YouTube Red is going back to the dojo.
The subscription service has handed out a quick season-two renewal for its Karate Kid sequel, Cobra Kai, days after its May 4 debut. Judging by online reviews, including ours, it was a shoe-in for a renewal.
The half-hour comedy featuring original stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka stepping into the roles that made them famous and bringing the Karate Kid franchise to a new, younger generation. Since its debut, YouTube says the first episode has generated more than 20 million views. (YouTube Red, like other subscription services, does not release viewership information.) The 10-episode second season will begin production in the fall and return to YouTube Red in 2019.
“This series had all of the right elements from the very beginning — compelling characters, a storied rivalry and the talented original stars,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content at YouTube. “The way viewers have embraced the new twist on this beloved franchise has been nothing short of amazing, and we’re thrilled to partner with Sony TV, Overbrook and the extraordinary creative team led by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to create a second season.”
The series is set 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament and revolves around a down-and-out Johnny (Zabka) who, seeking redemption, reopens the infamous Cobra Kai dojo. It reignites his rivalry with a now-successful Daniel (Macchio), who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita).
Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) as well as Hurwitz and Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar) penned the script and exec produce. Macchio and Zabka co-exec produce. Will Smith’s Sony Pictures Television Studios-based Overbrook Entertainment exec produces with James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett overseeing for the company.
“We are so elated with the performance of Cobra Kai and our incredible partnerships with Josh, Jon, Hayden and Overbrook and, of course, You Tube Red. This has been a remarkable experience, and the audience reaction only further validates what we already knew — that this team and series is exceptional and incredibly special,” said Jeff Frost, president Sony Pictures Television.
Cobra Kai is considered a big win for YouTube Red, with the series part of a concerted effort for the SVOD services to increase the average age of its Gen Z audience and broaden its programming.