Tom Hanks’ animated series Electric City has found an exclusive home at Yahoo, in a deal among Reliance Entertainment, Hanks’ company Playtone and Yahoo. The program will be officially unveiled Jan. 10 at 2012 International CES by Hanks and Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s executive vice president Americas.
This is Yahoo’s first scripted series, following its success with news roundup programs and reality shows. It will be shown in 20 episodes that average 4.5 minutes each for a total of 90 minutes, and it will be in numerous languages including English, Spanish and French.
Electric City is a dramatic sci-fi adventure set in a functioning yet dystopian future metropolis, where corruption of all kinds lies beneath the surface of a seemingly well-ordered society.
Yahoo will extend the content into a deep, interactive online experience with character backstories, cast biographies, behind-the-scenes footage, broad-based social media engagement, casual games and other related content. A 3D map serves as a navigation hub and gives viewers considerable flexibility to be as non-linear as they like. Yahoo will add further further depth by offering exclusive content, opportunities to interact with the cast and creators, and other events.
“It was always our intent to have this project live and breathe online, and we felt Yahoo would be the perfect home,” said Playtone’s Gary Goetzman.
Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, vice chairman Reliance Group, said the project was driven by Hanks’ creativity and vision as it demonstrated Reliance’s commitment to invest and innovate in the global, multi-platform entertainment industry.
“Electric City is so much more than just an online video series – it is an interactive and immersive experience from one of the world’s biggest stars and premier storytellers,” Levinsohn said in a statement. “Yahoo has clearly established itself as the go-to destination for big events and breaking news and we are focused on providing the best digital canvas for the world’s greatest storytellers to create, develop and showcase their visions. Electric City is further proof that we want to set the bar in premium online content and be the global home for groundbreaking ventures from the world’s best-known and next-generation artists.”
The series is riddled with metaphors and symbols that are likely to inspire online discussions about the plot as it raises provocative questions about modern life and values.
New image added Jan. 11:
Rohit Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Business Group at Reliance, Tom Hanks and Ross Levinsohn of Yahoo! Announce “Electric City” at CES 2012 (Photo: Yahoo!)