Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are teaming up once again, this time to launch a new reality show called The Runner exclusively on Verizon's Go90 video app. The show has an outlandish premise: one individual must traverse the country in less than 30 days unnoticed while countless participants, including viewers, work to locate and capture the person. Damon and Affleck will executive produce the show through their company Pearl Street Films alongside Pilgrim Media Group and Adaptive Studios, which the duo has worked with in the past for HBO's Project Greenlight.
The series was first sold to ABC in 2000, but the unique manhunt-as-entertainment idea was shelved following the 9/11 attacks. Yahoo picked it up in 2005, where The Runner remained in development for years. (Yahoo recently shut down its original video platform Yahoo Screen.) Verizon's choice to pick up the series for Go90, its free mobile video service, shows how serious the telecom giant is about tapping into younger audiences who've abandoned television for Snapchat and other online video platforms.
The Runner is Verizon's most aggressive push yet into original mobile video
Go90, the name Verizon gave to the act of turning your phone sideways to watch horizontal videos, won't be profitable for quite some time, company executives have admitted. The ad-supported app features TV shows from network partners like Comedy Central and TLC, and Verizon has been courting online video makers in the last few months to create original short-form content. The Runner, however, gives the company a high-profile TV series to use as a testing ground for the mobile advertising efforts of its AOL subsidiary.
"This is an excellent format for a brand new platform," Marc Joubert, a co-foudner at Adaptive Studios, said in a statement. "The Runner is our way of meeting a millennial audience where they live – on their smartphones and on social media." Verizon head of product innovation Shawn Strickland says Go90 "is inherently social and producing content that supports those elements of the platform creates a pairing for something unique." It's unclear when the show will premiere on Go90.
Verizon wants you to Go90 with mobile video