"Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" — Jerry Seinfeld's drinking (coffee) and driving talk show — launched online TV network Crackle as an original programming channel. Today at the NewFronts, where tech companies introduce their new online shows, Crackle announced that the show will get four new seasons, through 2016.
"Comedians" was one of the eight new or renewed shows that the Sony-owned Crackle network announced today (April 30). The others include "Chosen," "Playing it Forward," "Cleaners," Throwaways," "Sequestered," "Tightrope" and "Sports Jeopardy." All will be offered for free, supported by commercials and lots of product placement. Crackle announced the premier dates for some of the programs, but not all of them.
1. "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"
Seinfeld's breakout online hit has a simple premise: Jerry digs up an interesting (often silly) car and picks up a comedian friend for a cup of java. Whatever car Seinfeld drives, you'll see plenty of Acuras along the way, as the company is a major sponsor. (Seinfeld openly jokes about looking for his product placement as he drives around.) The conversations are rambling and frank, sometimes hysterical, and sometimes flat and awkward. But overall, the show's been a hit, winning Webby awards and getting nominated for an Emmy. The show has been renewed for four more seasons, through 2016. Season 5 premiers in "early summer."
At the other extreme is this action-adventure show in which an average person is blackmailed into becoming an assassin against a random target. Meanwhile, the assassin has to flee other average folks who are blackmailed into killing him or her. "Chosen" has had three seasons, beginning with former "Heroes" star (and now executive producer) Milo Ventimiglia. Season four stars Chad Michael Murray, who described Crackle at the presentation by saying, "They're the one place that has the balls to put this show on the air." Watch for BMW and Verizon products in the background and foreground.
3. "Playing It Forward"
Actor Robert Downey Jr. reminds viewers that he is also a musician and is concerned about the lack of music education for children in the U.S. In this show that he executive produces, a famous musician — among them John Legend — puts on a surprise public concert in each episode. After each performance, the show also donates $100,000 to music education.
This thriller is about two "gorgeous female assassins," as they were described at the presentation, who wind up being targeted by their own boss. Returning for a second season, the show's cast includes Gina Gershon, David Arquette, Emily Osment and Emmanuelle Chriqui. The 12 new episodes, debuting in August, take place in exotic Caribbean locations.
5. "The Throwaways"
"Bourne" star Jeremy Renner executive produces this story about a misfit special ops force. "They're not the 'A-Team,'" Renner explained in a video message. "They're the a-holes." But he turned dark when describing the hacking and security aspect of the show, saying he had brought in "some of the world's greatest hackers" as consultants. "Everything is wired," he said. "You're not just being heard and watched. Things you own can now be controlled." The show seems to play off the same NSA-amplified surveillance fears that the extremely anticipated game "Watchdogs" (coincidentally due soon on Sony's PlayStation) also stokes. Watch for the mess of consumer electronics product placements in the first five minutes of the show when it debuts this winter.
"Twelve Angry Men" gets more than a remake in this thriller about a jury that is not only sequestered in a hotel but also caught up in a tampering scandal on a case with "major national political implications," as the stars described it. The cast includes Heather Dubrow of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and former "Terminator" Summer Glau.
"I've always loved dicks," Bryan Cranston told a laughing audience in New York City this afternoon before clarifying that he meant detectives (a la "Dick Tracy"). The "Breaking Bad" star announced a return to comedy as executive producer of "Tightrope." It's an over-the-top spoof of film noir detective shows, shot in black and white, featuring groan-inducing comedy. In one scene, the detective engages in a detailed conversation with a prospective lover about herpes before flashing the fictional product placement, a box of Emperor Trojans, "for when you want to get royally screwed." As different as this material is from "Breaking Bad," it's not a far journey for Cranston. He played for laughs as the dad in "Malcolm in the Middle." "Breaking Bad" was produced by Sony Pictures, a division of Crackle's parent company, so Cranston is working with the same core team.
8. Sports Jeopardy
"I'm the Alex Trebek of sports," said Dan Patrick, the Emmy-winning sports caster who will host a new version of the "Jeopardy" quiz show, which is dedicated to sports trivia. (Sony owns the "Jeopardy" franchise.) Like the original, "Sports Jeopardy" will be filmed in front of a live audience. It will air every week, 52 weeks per year. The show grew out of Sony's Sports Jeopardy mobile game, and Crackle said that the app will interact with the show "to unlock new clues," though the company wasn't more specific.