USA Network today announced the renewal of the critically-acclaimed comedy, PLAYING HOUSE, from Universal Cable Productions, through a new windowing structure, which will allow viewers each week to watch the following week’s episode on Video-On-Demand before it airs on USA. The network will prominently promote the on-demand episodes, driving viewers to watch in the early window. This new approach is designed to offer select advertisers premium placement across millions of multiplatform connected homes, and engage the highly passionate community of PLAYING HOUSE fans across VOD and TV Everywhere platforms. The series, which is executive produced by, written by and stars Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, will return in the second half of 2015 for eight episodes.
“We are so pleased to bring back this beloved series, with the exceptionally talented comedic duo of Jessica and Lennon,” said Chris McCumber, President of USA Network. “Tapping into the increasing power of On Demand, we have the unique opportunity to reward the incredibly devoted fans of PLAYING HOUSE with early access to new content and bring in additional audiences.”
“With the new season of PLAYING HOUSE, we really wanted to give marketers an opportunity to truly follow our video content wherever and whenever the consumer experiences it,” said Linda Yaccarino, President of Advertising Sales for NBCUniversal. “This is a special show in that Jessica, Lennon and the producers will collaborate with our clients to develop custom content in and around the series with this distribution model in mind, as the season develops. It is a prime opportunity for brands to maximize their messaging on different platforms to this highly engaged audience.”
Distributors have seen On Demand TV consumption increase exponentially in recent years, as the platform has grown to become a go-to destination for viewers to catch up and stay current on their favorite shows and discover new ones. NBCU expects to drive over 1.5 billion full episode views On Demand across all platforms in 2014.
“PLAYING HOUSE developed a dedicated audience On Demand and we are excited to work with USA Network to promote the show and to give Xfinity customers the opportunity to catch up on season one and to enjoy season two in a new window,” said Matt Strauss, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Video Services, Comcast Cable. “With nearly three billion hours viewed each year, Xfinity On Demand is a staple in the viewing routines of our customers and has demonstrated the ability to build new audiences, lift ratings, and provide new advertising opportunities.”
Frequently hailed as the new “Lucy and Ethel” or “Tina and Amy,” St. Clair and Parham have emerged as a standout comedic duo. Critics hailed the series as “…next-level hilarious…” and “Punch-You-In-The-Gut Funny,” making it one of USA’s most talked about series of 2014.
“This new programming model is a testament to the quality of PLAYING HOUSE and the brilliance of Jessica and Lennon who turned viewers into loyal fans,” said Jeff Wachtel, President and Chief Content Officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Great content sets the stage for innovation.”
PLAYING HOUSE centers on childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham, “Parks and Recreation,” “Mad Men”) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair, “Bridesmaids”), who together have shared countless adventures growing up in the charming town of Pinebrook, Conn. In the first season, Maggie discovered that her husband Bruce (Brad Morris) was having an online affair, so Emma gave up her burgeoning business career in China to stay in their hometown and help Maggie raise her baby. As they prepared for the birth of Maggie’s first child and the fallout of her marriage ending, Emma was also forced to confront the past that she abruptly left behind thirteen years ago: her first love and local cop, Mark (Keegan-Michael Key), her prim-and-proper mother (Jane Kaczmarek) and a small town in which she’s never felt comfortable. Together, they navigated the adventures of raising a baby in the best way they know how – together.
In addition to St. Clair and Parham, “PLAYING HOUSE” is executive produced by Ravi Nandan of A24 Films (“Hesher”) and Scot Armstrong of American Work, Inc. (“Old School,” “Hangover 2”). The series is produced by Universal Cable Productions.