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YouTube Red bought 10 episodes of a Karate Kid sequel series with the original stars

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Outbidding Netflix and Amazon

YouTube Red outbid Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and AMC for the rights to Cobra Kai, a Karate Kid sequel series set 30 years after the events of the original movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The half-hour comedy series is centered on the relationship between the film’s teenage hero and villain — Danny LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) — as they open competing karate schools. It’ll be written by Hot Tub Time Machine’s Josh Heald and Harold and Kumar’s Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, with Hurwitz and Schlossberg also signed on to direct several episodes.

In a press release, the trio said, “Cobra Kai​ will be a true continuation of the original films — packed with comedy, heart, and thrilling fight scenes.” Susanne Daniels, head of originals at YouTube, told THR that the pickup would be part of an effort to push YouTube Red’s audience out of its current demographic (18 to 34) and into a broader audience of viewers aged 18 to 49.

Cobra Kai isn’t the first YouTube Red project based on a beloved film — a drama series based on the 2006 film Step Up will debut this fall, starring Ne-Yo. But if YouTube is outbidding content giants like AMC and Netflix, it’s obviously getting more serious about original content. This pickup comes less than two months after the VidCon announcement that YouTube Red originals had racked up 250 million views on its first season of 27 films and series. In May, Bloomberg reported that YouTube would spend hundreds of millions in the coming year to create even more original content — though Netflix is making a habit of spending billions and Amazon is busy catching up.

YouTube Red has had some trouble picking up subscribers, and the subscription service will soon merge with Google Play Music to create one streaming platform.