People Magazine is launching a daily live web news show this spring called “PEOPLE Now.”
The web series will feature exclusive interviews and celebrity news stories. The show, hosted by Abbi Crutchfield and Jeremy Parsons, will run 15-20 minutes each morning on the People.com homepage. The program will air live and also be available on multiple touchpoints throughout the site. The show is being announced as part of Time Inc.’s NewFronts presentation where the company is announcing new programming and video initiatives.
Editorial Director Jess Cagle spoke exclusively with TheWrap about the upcoming project.
“We wanted to do a daily live web series, partially because Sports Illustrated, our sister brand, had tremendous success with SI Now,” Cagle said. “We started banging away with our own web series. Web video and mobile are our big priorities for People right now.”
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Cagle thought the two co-stars of the upcoming program had fantastic chemistry together.
“We looked at a lot of people and I thought Abbi and Jeremy clicked,” Cagle said. “I thought they were great together, I thought they were very comfortable with each other and that I would want to hang out with them. They immediately seemed like good friends.”
Editors from the magazine will also appear on the program to provide expert commentary on the day’s top entertainment news stories.
“The People editorial staff will definitely make appearances on our show — you have this whole staff of Hollywood experts to draw on,” Cagle explained. “There’s also that idea in addition to giving you the latest celebrity news there’s also the behind the scenes, here’s how we put that People cover story together, which seems very relevant to a web series that lives on to your own brand.”
When asked if People is considering expanding further into cable, Cagle said he is focused on mobile and web video but thought the sky was the limit when it came to expanding the People brand.
“You look at what certain other brands are doing like National Geographic, and that’s a cable channel, we’re certainly not adverse to doing any of that.”
“One of the good things about being spun off from Time Warner is that we now have a board of directors and these magazine brands are now our company’s priority,” he said. “Now we’re able to focus on growing these brands, you want to grow them in print, you want to grow them in digital, but you also want to grow them in mobile and in web video.”
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When asked what will come next for People.com, Cagle explained that subtle changes were already underway.
“There’s definitely a period of evolution and not revolution if you look at closely we’re making changes every week editorially,” he said. “There are all kinds of adjustment and expansion that we’re going to do that I’m excited about. Cover stories are longer than they used to be. And even Star Tracks is different than it used to be.”