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If Netflix and Amazon want to be the disrupters of television, Crackle wants to imitate it.
The Sony-owned streaming service used its short time at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to announce an update to its streaming television app that mirrors the linear TV experience. A new feature called Always On, which was first announced in April, auto-plays a scheduled program immediately upon the app’s launch.
Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks at Sony Pictures Television, took the stage to plug the new feature, noting that Crackle would “look more like a traditional cable channel with all the benefits of on-demand viewing.” He added that Crackle would soon begin scheduling the Always On feature, creating programming blocks for daytime, primetime and late night.
Although Crackle introduced its first original series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in 2012 — the same year that Netflix joined the original programming fray with Lilyhammer — the streamer has lagged behind its competitors in volume of content. In fact, after tackling a handful of comedy and film projects, Crackle was at the TCA event on Wednesday to promote its first hour-long drama, The Art of More.
The series, which seeks to showcase the gritty underbelly of the high-stakes New York auction world, marks Dennis Quaid‘s return to television following the cancelation of CBS drama Vegas in 2013. “It used to be you had movies and television and you wouldn’t cross over,” Quaid said during the show’s TCA panel, noting that that has changed. “There’s so much exciting material being done on television. It’s a draw. Everyone wants to do TV now.”
Quaid executive produces and stars in The Art of More as Sam Brukner, a self-made billionaire and art collector whose business is being courted by Christian Cooke‘s Graham Connor, a war veteran who remade himself in the art and auction world by using the connections he made while smuggling antiquities during his years as a soldier in Iraq. Kate Bosworth and Cary Elwes also star.
Series creators Gardner Stern (The Practice) and Chuck Rose (Almost Dangerous) plan to format the 10-episode series as a sort of procedural with a new auction that will drive each episode’s narrative in addition to exploring some broader season arcs.
The art world has been little explored on television, and Cooke credits Crackle for ordering a series with a unique point-of-view. “We all feel quite lucky that this is not a subject matter that’s been seen on television before,” he said. “We get to tackle the subject matter on a streaming service, which is the future of television.”
But working with Crackle doesn’t provide all the freedoms that typically come with a streaming outlet. Because it is ad-supported, the writers have to avoid some swear words. “There are a few restrictions, but we have more leeway,” said Stern, joking, “we haven’t tried for the full frontal yet but you never know.”
The Art of More premieres November 19 on Crackle, which is available online and on connected TV devices including Apple TV and Roku.
Another new series coming to the streamer is Bryan Cranston-produced stop-motion animated series Supermansion, which premieres Dec. 17. Jerry Seinfeld‘s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee returns January 6 and Sports Jeopardy! returns September 23.
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