YouTube to Release 50 Original Shows in 2019

The online video platform's head of originals for EMEA touted its upcoming lineup — including sci-fi drama 'Origin' — at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

YouTube’s slate of original programming for its advertising-free premium service is ramping up, according to its head of originals EMEA, Luke Hyams.

Speaking in front of a packed room of — mostly — TV producers at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday, the former Disney exec, who only joined the Google-owned video platform in December, touted the list of upcoming releases on the paid-for YouTube Premium service.

“We’ve had more than 65 shows and movies since it launched at the end of 2016, and we’ve got 50 shows releasing in 2019,” he said, adding that his team was still in the process of programming.

Among the upcoming YouTube shows that were teased in Edinburgh was sci-fi drama Origin, from The Crown producers Left Bank and starring Tom Felton and Natalia Tena. Also in the pipeline is U.K.-produced reality adventure series The Sidemen Show, Kirsten Dunst’s dark comedy On Becoming God in Central Florida, a Robert Downey Jr.-narrated docuseries about artificial intelligence and Will Smith: The Jump, in which the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star will celebrate his 50th birthday by bungee jumping from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon for charity.

“As far as our shopping list goes, on the scripted side we’re looking for personality-driven, authored pieces with the potential for international appeal…shows with central characters, following one person’s narrative,” Hyams said.

“For comedy, we’re after half-hours. More serialized half-hours than traditional sitcoms,” he added. “Not so much stand-ups or specials, but maybe that will change.”

On the upscripted front, Hyams noted that YouTube was particularly interested in “social impact stuff that is entertaining," citing the upcoming Priyanka Chopra series If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, in which the actress speaks to inspirational figures and asks them for advice they think could change the world.