Put away your magic lamps and save your sacrificial lambs for another day, your prayers have been answered. That is, of course, assuming you were praying for someone to rescue the recently cancelled Fox comedy “Enlisted.” It looks like the digital gods may have smiled on the quirky series, which managed to convert critics and a handful of loyal fans before being axed by Fox after just 13 episodes. According to Deadline, talks are underway between 20th Century Fox and everyone’s favorite new home for second chances, Yahoo Screen.
Yahoo has been making aggressive moves all over the online video space, recently purchasing mobile streaming video startup RayV and assembling a collection of original programming for Yahoo Screen. You may remember that Yahoo also recently waved its magic wand and brought the much mourned NBC sitcom “Community” back to life. “Enlisted” would be the second addition to Yahoo’s underdog programming roster which seems to be focusing on cult comedy.
It’s a strategy that was phenomenally successful for Yahoo Screen rival Netflix. When the streaming video service resurrected cult comedy “Arrested Development,” it not only attracted eyes and subscriptions, it was a signal to mainstream TV viewers that digital platforms were now in the business of creating premium content. As we all know, that strategy ended up with a slew of Emmy wins and nominations for homegrown Netflix projects like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
Unlike Netflix, Yahoo Screen makes its money through ads, not subscriptions. That means that Yahoo will need to attracted TV-sized audiences if they want TV-sized ad rates. Yahoo is most likely hoping that these “name brand” series with mainstream TV pedigrees will act as a shill, bringing more eyes to Yahoo Screen for other original programming. Netflix, and to a degree Amazon, have established themselves in the public eye as homes for TV-quality content. Yahoo needs shows like” Enlisted” and “Community” to help it do the same.
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