AOL announces 16 original programs featuring James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Zoe Saldana and Ellen DeGeneres

By Daniel S Levine,

AOL announced a slate of 16 original programs at its NewsFront presentation in Brooklyn Tuesday. The shows will be created with Hollywood talent like James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Ellen DeGeneres and Zoe Saldana.

The company also announced a joint venture with Nielsen to track the audiences for its new shows. This will allow advertisers and producers to compare online audiences to TV viewers.

“We are fully committed to producing premium content at scale,” Ran Harnevo, President of AOL Video, said in a statement. “Premium content is premium content, regardless of screen, delivery, length, or format, and our relationship with Nielsen signifies that understanding. As TV and digital continue to merge into one ecosystem, we believe in one standard form of measurement, and we're proud to be the first digital client to work with Nielsen to make this vision a reality.”

Oscar nominee Franco will be hosting Making A Scene, which will feature Franco and his famous friends dissecting an iconic scene from a classic Hollywood film.

While Franco dissects movies, comedian Kevin Nealon is giving Laugh Lessons. Nealon will have young people meet with comedy legends and see what happens. DeGeneres is an executive producer on the project.

My Hero is executive produced by Saldana and will feature celebrities paying tribute to someone who has made a big difference in their life. Inspired also features A-listers and other newsmakers discussing their lives.

Win/Win features major names in business and a famous athlete working together on new projects. Mike Epps is looking into the backstories of jokes in That’s Racist. So Much More is about Against Me!’s Tom Gabel’s transition to Laura Jane Grace.

Follow Me looks at the lives of digital innovators and The Road To Disrupt focuses on the 2013 San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield competition. In Short, which just launched, follows Katie Holmes, Judy Greer and other stars as they make their own short films.

AOL’s first long-form series is Connected, which is about five New Yorkers who start out completely disconnected, but their stories eventually become intertwined. Park Bench is also a New york-based series and stars Buscemi. It is a local’s take on special aspects of the Big Apple.

#CandidlyNicole is based on Nicole Richie’s popular fashion series, and City.Ballet. is about the New York City Ballet. The Future Starts Here is by Webby Awards co-founder Tiffany Shlain and Hardwired 2.0 is the new season of Justine Ezarik’s show on tech trends.

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