Lionsgate, Comic-Con Tease Original Shows for Subscription Video App

Launching for early members in May, Comic-Con HQ will include original shows with stars from “Supernatural” and magician Jason Latimer

Lionsgate and Comic-Con teased more programming Monday for their joint subscription-video service Comic-Con HQ, set to be available free for early members in May 7.

The companies haven’t set a price for the service when it launches to the public at large in June, but they said that anybody can be a free, early, beta member starting in May.

The service is the latest example of a niche brand aiming to leverage its popularity into an online subscription service, like a mini Netflix. Lionsgate also helped the media company that owns and operates the Tribeca Film Festival launch the same kind of service in October, while NBCUniversal has debuted comedy subscription service Seeso, and Amazon has built a system to let almost any video company create an online subscription channel for members of its Prime program.

The hope for groups like Comic-Con is to become year-round media property that reaches viewers increasingly shifting their media diets online.

Among the shows set for Comic-Con service, “Supernatural” actors Richard Speight and Rob Benedict will star in scripted comedy series “Kings of Con” based on real-life fan convention experiences. (Speight and Benedict were already developing the program though crowd-funding platform Indiegogo.)

Adam Sessler, a veteran of video-game network G4, will host a recurring 1-on-1 interview series, as well as executive produce other programs on comics, science and gaming

Magician Jason Latimer will lead “Impossible Science,” a science entertainment program exploring how science fiction inspires magic acts and how technology achieving the impossible with applied science.

The companies said Comic-Con HQ is also developing other formats like a general pop culture news show, a late-night talk show, and two roundtable discussion shows: one weekly movie talk in partnership with Complex’s Collider inspired by their popular Collider Movie Talk series, and another all-female panel on pop culture.

Joining those shows is the previously announced unscripted series hosted by Ashley Eckstein, the actress founder of “fangirl” fashion company, Her Universe. The show follows contestants as they design geek “couture” concepts for a San Diego Comic-Con catwalk  fashion show.

The service will include live-streamed San Diego Comic-Con programming, including airings of select panels, virtual access to the convention floor and on-the-sidelines sanctioned events previously unavailable to the public, like the Masquerade and the Eisner Awards.

And the service will pad its catalog with a library of new and archival panels, behind-the-scenes previews and licensed film and TV series that fit its audience — science-fiction, fantasy, cult classics, action/adventure and horror.

“For nearly half a century, Comic-Con has served as the definitive common ground where the fans of genre entertainment come together to express their passion for comics and pop culture,” said Seth Laderman, the service’s executive vice president and general manager, in a statement. “Comic-Con HQ aspires toextend that exchange 365 days a year, bringing everything we love about Comic-Con to the world in ways never before seen and experienced.”