By Sahil Patel
AOL is beginning to roll out its 2014 original programming slate. A day after announcing its first long-form show, “Connected,” the company has unveiled “Park Bench,” an unscripted series that provides actor Steve Buscemi’s take on what makes New York New York.
Produced by Olive Productions and Radical Media, “Park Bench” will follow Buscemi as he walks around the Big Apple and interviews both locals and his celebrity friends. It will be free-form in the sense that episodes could focus on anything from his and his guest’s take on pop culture to current events, to whatever happens while out-and-about in New York.
“Having lived and worked in New York my whole life, I’m ready to take advantage of all it has to offer,” said Buscemi in a statement. “I just need to lay down for five minutes.”
AOL has exclusive US rights to the first season, and will air it on AOL On under its AOL Originals umbrella. The show falls in line with the company’s oft-stated strategy of unscripted programming centered on prominent online and traditional-media celebrities. Previous shows have starred the likes of Nicole Richie, Justine Ezarik, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
FremantleMedia International has partnered with Radical Media to distribute the show globally, and will be shopping it for buyers at the upcoming MIPTV.
Production on “Park Bench” is set to begin this month in New York. Wren Arthur and Buscemi are executive producing for Olive Productions, alongside Justin Wilkes, Joe Killian, and Joe Doran for Radical Medai.
Buscemi, who’s repped by WME, is a Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated actor, who currently headlines HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” If you really needed this sentence to know who he was, we might need to have a private conversation.