"Connected" is a digital reality series premiering March 31 on AOL Originals. "Connected" is a digital reality series premiering March 31 on AOL Originals. "Connected" is a digital reality series premiering March 31 on AOL Originals. (Photo: Business Wire)

‘Connected’ show going live this month on AOL

Release date announced for web-based reality series that's a first for the online service.

"Connected," AOL's first foray into long-form programming, is coming to a device near you on March 31.

The release date was just announced by AOL, which adapted the series from an Israeli docudrama and teamed up with Israelis Ram Landes and Ami Teer of Koda Communications, along with noted filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, as executive producers. It will air on the AOL On Network, where three episodes will be released every two weeks from March 31 to May 25.

The show will follow six New Yorkers as they document their own lives for six months via a personal camcorder.

“This series pulls back the curtain on the world of overproduced, fabricated reality TV, and what emerges is raw emotion and real storytelling," Spurlock said in a statement. 

What sets "Connected" apart from other reality series such as "The Real World," producers said, is that the six cast members are filming their own lives, rather than being followed by a crew. Their real-life conflicts, triumphs and heartaches are told on their terms, and these stories are gradually woven together over the course of six months. The result, they said, is a "larger narrative of who we are as a society."

In Israel, where the show was conceived, "Connected" has been steadily and successfully running since 2009. It also airs in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Holland, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Ukraine.

Among the U.S. cast members are interior designer and photographer Nina Ferrer-Mannino and her husband, Stefano Mannino; SPIN club owner Jonathan Bricklin; stand-up comedian Derek Gaines; and radio and TV host Rosie Noesi and boyfriend Joshua Baggett.

It's not clear if Bricklin's girlfriend, Academy Award-nominated actress Susan Sarandon, will appear on the show.

AOL Originals president Nate Hayden said he first discovered "Connected" through Landes at Koda Communications. What impressed Hayden, he said, was "the level of intimacy and how deep into the lives of these characters we got.”

The decision to air the show in two-week, three-episode "chunks," he said, was to avoid the pitfalls of so-called binge-watching that can lead to disconnection among viewers.

"A lot of people tend to binge on an entire season and then kind of walk away from it," he said. "The idea of giving people something to chew on in small doses and over a decent amount of time, I think I, as a viewer, enjoy.”


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