Tubi Says ‘The Freak Brothers’ Most-Watched Program on Platform

Tubi, the AVOD/free ad-supported streaming television platform owned and operated by Fox Entertainment, said the premiere episode of original animated series “The Freak Brothers” was the most-watched program on the platform since its Nov. 14 debut.

Based on the cult underground comic series, and featuring the voices of Woody Harrelson, John Goodman, Tiffany Haddish and Pete Davidson, among others, “Brothers” delivered 80% more viewers than the next closest series on Tubi.

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“[The show] is a result of the synthesis between great content, stellar cast, superb marketing, new viewer engagement and organic viewership driven by our content personalization engine,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer, said in a statement.

Since acquiring Tubi in 2020 for $440 million, Fox has doubled down on AVOD/FAST distribution as a less-expensive alternative to subscription streaming spearheaded by Netflix. Fox contends Tubi can soon generate upwards of $1 billion in annual advertising revenue as over-the-top video slowly supplants legacy pay-TV.

Indeed, Fox this month reported that first-quarter fiscal-year 2022 (ended Sept. 30) ad revenue increased 17% to $1.13 billion, from $969 million in the previous-year period.

CEO Lachlan Murdoch attributed the increase in part to the company’s focus on free ad-supported streaming TV and the return of a full schedule of live sports and more scripted programming compared with the postponements and cancellations in the prior year quarter as a result of the pandemic.

“We remain focused on bolstering our core brands and leveraging the unique assets that distinguish us to further propel growth and drive value for our shareholders,” Murdoch said on the fiscal call.

Tubi to Stream Original Adult Animation Series ‘The Freak Brothers’; Lionsgate to Distribute Globally

Tubi Oct. 19 announced its first-ever star-studded original animated series, “The Freak Brothers,” based on the cult underground comic series, and will debut the first two episodes on Nov. 14. The series is produced by WTG Enterprises and distributed globally by Lionsgate.

The eight-episode series chronicles the escapades of a trio of stoner anti-establishment characters and their cat who wake up from a 50-year nap after smoking a magical strain of weed in 1969, and must adjust to life with a new family in present-day San Francisco.

The voice cast includes Woody Harrelson (the “Hunger Games” franchise, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner John Goodman (The Big Lebowski, Monsters, Inc.), Emmy Award and Grammy Award winner Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, The Lego Movie 2) and Pete Davidson (“Saturday Night Live,” The King of Staten Island), among others.

The series is based on comic book legend Gilbert Shelton’s “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.” Critiquing the establishment, while satirizing counterculture at the same time, the comic sold more than 45 million copies in 16 languages and was hailed by The Comics Journal as “One of the 100 Greatest Comics of the Century.” Starburns Industries and Pure Imagination Studios, the studios behind “Rick & Morty” and “The Simpsons: Brick Like Me,” handled the animation.

The series spearheads Tubi’s first foray into adult animation, as the Fox Entertainment AVOD platform expands its adult humor collection. The additional episodes from the first season will drop weekly on Sundays through Dec. 26.

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On Nov. 14, TV viewers will get a series sneak peek during a special 90-second trailer airing during Fox’s “Animation Domination” block in “Family Guy” (9:30-10 p.m. ET/PT).

“As we continue our expansion into original animation, a cornerstone of the Fox brand, we’re thrilled Tubi is joining the party with its first original animated series,” said Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Entertainment. He said “Freaky Brothers” represents continued expansion into original animation, a cornerstone of the Fox brand.

“With its counterculture roots, anti-establishment comedic POV and … an all-star team of cast and producers, [the series] is the perfect complement to Animation Domination and provides the ideal opportunity to not only grow Tubi’s audience, but take the animation genre to the next level in AVOD. Stay tuned for more original Tubi animated content soon,” Thorn said in a statement.

Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at Lionsgate, said the deal with Fox represents a new “paradigm ” for distributing original animation.

“The timeless humor of ‘The Freak Brothers’ has resonated with audiences for years, and this edgy comedy gives it a fresh and inventive spin for a whole new generation of fans,” Packer said.