By Sahil Patel
WNET, the flagship PBS station in New York, is partnering with PBS Digital Studios to produce two new YouTube series. It’s the first “major co-production deal” between PBS Digital Studios and a PBS member station.
Per the deal, WNET’s Interactive Engagement Group will collaborate with its WLIW21 production unit and PBS Digital Studios to produce 40 episodes of new short-form programming for the PBS Digital Studios network on YouTube in January 2015. Targeting a January 2015 debut, the first show will focus on issues surrounding gender identity and the second will focus on consumer technology. Both will be host-driven.
As with existing PBS Digital Studio series like “PBS Idea Channel,” “It’s Okay to be Smart” and “Blank on Blank,” it’s likely that both new programs will be made available via their own YouTube channel.
“This new collaboration with WNET will help boost the volume of high-quality content available across the PBS Digital Studios network,” said Ira Rubenstein, SVP and GM of PBS Digital, in a statement. “WNET is a great example of how PBS member stations are eager to experiment and partner with PBS Digital Studios to offer audiences innovative programming on digital platforms. I think you’ll see more partnerships with other member stations in the future.”
While the first major co-production partnership between PBS Digital Studios and a PBS member station, it’s not the first collaboration between PBS Digital Studios and WNET. Last year, the Interactive Engagement Group premiered “Diorama,” a series of videos that broke down big ideas about science and natural history in an easy-to-understand way. That project was a result of a new-media partnership between WNET and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Casting for the two new YouTube shows is underway, with more information on that as well as on premiere dates to come at a later date.