So, news all over about NBC pulling quarterlife after one episode and bumping it to Bravo.
You can read a number of takes on the demise here, here, here and here.
It seems to me that only Mashable is cutting to the chase:
“While online videocasters that aspire to mainstream stardom may take the news as a bit of a hit to their field, it seems there is a solid argument to be made that NBC simply picked a show that wasn’t very good.”
I’ve been saying for a while that quarterlife is a bad test-subject largely because it isn’t great. You can argue whether or not it stinks (many think so) but it certainly isn’t great. Do we really need to say more?
The Hollywood Reporter has a few words from quarterlife co-creator Marshall Herskovitz following his show’s miserable performance the other night on NBC:
“It never should have been a network show. It’s too specific,” Herskovitz told the group at HBS’ Entertainment & Media conference, adding, “It will probably end up on cable.”
Right. Too specific. A show about a group of 20-somethings living in a major metropolitan center is way too specific for network television.
NewTeeVee, among plenty of others, has noted that last night’s network TV premier (yes, it had already aired on MTV and MySpace) of perhaps the most over-hyped, under-loved web series so far, quarterlife.
“In a development that could kill the network dreams of other fledgling web series, quarterlife’s premiere on NBC last night bombed. TV by the Numbers paints the not-so-pretty picture: quarterlife came in last place in its time slot, with a mere 3.86 million viewers. An ABC Primetime news special won the hour with 7.64 million viewers, and even the wait-wasn’t-that-canceled Jericho did way better, attracting 6.9 million people.”
Many will say this shows that webisodes are not quite ready for primetime. My feeling is that bad programming will fail on any platform and there is simply not a single reputable critic out there that has a positive review of quarterlife. The show stinks. It stunk on MySpace, too.
Gawker, which used to make fun of the NYT for being so late on “breaking” culture news, is finally taking a swing at quarterlife. In fact, it is Gawker’s own top dog, Nick Denton, telling us how it is:
“Marshall’s not stupid; it took a lot of skill to market his show and convince NBC to give him full creative control. And that’s great news for creators. But in doing so, he’s changed the Great American Internet Dream. It was just about to evolve from “make a good web show, get famous on TV” to “make a good web show, get famous without TV.” Now many indie creators will water down their work to make it palatable for NBC and other buyers. Hollywood exiles will spend their budgets not on promising fresh creators but on Quarterlife clones”
Not to disagree with one of the kings of the blogosphere, but he’s wrong. Quarterlife will not spawn clones since, as he does notice, the show sucks. Just because it was picked up by NBC and MTV does not make it a hit. People will actually have to watch the show. Considering there have been less than 5M viewers total to the online series, this does not bode well.
Reuters is reporting that the MySpace webisodic quarterlife that was purchased by NBC will also be shown on MTV.
“Silverman and DiSanto said the unusual promotion signals the TV industry is changing, and that competitors can work together when it benefits both.”
While I applaud the bigwigs for trying to work together, I really wonder if a webseries that was not especially well received online, and has already been viewed by the people who were really curious about it, is going to have enough in it to draw audiences to TWO major networks with the same exact content.
Granted, quarterlife was originally developed to be a TV show, but it was (some would say wisely) passed over at the time. Hence the web series. Is this a sign of what’s to come or just a desperate attempt by the networks to catch some internet mojo?
I just checked the quarterlife site and noticed that they aren’t posting view-counts so it is unclear how it is really doing online…
I like the folks at NewTeeVee and it is worth giving their review of ICN series 2/8 Life, a response to and satire of the MySpace series, quarterlife, a glance.
While I am still not a big fan of the web’s love affair with spoofs and satires I do think this project is being well produced and has some chance of creating a short following. The downside, however, is that it will always have the label of spoof and it will be extremely unlikely that it will be able to break out of that box and be enjoyed and consumed for its own merits.
I wonder how many of the current fans are aware of quarterlife at all.