey. Ten, 15-minute episodes.
The Comedy Show Show
A series highlighting the best themed comedy shows across the U.S., from panel shows to contests to comedy storytelling. Executive produced by Rooftop Comedy. Eight, hourlong episodes.
The Cyanide & Happiness Show
An animated comedy series based on the popular web comic, which has cultivated a passionate online following with more than 4.9 million YouTube subscribers and 821 million views, including a record 117 million monthly views this past August. Created and executive produced by Rob DenBleyker, Kris Wilson and Dave McElfatrick of ExplosmEntertainment, and executive produced by Collective Digital Studio. Ten, 15-minute episodes.
The UCB Show
A weekly variety showcase for the best sketch, characters and stand-up homegrown at the UCB Theatres in L.A. and NYC. Hosted by Upright Citizens Brigade co-founders Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh and filmed with a live audience at UCB Sunset in Hollywood. Executive produced by Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, Bart Coleman and Lou Wallach. Eight, half-hour episodes.
A workplace comedy with reality elements, Thingstarter is about a startup company that develops ridiculous yet plausible products and takes them into the real world to get feedback from real people and experts. Created and executive produced by Lucas Klauss, Matt Moskovciak, and Ben Stadler. Executive produced by Jen Danielson, Ashley Bearden, and Josh Poole for Above Average. Six, 15-minute episodes.
Besser Breaks The Record
An hourlong stand up special from Matt Besser. From Comedy Dynamics.
Rory Scovel: The Charleston Special
An hourlong stand up special from Rory Scovel. Executive produced by Rory Scovel, Molly Mandel, and Mike Berkowitz.
Untitled Cameron Esposito Stand-Up Special
An hourlong stand up special from Cameron Esposito. From Comedy Dynamics.