Forget about TV networks like NBC and CBS. Binge-watching original programming on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu? Yesterday’s news. No, when it comes to seeking out entertainment, the forward-thinking TV viewer living on the bleeding edge of technology will fire up their web browser and surf over to Yahoo and its smorgasbord of original programming.
Or so Marissa Mayer would like it to be.
The word from the Wall Street Journal is that Mayer’s content-obsessed Yahoo is going to jump feet first into making its own TV shows—10-episode half-hour comedies that you will presumably watch when you’re not sharing photos on Flickr, posting things on Tumblr, or adjusting your fantasy baseball lineup on Yahoo Sports. Of course, with essentially every tech company in the known universe planning some sort of original programming push, Yahoo may find it hard to stand out from the Amazons and Hulus of the streaming entertainment world.
But Marisa Mayer & Co. shouldn’t fret—we’re here to help. Let Microsoft have its fancy-schmansy Halo-based show and Netflix gorge itself on House of Cards episodes: There are plenty of other ways that Yahoo can make its mark in the realm of original programming, and it can draw on the world of high tech for inspiration.
Larry Page’s Fantasy Island
Google’s CEO dons Mr. Roarke’s familiar white suit, as he welcomes you to this remake of the late ’70s/early ’80s TV show where people can live out their fantasies. But this Fantasy Island only caters to tech CEOs, allowing them to test products and services free of regulatory scrutiny, consumer privacy concerns, and pesky tech reporters asking nagging questions like “Are you sure this doesn’t violate the laws of both God and Man?” Along for the ride is Larry Page’s shadowy assistant Tattoo (Eric Schmidt), who’s always there to lend a helping hand should an experiment go awry. (This is how Google Wave was disposed of.)
The Social Network
In the glorious tradition of TV shows that started off life on the big screen (M*A*S*H*, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—OK, some of these are more glorious than others), Aaron Sorkin’s unflinching look at the founding of Facebook becomes an uproarious fish-out-of-water sitcom. Mark Zuckerberg (Michael Cera) may be the CEO of the world’s largest social network, but that doesn’t make him a social butterfly. In each episode, Mark gets into one kooky misadventure after another, whether it’s a wacky misunderstanding about “poking” involving his roommate’s mother or inadvertently spending $2 billion to buy a virtual-reality headset. Thankfully, he’s got his long-suffering chief operating officer Sheryl (Lauren Graham) and his zany next-door neighbor Bluto (Freddie Prinze Jr.) to bail him out of any sticky situation, whether it’s a comical case of mistaken identity or a gross violation of user privacy.
You’ve Got (Apple) Mail
Who needs high-priced writers to come up with scripts when Apple executives have already written out stories for you in easy-to-reenact email form? The latest Apple-Samsung trial has produced a treasure trove of fascinating correspondence from Apple bigwigs—and now that it’s entered into evidence, there’s nothing stopping Yahoo from producing dramatic re-enactments of those missives. Thrill as Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) promises a “holy war” against Samsung. Gasp as Phil Schiller (Gil Bellows) berates representatives from Apple’s ad agency (special musical guests OK Go). And you won’t want to miss the season finale to find out which Apple executive inadvertently hits Reply All.
Not In the Face
From the creators of Jackass, Johnny Knoxville and his gang hit the bars, restaurants, places of worship, and other public gathering spaces donning Google Glass while explicitly ignoring Google’s suggest etiquette for its smart eyeglasses. Their mission: Find out how long it takes for ordinary citizens to stop being polite and start getting punchy. Their findings? Surprisingly quickly!
The Internet of Thing
You loved him in The Fantastic Four and The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Now Ben Grimm is back, and this time he’s surfing the Web. Join The Thing (Michael Chiklis) as he takes us on a whirlwind tour of his favorite websites, YouTube clips, and cat pictures. Is it Clobberin’ Time? If by “clobberin’” you mean taking lots of Buzzfeed quizzes, the answer is yes!
Marissa Explains It All
In this spirited sitcom, a wise-cracking tech CEO (Melissa Joan Hart) talks directly to camera to set you straight on all the things happening at her company, like telecommuting and why it’s bad or spending $1.1 billion on Tumblr and why that’s good. In a very special episode guest starring Katie Couric and David Pogue as the high-priced talent, Marissa learns how peer pressure from other companies can drive you to do things like develop your own original programming.