On the heels of the global launch of the Icon Network with Michelle Phan, Endemol Beyond USA, the digital-video arm of Endemol Shine North America, announced its plans to launch two new digital-first networks, including pop-culture focused Looksy and Smasher, a sports and gaming network led by digital stars Toby Turner (pictured) and Jesse Wellens.
The announcements were made May 7 by Vivi Zigler, president, digital, brand & audience development, Endemol Shine, and Will Keenan, president, Endemol Beyond, at the NewFronts in New York City.
“Thanks to the astonishing draw of Michelle Phan and all of our terrific talent partners, we’ve successfully launched Icon as the first global premium lifestyle network,” said Keenan in a media release. “We are now thrilled to add two new digital-first networks, expanding Endemol Beyond USA’s programming reach into sports, gaming and pop culture with some of the biggest names in the business.”
Both new networks, aimed at attracting millennials, are set to launch in 2015. Details include:
- Looksy: This new network promises to deliver trending news, memes, parodies, fan creations and the edgy fun of everything in “the now,” according to the company. The network will also feature digital headliners including Brittany Furlan and Andy Milonakis, as well as scripted series Neurotica, from the writers/producers of The Office and HBO’s Hello Ladies, and reality series True Internet Tales from Emmy-nominated producer Michael Lynn.
- Smasher: Twisting sports and gaming with a dash of irreverent comedy into a new guilty pleasure for millennial men, Smasher’s premium slate features successful international imports Rule’m Sports and Legends of Gaming from Endemol Beyond UK. The new U.S. versions respectively star digital luminaries Jesse Wellens (PrankvsPrank) and Toby Turner (Tobuscus), who, combined, have nearly 30 million YouTube subscribers.
Endemol Beyond is also set to launch several new original series with Pitbull, building upon its relationship with the international musician, who is already behind the Endemol Beyond series Gentleman’s Code and The Most Bad Ones. The new series from Pitbull, which are both slated to launch in 2015, include Masterclass and Pitbull Presents.
In addition, it’s signed an overall deal with American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez, who will be featured in a number of new original series across Endemol Beyond’s digital networks.
The Icon network went live in the United States and the U.K. in March, with roll-outs across Western Europe and Asia planned later this year. Star Michelle Phan will program the network’s beauty, fashion, wellness, food, travel and human interest content.