Yahoo is teaming up with Simon Cowell for a new music competition: a series called Ultimate DJ, which will have up-and-coming electronic DJs battling for a Sony Music record contract and a headline spot at a major music festival. The show, announced on Variety, is one of many that Yahoo is unveiling tonight at a digital content and advertising presentation in New York City. Cowell, who created The X Factor and was a longtime judge on American Idol, obviously knows his music competition shows, making him a star partner for this project. He'll be executive producing the show. There will also be a tie-in with Tumblr, which will allow viewers to vote on the show live.
"Friends for the 21st century in the era of social media."
In addition to the music series, Yahoo is making yet another half-hour comedy: a sitcom called The Pursuit, which is being described — you can probably guess this if you just think up the most generic sitcom pitch possible — as "Friends for the 21st century in the era of social media," according to The Hollywood Reporter. It's about a group of friends in their late 20s who live in Manhattan, which is already a weird premise because if this was really Friends for 2015 they'd probably be in Brooklyn. But who knows, maybe they've got a rent-controlled apartment, too.
The Pursuit is being made by former Saturday Night Live director Beth McCarthy-Miller and Ted producer Scott Stuber. That sounds like a solid team, and it should help Yahoo build out its already flashy lineup of shows, which includes Community and a new series from Paul Feig, called Other Space.
Yahoo is also stepping into live news shows this year. Katie Couric will begin anchoring a daily broadcast called Yahoo News Live. A separate live weekly show, called Everybody's Business, will cover finance. On the music front, Yahoo is going to continue streaming live concerts in partnership with Live Nation. It's also going to start streaming some music festivals, including the electric festival EDC. In total, Yahoo is adding 14 new shows as part of its "digital magazines," including an auto show hosted by Michelle Rodriguez.
Altogether, the announcements today give off the impression that Yahoo's venture into original media content is going well — or at least, Yahoo still believes it's the right way forward. It's continuing on all of the fronts that it began stepping into last year, and it's clearly queued up another slate of big names to present across 2015.