NEW YORK A Friends reunion of sorts is coming to the Internet courtesy of Lexus.
The carmaker is launching a second season of Web Therapy, an online comedy series starring Lisa Kudrow for its branded-entertainment network, L Studio. Returning June 23, Therapy will feature Kudrow’s fellow Friends alum Courteney Cox as a guest star.
With the release of 15 new short-form episodes of Therapy, Lexus has also retooled its strategy to syndicate the series to iTunes, YouTube and Hulu. When L Studio first launched last September, all of its content was confined to the Web site, which has also since been redesigned to incorporate high-definition video that loads faster and can be shared on social networks.
Kudrow, who won a Webby Award in June for outstanding comedic performance on Therapy, stars as Fiona Wallice, a shrink who employs pretty shaky methods on a clientele she counsels over Webcam. In addition to Cox, Kudrow will play opposite Alan Cumming, Steven Weber and Victor Garber in the second season.
Beginning with the July episode, Cox plays a psychic who seeks Wallice’s help because the dreams she relied on to deliver her psychic vision no longer occur. It’s a comic wink to the role played on CBS’ Medium by her sister-in-law Patricia Arquette-Cox and even alludes in character to the famous family into which she married. “Good god, how many of them are there really?” she jokes about the Arquette clan.
While episodes will continue to be available at LStudio.com, bundles of three episodes will be available on iTunes for $1.99; a season pass for Therapy will cost $7.99. On YouTube and Hulu, Lexus will be in the unusual position of being an advertiser that will sell spots within Therapy to other advertisers.
Robin Pisz, national interactive marketing manager at Lexus, said the company opted to syndicate Therapy upon recognizing that traffic to LStudio dropped after the initial publicity surrounding its launch and a subsequent Internet marketing push.
“I think the goal is to make the content available where the viewers view video as opposed to always expecting them to come to L Studio to find that content,” said Pisz, who would not divulge traffic figures for LStudio or the level of investment Lexus was making in its programming.
Lexus is returning other series on L Studio, including Puppy Love from Sex and the City writer Amy B. Harris. The only new program is Films on L, a showcase of short films from around the world.
Therapy, which is directed by Don Roos (Marley and Me), is produced and distributed by Intelligent Life Prods., in collaboration with Team One Advertising for Lexus.