Hasbro is launching a free, ad-supported streaming television channel full of new and classic Dungeons & Dragons programming through its subsidiary, eOne Entertainment. An announcement, made Thursday, details three all-new unscripted series that will premiere this summer. The as-yet unnamed channel will be supplemented by reruns of the classic D&D animated series from the 1980s. No distributors were mentioned, but it’s expected to be available on smart TVs and other streaming devices.
The big winners here appear to be fans of Encounter Party, a long-running D&D actual play podcast co-founded by Brian David Judkins and Ned Donovan, which will be headlining the new channel. The troupe’s first campaign took place in Ravnica, one of the many planes in Magic: The Gathering’s multiverse, and concluded two years ago. The second campaign will add actor Khary Payton (The Walking Dead, General Hospital) to the cast as well as “a video component,” according to a news release.
A second show, called Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!, is described as “an improv comedy spin on classic Dungeons & Dragons gameplay.” It’s essentially a comedic take on the funnel concept, where under-powered characters are put through a meat grinder and killed off in hilarious ways. Actor Matthew Lillard (Scream, Five Nights at Freddy’s), one of the co-founders of Beadle & Grimm’s (a licensee of D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast), is listed as co-creator.
Finally, a cooking show based on the New York Time best-selling cookbook Heroes’ Feast is also on the docket. Co-hosted by chef Mike Haracz and actor Sujata Day (Insecure), it’s described as “part talk show, part cooking competition.”
D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast has sponsored several actual play series in the past, with mixed results. The critically-acclaimed Rivals of Waterdeep, now in its 15th season, was sponsored by Wizards from 2018 through 2020. Meanwhile, Dungeons & Dragons Presents: Invitation to Party ran for 12 episodes on G4 before it, and the newly resurrected TV network itself, were shut down. With this new streaming channel, the team at Wizards appears to be conspicuously hands-off. In fact, it has made no mention at all of the project on any of its social media channels.
Additionally, Hasbro and eOne aren’t alone in their push to bring tabletop RPG content to major streaming services. Free League has partnered with AMC Networks to create a series based on The Walking Dead Universe Roleplaying Game, which will also debut in 2023.