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Vox Media is looking in-house at its stable of editorial brands and roster of writers for its new slate of original programming.
The company behind the Verge, Eater, SB Nation and other brands, has debuted several projects developed under newly appointed head of video Gavin Purcell, who joined the media company from The Tonight Show in October.
“These guys were already making great videos,” Purcell tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m trying to be a centralized resource, creating some formulas that we can build off of. We’ve developed formats that we can go back to.”
Among the projects in the works are Borders, a docuseries from Vox.com and hosted by Johnny Harris about the lines that separate states and countries; Next Level from the Verge about the new technologies that will change people’s lives; and Cult Following, in which Eater editor Serena Dai will visit the world’s most obsessed-over restaurants.
Purcell notes that Vox is already working on all of the projects it is unveiling and plans to release them regardless of brand sponsors. “I”m not a fan of creating a fake idea just to sell it,” he says. “These are all things we’re doing that we believe in.”
Vox is also announcing a partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival to create branded content through their Tribeca Studios and Vox Creative arms. In addition, Twitter on May 1 revealed plans for a live gadget show, Circuit Breaker, from the Verge that will debut this fall with host, and Verge editor in chief, Nilay Patel.
Vox’s digital video efforts serve as a complement to its push into Hollywood via Vox Entertainment, which was created to sell stories based on its brands and IP to linear and over-the-top distributors.
Here is the full Vox digital slate:
Vox’s Vox Pop — The popular video series puts important moments in pop culture under a microscope and explains the efforts and creative forces behind the films, TV and music people love. Vox Pop episodes have been viewed nearly 55 million times to date, with fan favorites including “Rapping, Deconstructed” and “Kanye West, Deconstructed.”
Vox’s Strikethrough — A new video series features host Carlos Maza explaining the new state of journalism and media in the unprecedented Trump era. Strikethrough has already proved to be hugely popular with audiences: pilot episodes, including “Kellyanne Conway’s Interview Tricks Explained” and “Comedians Have Figured Out the Trick to Covering Trump,” have racked up 43 million views and counting.
Vox’s Borders — The new docuseries brings the lines on the world map to life, examining the human impact of boundaries — economic changes, cultural divides, security debates, refugee crises — and the unusual collaborations they can create. Borders is hosted by international relations expert Johnny Harris, who on Monday launched a global crowdsourced campaign to surface story ideas to document for the new series, which will premiere this fall on Vox. Harris is the co-creator of Vox’s most-watched video to date — “Syria’s War: A 5-Minute History” — which has been viewed over 100 million times.
The Verge’s Next Level — In a new series from the Verge, consumer tech expert Lauren Goode investigates the cutting-edge technologies that will change our lives in the very near future. Next Level is the first show to explore and experience the prototypes, concepts and lab experiments that will forever change how we interact with technology, and have a lot of fun along the way.
The Verge’s Loren in Space — In a new series, the Verge’s space specialist Loren Grush explores the physical and mental preparations astronauts undergo before launching into space and zero gravity environments. Loren in Space investigates the latest technologies astronauts use to virtually explore distant stars and planets, the little-known intricacies of human space flight and the emerging commercial space race.
Eater’s You Can Do This — Eater’s tips and tricks guru Clifford Endo, a chef turned stylist and culinary producer, teaches budding home chefs the smartest cooking hacks from professional kitchens. Each Tuesday, Cliff reveals a new culinary magic trick such as creating homemade pickles in under five minutes and transforming a keyboard cleaner into a smoke machine.
Eater’s Cult Following — In a new series, Eater editor Serena Dai visits restaurants across the country to experience and investigate the food world’s most obsessed-over restaurants and in-demand, Instagrammable meals, often with a celebrity chef as her guide. Cult Following taste tests a popular Filipino food chain’s first outpost in Queens alongside chef Dale Talde, a Japanese ramen shop where guests eat in isolation and a steakhouse chain where diners enjoy their meals standing up.
Polygon’s Monster Factory — The hit series from Polygon’s Griffin and Justin McElroy showcases the expert gaming duo, and brothers, at their best as they hilariously create video games’ most terrifying and absurd creatures and characters. Monster Factory has already amassed a devoted audience of millions, and will premiere new episodes every other Friday.
SB Nation’s X’s and O’s — Hosted by former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz, this show provides fans smart breakdowns of football’s most fun and entertaining moments.
SB Nation’s Will You Be My Friend?— Featuring an SB Nation reporter’s hilarious and often successful attempts to meet and befriend professional athletes, Will You Be My Friend? begins with Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks in its premiere episode.
Draft Party Live With SB Nation — A five-hour live video special covering the NFL draft. This year, the show streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and SB Nation (and its 32 NFL team sites) to over one million viewers.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek