YouTube recruits Dwayne Johnson for new sci-fi series Lifeline

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is going sci-fi in his next big venture.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is going sci-fi in his next big venture.

YouTube's new weapon in their fight for a chunk of Netflix's online streaming audience? It's not cute kitties or viral pranksters, anymore – it's the world's highest paid actor, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

The website, which has recently made major moves towards creating original content for its YouTube Red subscription streaming service, overnight announced a handful of new programs slated to premiere on the service in 2017.

Dwayne The Rock Johnson has been named by world's highest paid actor by Forbes magazine after earning US$84 million (NZ$116.7m) in the last year.

Among those is The Rock's Lifeline, an eight-episode sci-fi action series centred on an insurance company that "sends its agents 33 days into the future to prevent the accidental deaths of its clients".

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Other big-name programs include Impulse, a sci-fi thriller from director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Edge Of Tomorrow) about a young girl uncovering her teleportation abilities, and Game Grumps, a comedy about professional gamers from Dan Harmon (Community, Rick & Morty).

Johnson, who was recently named the world's highest paid actor by Forbes magazine following last year's haul of US$64.5m (NZ$89.6m), is also among YouTube's most popular celebrities, with over 1.36 million subscribers, highlighting the site's strategy to utilise its own biggest names to expand YouTube Red (the service costs NZ$12.99 per month in Australia and New Zealand).

"Our thesis is simple: identify YouTube's most engaging stars and top genres, and invest in the content that fans tell us they want. In other words, let our community drive our content," YouTube's global head of content Susanne Daniels said in a keynote address at industry conference Mipcom yesterday, in which she announced the slate of new programs.

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The news follows on from YouTube's other already announced programs, which include a series based on the Step Up franchise, executive produced by its original stars Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum and also set to premiere in 2017.

 - Sydney Morning Herald


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