There has never been a better time to be a couch potato. From HBO and AMC, to paid streaming services like Netflix, there is no shortage of amazing content for TV enthusiasts. Cable network FX has also stepped up its game with award-winning programming and has even brought commercial-free content directly to viewers through FX+, which is now available to Cox customers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the last decade, the internet has also become a premiere destination for a wide range of original content.
Google announced that viewers are spending one billion hours a day watching YouTube. To put that in to context, it would take one person more than 100,000 years to watch one billion hours of content.
Besides providing viewers with virtually unlimited options, the spectacular growth of online video has also enabled creators to build their own success by reaching audiences directly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some of the best web series online to make the leap to the TV. Here are five shows you may not know got their start online before making the leap to either traditional TV or a premium streaming service.
1. Broad City (Comedy Central)
“Broad City” may have just kicked off its fourth season on Comedy Central, but the show actually got its start on YouTube. Show creators Abbi Jacobsen and Ilana Glazer started their web series in 2009 while they were living in New York City and performing together at the famous improv comedy theatre, Upright Citizens Brigade.
Amy Poehler, of “Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation,” learned about the show and helped mentor the two before becoming an Executive Producer on the show when it was bought by Comedy Central.
2. Insecure (HBO)
Before launching her critically acclaimed show “Insecure” on HBO, comedian Issa Rae was known for her YouTube series “Awkward Black Girl.” While “Insecure” is not a direct spin-off from Rae’s web series, many of the same themes are featured and the show has been lauded for its nuanced portrayal of contemporary life as an African-American woman.
Rae’s excellent performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress this year, which is sure to be the first of many awards the show will receive.
3. High Maintenance (HBO)
Originally created by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfield in 2012 for the web video platform Vimeo, “High Maintenance” made the jump to HBO in 2016. The show features Sinclair as “The Guy,” a marijuana deliveryman who brings his product to a variety of clients throughout New York City. Despite being a super low-budget comedy, “High Maintenance” has earned rave reviews for its humorous and often insightful sketches of New Yorkers. After a successful first season, HBO ordered a second season of the show, which will premiere on Friday, January 19 at 11p/10p c.
4. Drunk History (Comedy Central)
In 2007, Hollywood comedy stars Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy saw a huge opportunity for online content and launched the Funny or Die network. Designed specifically to highlight comedic content, Funny or Die helped to launch many of today’s successful young comedians and some of our funniest TV shows, including “Drunk History.”
Originally created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, the show originally featured the pair’s comedian friends getting drunk and struggling to remember history. Since it was picked up by Comedy Central as a full TV show, Drunk History has featured many celebrities ,including a memorable appearance from “Hamilton“ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda who talked about, you guessed it, Alexander Hamilton.
5. Billy on the Street
Another Funny or Die series that makes the list is “Billy on the Street,” the hilarious and often outrageous interview show from comedian Billy Eichner. In the show, Eichner asks people on the streets of New York questions about pop culture and berates them when they’re wrong (or for any number of other reasons).
After finding success online, the show was picked up by the cable channel Fuse, and then later by truTV. Though truTV recently dropped the show, Eichner has said on Twitter that it will be back. It’s not clear yet whether that means a new TV network or back to its original web roots, but whatever the case, Eichner has become a star in the process.
Besides this show, Eichner has spun his growing celebrity into featured roles on several shows including “Parks and Recreation” and the current season of FX’s popular horror anthology series “American Horror Story: Cult.” You can still catch full episodes of the show on the truTV website.
With so many options for great shows out there, it’s important you have the tools you need so you don’t miss any of it. Fortunately, Cox has you covered. With TV Everywhere, it’s easier than ever to find exactly what you want to watch on TV. And with Cox Panoramic WiFi, you’ll get fast WiFi coverage throughout your home, ensuring you won’t miss a beat, because you never know where the next great show will come from.