When YouTube Red launched last year a big emphasis was placed on original programming, and the platform is now stepping up those efforts in a big way by ordering new shows from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Bourne Identity director Doug Liman. Variety reports that YouTube global head of content Susanne Daniels announced the new shows — along with a new series from Community creator Dan Harmon — during a presentation at the Mipcom trade show on Monday.
Johnson will be executive producing a half-hour action series tentatively titled Lifeline, that is centered around an insurance company that sends its agents 33 days forward in time to prevent the deaths of its various clients. Liman, who has also been dabbling in virtual reality lately, will be directing and executive producing Impulse, an hour-long show about a 16-year-old girl who discovers she can teleport. Harmon's production company will be partnering with Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson from the Game Grumps channel for a show that follows the trials and tribulations of an e-sports team that tries to climb its way to success.
The new shows join the series adaptation of Step Up that YouTube Red acquired this summer. But while the big names and established properties might give the impression that YouTube Red is trying to pivot toward the kinds of traditional programming currently produced by Netflix and Amazon, according to the report Daniels took time to emphasize that was not the case — particularly in terms of casting. "Our goal is to be uniquely YouTube," she’s quoted as saying. "And our thesis is simple: Identify YouTube’s most engaging stars and top genres, and invest in the content that fans tell us they want."