YouTube recruits Dwayne Johnson for new sci-fi series Lifeline

Bankable: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who starred in the high grossing San Andreas, earned $US64.5 million in the past year. Photo: Mario AnzuoniYouTube’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.

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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.

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”.

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 a yet untitled 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 $US64.5 million ($84.4 million), 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 $11.99 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. Cool news as @SevenBucksProd & @Studio71 are partnering up with @YouTube Red for our sci-fi action thriller series #Lifeline in 2017. pic.twitter杭州m/LYdMViXZXn— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) October 17, 2016

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.