Tag Archives: variety

ABCFamily.com Comes Up with an “Alibi”

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Sometime I wonder if I post things just to come up with a Variety-speak headline.

Anyhow, just watched episode one of “My Alibi” on ABCFamily.com (see below).  This was a pick-up for ABC of an existing show from Take180 which tries to elicit audience participation in the form of cliffhangers with resolutions that can be voted on.

The production value is decent and the casting of a 90210-alum can’t hurt but I am not convinced that this sort of simplistic interaction is going to be the hook for a webseries aimed at teens and tweens (or anyone else, really).  Primarily, these interactions tend to hurt the actual story since so many alternatives must be conceived and, at times, produced, even if they aren’t the most satisfying or dramatic direction, due to fan interferance.

Instead, webseries need to find more innovative and immersive ways to get audiences involved OR create a passive story that is good enough to stand on its own.  “MyAlibi” falls into a bit of an unfortunate gap between these two solutions.

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Groundlings and Sony Team Up to (not?) Make Money…

The word from Variety is that famed sketch comedy group The Groundlings, have been hired by Sony Pictures to create 50 original web videos.

This is not particularly surprising since The Groundlings are a well-established group of funny people and are capable of producing high quality work.  What is surprising is the claimed motivations:

“Sony is covering the production costs for the webisodes, the first five of which the troupe delivered this week. “We’re only limited by our creativity right now, which is to say not very much,” Fishbach said.

He said the goal is not so much to make money — the Groundlings is non-profit — but to give performers a wider platform for their comedy.”

Ok, I can see how this is a benefit for The Groundlings but how does it make any sense for Sony?  Could they really not be thinking of how to make this profitable or have they figured out how to make it profitable for themselves but not so much for the creators?

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NBC Expands Sitcoms Online

News from Variety that NBC plans to create original web content based around some of their existing shows:

“Net announced plans to run original “Heroes,” “Chuck” and “The Office” webisodes beginning in July. Net also announced a “30 Rock” online initiative — dubbed “30 Rock 360” — that mirrors web platforms for “The Office,” “Heroes” and “Lipstick Jungle.”…NBC will also launch a new online production, “Fears, Secrets & Desires,” a user-generated program in which audience members submit stories that will then be produced into actual content. NBC promises that the shorts will be performed “by Hollywood talent normally associated with the big or small screens, not necessarily the computer screen.”

Gotta love that last little jab.  I really wonder how much longer we will make those sorts of distinctions.  When I was a kid we all thought an actor’s career was on the downturn if they moved from film to TV but now it doesn’t have any impact on image.

In truth, we’re already seeing plenty of big names in original web video, whether they’re doing it on their own or for producers.  I’m happy to see NBC expanding their efforts but I don’t think they needed to take a shot at the personalities that have created the marketplace.

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GreeneStreet JustIn to Web

Variety (reg. req.)is reporting that indie films production company GreeneStreet films is throwing it’s hat into the web video ring:

“Fisher Stevens and John Penotti’s GreeneStreet Films is amping up its new-media presence with the help of new hire Eric Spiegelman, formerly the head of business and legal affairs for the HBO/AOL comedy site ThisJustIn.com…Spiegelman plans to produce pilots and shop them around to potential ad sponsors.

“The idea is to test the value of the shows really early on,” Spiegelman said.From there, Spiegelman wants to pitch the shows, sponsors intact, to various websites the way one might pitch a cable network.”

Well, aside from the fact that ThisJustIn was a total flop and nearly every other production company (and backyard video collective) has a similar business “plan”, I don’t see why GreeneStreet shouldn’t join the party.  Stay tuned, as they say, to see what they actually make.

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