PBS Digital Kicks Off 4 New Shows This Year

PBS Digital Studios on Monday unveiled four new shows at its first NewFront event.

The new offerings include “Frankenstein, M.D.," the first scripted series from PBS’ digital video unit, which will follow eccentric, obsessive prodigy Victoria Frankenstein through her various medical experiments.

Created by Pemberton Digital and executive produced by Bernie Su, the series aims to reimagine the classic Gothic novel for today’s “connected generation.” Eight monthly episodes will be released later this year.

PBS Digital will also reboot “Pancake Mountain,” a children’s variety show started in 2003 as a cable-access program by filmmaker Scott Stuckey. Acts including Kings of Leon, The White Stripes and Katy Perry have appeared on the series. The new “Pancake Mountain” will bring back favorite characters while adding new faces. Weekly episodes begin this summer.

Launching today, in partnership with Magnet Media, are “Bongo Bongo,” which explores the history of English-language words, and “Food Buzz,” giving viewers a fast, funny look at news from across the food blogosphere. It also examines the history, science and psychology behind a variety of food memes.

The new series join PBS Digital’s lineup of more than 30 online shows distributed mainly through its network of channels on YouTube. Popular programs include “PBS Idea Channel,” hosted by Mike Rugnetta, “Blank on Blank,” which animates logs interviews with cultural icons, and the science-focused series “It’s Okay To Be Smart.”

Matt Graham, senior director, PBS Digital Studios, told Online Video Daily last week that the video arm, for the first time this year, is also pitching sponsorships for shows. Without getting into specifics, he suggested ad deals could take a variety of forms and that PBS would provide advertisers a brand-safe way to play the online video market.

Since launching in 2012, PBS Digital Studios says it has attracted more than 1 million subscribers and draws more than 5 million monthly streams. Content is also available through PBS.org and over-the-top (OTT) set-top boxes, like Roku and Apple TV as well as the Xbox entertainment console.

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