AOL picks up Web series from James Franco, Steve Buscemi

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Image Credit: Paul A. Hebert/AP

AOL has tapped a diverse lineup of celebrities to contribute to its original programming slate, ordering 12 new Web series from the likes of James Franco, Steve Buscemi, and Zoe Saldana.

At its NewFront presentation Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the company showed a commitment to short-form programming with a roster of 16 mostly unscripted programs with episode lengths of 10 minutes or less. The one exception is Connected, AOL’s first long-form series, which is slated for a 20-episode initial run of half-hour episodes. It follows five seemingly unconnected New Yorkers as their individual stories are woven together.

But star power is the strength of this AOL Originals lineup. New celebrity-focused series include Making a Scene with James Franco, during which the actor and his pals talk about some of their favorite films and re-create iconic scenes; previously announced Park Bench, featuring Buscemi striking up conversations with famous friends — as well as strangers — on the streets of New York City; and My Hero from executive producer Saldana, which allows celebrities to pay a surprise tribute to someone who inspired and changed their lives.

Other marquee players added to the lineup include executive producers Ellen DeGeneres and Kevin Nealon, whose Kevin Nealon’s Laugh Lessons features famous comedians trying to teach comedy to kids; That’s Racist, in which actor/comedian Mike Epps explores the backstories of racist stereotypes; and So Much More, telling the story of Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel’s coming out as a transgender woman and his transition to Laura Jane Grace.

Rounding out the new roster are interview series Inspired and Win/Win, and documentary series Follow Me, The Road to Disrupt, and In Short. They are joined by returning series #CandidlyNicole, City.Ballet., The Future Starts Here, and Hardwired 2.0.

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