Two weeks after becoming the first streaming network to start sharing ratings information, Crackle is taking another page out of the linear playbook: It will begin programming television, just like a network.
In the latest addition of its "Always On" service, unveiled at April's upfront, the Sony-owned, ad-supported streaming service will start scheduling programming, Crackle announced at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
"Movies, TV series and original dramas, comedies and game shows, in all dayparts: daytime, prime-time and late-night," said Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks for Sony Pictures Television. "From the moment you watch Crackle, you will see a movie or series that has been scheduled and is already playing. 'Always On' allows viewers to settle into a show title, restart from the beginning or browse through a guide without ever having to leave the video playing in front of them. It's an experience that is truly the best of both worlds."
"Always On" is currently available on Roku and will expand to other platforms this fall.
Crackle unveiled its first one-hour drama, The Art of More. Starring Dennis Quaid, the show "explores the underbelly and cutthroat world of premium auction houses," said Kaplan. All 10 episodes of the first season will be available on Nov. 19. Unlike other services, Crackle selectively releases some of its original series weekly and others all at once.
Quaid said he had no qualms about appearing on a streaming service. "I think what's going on with Crackle, and with television, is there's a revolution going on in television that's completely new," he said. "You feel like the inmates have taken over the asylum. It's sort of what it was like in movies back in the '70s—and there was a lot of great stuff that came out of that—because there was this freedom to take on issues and stories that had not been done before. It's an exciting time."
The actor, who previously starred in the short-lived CBS drama Vegas from 2012 to 2013, said the days of movie actors being different from TV actors are over. "It used to be you had movies and you had television, and you wouldn't cross over. But that's all changed," he said. "There's so much exciting material being done on television, it's a draw. Everybody wants to do TV now."
But appearing on a series for an ad-supported network does have at least one drawback. "There's a small, four-letter word that we can't say," said The Art of More actor Christian Cooke.
In addition to presenting The Art of More, Crackle revealed premiere dates for the rest of its fall/winter slate. Season 2 of Sports Jeopardy!, hosted by Dan Patrick, will stream weekly episodes beginning Sept. 23. The outlet's first stop-motion animated series, Supermansion—featuring the voice of Bryan Cranston, who also serves as executive producer—premieres Oct. 8 with three episodes and new ones rolling out weekly. Crackle's signature show, the Jerry Seinfeld-hosted Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, returns for Season 7 on Jan. 6, with new episodes premiering weekly.