Roku celebrated the launch of its free original premium content Tuesday afternoon by announcing its hit exclusive new Kevin Hart comedy action series “Die Hart” has been renewed for a second season on The Roku Channel, under the title “Die Harter.”

The premiere of the first season of the series was only recently announced by Roku among a host of first-run programs added to The Roku Channel. Many of those programs were part of the assets Roku acquired from the defunct Quibi streaming service.

The second season, produced by Hart’s Laugh Out Loud, will mark Roku’s first authorization of an original series season.

“In addition to returning to his starring role, Hart will also executive produce the second season; Laugh Out Loud CEO and Hart’s longtime business partner, Jeff Clanagan, will serve as producer on the project. Tripper Clancy, Candice Wilson, Bryan Smiley, and Thai Randolph also serve as executive producers. Eric Appel will return to direct the second season. Additional casting will be announced at a later date,” Roku said.

Following its May 20th premiere weekend, Roku revealed that “Die Hart” had a “spectacular” weekend debut, achieving a record number of households streaming the series.

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Die Hart’ “exploded out of the gate and has quickly become one of the most watched Roku Originals,” Colin Davis, head of original scripted programming, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring an equally hilarious, action-packed second season to the record number of viewers who have watched in recent days.”

“Roku is always looking for ways to bring more great content to their users in a way that makes sense for an AVOD business model,” and will be looking to bring “more season twos to life in the future,” according to the Roku announcement.

“The return of ‘Die Hart’ marks a pivotal moment in the continued growth and expansion of LOL Studios,” Clanagan said. “We’re excited for the opportunity to team up with Roku and be the first Roku Original to get a second season.”

The company reported that The Roku Channel has seen record growth in 2021, reaching U.S. households with an estimated 70 million people in the first quarter (ended March 31). The channel, which made its debut in 2017, offers most free-to-view ad-supported movies and television programs. Roku has been making efforts to ramp up the number of exclusive titles and now even originally developed content, to elevate its premium streaming status.

The Roku Channel offers more than 40,000 free movies and programs and 190+ free live linear television channels. Most content is licensed and distributed “from more than 175 partners,” Roku said.

In addition to Roku devices, The Roku Channel is available on Web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs and can be accessed internationally in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Stated Rob Holmes, Roku Programming VP: “Offering our compelling Roku Originals to consumers for free has accelerated discovery of The Roku Channel and deepened streamer engagement. ‘Die Hart’ performed especially well, breaking records in its opening weekend with more households streaming the series than any previous opening weekend debut in the history of The Roku Channel. While it is still early days for Roku Originals, we’re clearly seeing the fantastic results of marrying great content with a large audience. This is yet another proof point of our AVOD “fly wheel,” where compelling content brings in desired audiences, leading to strong advertiser demand and the ability to invest in more content. Today, The Roku Channel reaches households with more than 70 million people and we’re able to combine this scale with unmatched insights for brands, putting The Roku Channel in a unique position in the streaming marketplace. Roku is the No.1 TV streaming platform in America and we were able to offer our tens of millions of streamers the opportunity to enjoy amazing Roku Original entertainment on The Roku Channel for free – it’s a win-win scenario.”

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By Greg Tarr

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