AOL’s 2015 Video Plans Include James Franco, Jared Leto, A Show About Stay-At-Home Dads, And More

The media brand’s NewFronts presentation unveiled a wide variety of short- and long-form content.

AOL’s 2015 Video Plans Include James Franco, Jared Leto, A Show About Stay-At-Home Dads, And More
[James Franco: Gary Gershoff/WireImage, Getty Images; Jared Leto: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho, WireImage, Getty Images]

Not to be outdone by Yahoo on the celebrity front, AOL unveiled its own eclectic mix of programming and celebrity at the 2015 NewFronts.


The company’s content will span its media brands like The Huffington Post, Engadget, TechCrunch, and Makers, as well as new AOL Originals. Presenting to advertisers in New York City, the company announced renewals of Steve Buscemi’s Park Bench series, the actor’s local take on the people, places, and spirit of New York City, as well as James Franco’s Making a Scene, where Franco and fellow artists re-imagine classic TV shows.

“AOL is bringing the very best of culture and code to the NewFront stage this year,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO, AOL in a statement on the new lineup. “We have spent the last five years investing in original video and building one of the most scaled video platforms in the world.”

New original shows include Jared Leto’s Beyond the Horizon, a series about the future from innovators in the present. In this documentary interview series, the Academy Award-winning actor, musician, and tech investor will talk about the future with some of “the world’s most interesting visionaries in the arenas of science, art, technology, and politics.” Citizen Mars is a show that will focus on five of the finalists from the Mars 100 competition, and #BUILTBYGIRLS: Girl U–based on the Cambio initiative–follows a “class” of four young women as they’re given a crash course in a different disciplines each episode, from business and robotics to film and fashion.

Two new shows have emerged from AOL’s new partnership with The Players’ Tribune. The first is The Thursday Sports Show with Ben Lyons is a weekly sports magazine-style show with player profiles and more. Second, How it Happened will be an animated show where world-class athletes talk about the funnier side of the games we love, telling stories about locker room pranks to off-field errors that will be animated onscreen.

Through the Huffington Post, the company unveiled 11 new shows, including Now What with Ryan Duffy, starring the former Vice correspondent chasing stories on innovation, creativity, ingenuity and compassion; The HuffPost 10, 10 short films from 10 creative and diverse storytellers about 10 people, things or causes that together are making the world a better place; and Fabulous Stay-at-Home Dads, a look “at the powerful men running the households behind the world’s most successful women.”

AOL also announced a licensing and distribution deal whereby it will share and develop content with NBCUniversal. AOL will have access to NBCUniversal’s networks, including NBC and CNBC and the two entities will look to create content across both companies’ platforms.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.