AOL has commissioned its first longform video series which is based on the Israeli cable format Mehubarim. Known as Connected in international markets, the observational documentary series will air on premium video platform, AOL On Network. It’s AOL’s first acquisition and adaptation of a new storytelling format which sees the participants film themselves. Created by Ram Landes of Israel’s Koda Communications, the U.S. version of Connected will chronicle the lives of five seemingly disconnected New Yorkers as their parallel stories unfold and eventually come together. Local versions currently air in Israel, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Holland, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Ukraine. Koda will produce Connected in the U.S. with a debut set for April 29 at AOL’s Digital Content NewFronts. It is then expected to premiere via On Network in January and will be available across a selection of partner sites. Tal Simantov, AOL’s VP of Global Video Strategy, says, “As we expand our original content offerings, and dive into new international markets, it makes sense for us to carry over unique production styles to the United States. Connected has seen major success across the globe, and we are confident that the universal themes and focus on real life will speak just as loudly to American audiences as they have abroad.” Here’s a teaser from AOL that incorporates footage from some international versions:
EXCLUSIVE: American Dad executive producer Nahnatchka Khan is emerging as the comedy star of this buying season with a second half-hour project that sparked heated bidding. A month after Fox won the bidding war for her single-camera family comedy Connected, ABC just landed Khan’s relationship comedy Dealbreaker in a similarly competitive situation. Both projects are produced by 20th TV where Khan is under an overall deal. Khan will co-write Dealbreaker, which landed a premium script commitment with penalty from ABC, with American Dad writer Laura McCreary. It is based on the blog by comics Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson and their recent book of the same name. The blog and the book are described as a “hilarious reference guide to the qualities that, when discovered, transform the ‘date you hope to go home with’ into the ‘date you pray never calls again’” and as a catalogue of characteristics that serve as early warning signs of possible relationship discontent. Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures, which had optioned the rights to the book, will serve as executive producers on the TV project.
After a bidding war, Fox has handed out a put pilot commitment to Connected, a single-camera family comedy from from American Dad! executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler. Khan will write and executive produce the project, an edgy family comedy about two families linked by their teens’ romantic relationship. She will executive produce with Cutler and Mosaic’s Ann Blanchard. Connected is produced by 20th Century Fox TV where Khan is under an overall deal.
Khan, who has been on Dad! since the beginning, has both live-action and animation background. She got her start in kids animated series at Walt Disney TV Animation after graduating from USC’s film school. She worked her way into primetime with gigs on such series as Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle, WB’s What I Like About You and NBC’s Good Morning, Miami. This represents Cutler’s first major foray into scripted TV. In February, the documentarian and reality producer inked a first-look deal with 20th TV’s corporate sibling Fox TV Studios with a focus on scripted development.