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Yahoo Partners with Tom Hanks for Animated Web Series

Published: January 9, 2012 | 2:45 pm
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Yahoo is taking yet another step toward pushing itself as a content-focused company with the announcement of a new Web series being launched in partnership with Hollywood icon Tom Hanks.

Called Electric City, the new animated show will be produced by Hanks’ company Playtone and Reliance Entertainment and streamed exclusively online. The science fiction-themed show, set to debut this spring, will run for about 20 episodes, at roughly 4 minutes per clip.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Yahoo’s Executive Vice President, Ross Levinsohn, said that Yahoo intends to develop “not just shows, but real experiences. We’re looking to build franchises…”

Electric City, Yahoo’s first original scripted show, will be set in a post-apocalyptic world and attempt to take on various social issues. Aside from his producer role on the show, Hanks will also double as the voice of the lead character. Hanks, who was also the voice of Woody from Pixar’s hit film series Toy Story, is no stranger to playing animated characters. But diving into the uncertain waters of producing Internet-exclusive content presents a new challenge for the actor/director, and may help push other, often hesitant, Hollywood luminaries to explore tie-ups with Internet brands pioneering the next phase of content distribution.

Yahoo’s other significant original content in the works includes a comedy channel set to debut in February fronted by a show called Bill Maher Live from Silicon Valley. We got our first taste of the high production value and star power Yahoo intends to include in such efforts with its recent Yahoo! News/Funny or Die GOP Cyber Debate, a mock debate featuring some of your favorite character actors with former CNN host Larry King moderating.

The Electric City announcement comes just days after rumors surfaced that Yahoo might be looking to acquire Netflix to boost its online content distribution profile. Whether or not that deal comes to pass, this new move essentially confirms that Yahoo’s future could be more about content, rather than search. Hanks is scheduled to join Levinsohn at CES at a private event to screen clips from the new show.

Source: PC Magazine


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