Warner Bros. Television Group’s Digital Production Division Studio 2.0 Announces Production of an Expansive Slate of 23 Original Series Projects and an Active Development Lineup.
Studio 2.0, the original programming, digital production arm of the Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG), has begun production on 23 new shortform series projects for broadband and wireless, with additional programming in active development. The new projects – from Jim Henson Productions, Telepictures Productions, Warner Bros. Animation and film & television director/producer McG, as well as fast-rising comedians Joey & David, videogame/film/television producer Jason Hall and cutting-edge artist Alex Pardee, among others – reflect WBTVG’s creative strategy for Studio 2.0, to showcase new artistic voices, provide creative opportunities for established talent in the broadband/wireless space and serve as an incubator for new television series.
Studio 2.0 programming will be distributed across a variety of broadband and wireless platforms and sites, often in partnership with advertisers, as WBTVG pursues an aggressive, wide-ranging networked distribution strategy.
The announcement was made today by Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group, and Craig Hunegs, Executive Vice President, Business Management, Warner Bros. Television Group.
“As I’ve often said, at our heart, Warner Bros. is a content company,” said Rosenblum. "For the Television Group’s digital strategy to truly be realized, we are focusing equally on the creation of original programming specifically designed for the digital market and developing advertiser-supported targeted distribution strategies.
“We do not have a one-size-fits-all distribution strategy,” said Hunegs. “We will tailor distribution to each project in a way that most effectively reaches its potential audience by working across multiple new media VOD ventures – from new Warner Bros. destinations and branded channels to well-known sites and aggregators like Joost and RealNetworks and oftentimes in partnership with an advertiser. We also anticipate that our most successful new shows will migrate to television via our Warner Bros. Television Group’s network, cable and first-run production divisions.”
“I’ve been blown away by the caliber of talent eager to be a part of Studio 2.0’s programming slate,” added Rich Rosenthal, Senior Vice President, Creative Affairs and Production, Studio 2.0. “From the established and accomplished to first-timers and up-and-comers, we have an incredible team of writers, directors and producers working in a diverse mix of genres and styles and all under a new cost-effective business model. This is really very exciting.”
Studio 2.0 serves as WBTVG’s production division for all original digital programming, both live-action and animation, created for broadband and wireless. The current Studio 2.0 productions represent a wide range of genres, including comedy, alternative, science fiction and soap/serial, with two animated projects in active development.
The programming will be distributed under the supervision of Brett Bouttier, Senior Vice President, Digital, WBTVG, and sold to advertisers through WBTVG’s developing ad network headed by Michael Teicher, Executive Vice President, Media Sales, WBTVG.
Jim Henson Company Adult Puppet Projects: Studio 2.0 is teaming up with The Jim Henson Company and RealNetworks®, Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), the leading creator of digital media services and software, for the launch of three new, live-action series which fuse comedy catering to a more adult audience with puppets. S.U.D.S. (Simian Undercover Detective Squad) is a 1970s-style comedy following a group of ape detectives on their daily beat. Adult Puppet Improv combines the best elements of Avenue Q and Whose Line Is It Anyway? and features characters interacting with the show’s host and a live audience, performing improvisational scenes through the help of multiple puppeteers – including Oscar® and Emmy® Award winner Brian Henson – allowing online fans to view the show from a variety of angles. Finally, Studio 2.0 and Henson are developing a Big Brother/Real World-style puppet reality competion series. All three projects will be created exclusively for the RealNetworks’ SuperPass, which gives viewers access to premium programming, advanced RealPlayer features, full-length movies and monthly music downloads, all in one subscription. (Alternative/Comedy)
Chadam: Cutting-edge artist Alex Pardee and producer Jason Hall of HDFILMS Inc. are teaming up on a 3D animation project based upon Pardee’s character of the same name. Initially introduced as a character icon for the popular rock band The Used, Chadam has become an Internet phenomenon. Chadam lives as the “chosen one” in the hyper-stylized and exaggerated metropolitan island city of Vulture. His power of imagination is strong enough to physically change his environment and, therefore, his world … to save it from evil. The series will find Chadam in a place of refuge, where he and others have retreated to plan their attack against the serial killer known as Viceroy. An action-horror-adventure story filled with self-discovery, Chadam will come to full 3D animated life via the magic of the Unreal Engine 3, the leading technology and development framework that powers cutting-edge games such as Gears of War and BioShock on today’s popular platforms, including PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The Internet series will serve as an incubator for future expansion of the Chadam universe, from additional online episodes to television, film, videogames and more. (Science Fiction)
Joey & David 10-Project Deal: Studio 2.0 has signed an exclusive, 10-project production commitment deal with fast-rising comedians Joey Manderino and David Young, creators of the eponymous web series at www.joeyanddavid.com. As part of the deal, WBTVG will take over management of joeyanddavid.com, expand its distribution and consumer awareness level, and increase advertiser sales opportunities. The duo performed at the 2007 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and were among Variety’s 2007 “10 Comics to Watch.” The first project from the duo to go into production is Viral, a mockumentary which takes viewers behind the scenes of a fictional “User Generated Content” studio to meet a couple of frustrated writers, a petulant film crew and a few classically trained actors, who have all come together to create the next big “amateur” online hit. The second, Tastiburger, reveals that there may be something more at stake when customers decline to supersize their meals or skip dessert at the local fast food joint. (Comedy)
Top Half: In this Internet game show created by London’s The Format Company, players compete against each other in a real-time quiz contest with prizes going to those with the fastest correct answers. The series will use The Format Company’s proprietary en masse platform that allows for live interactivity between players. (Alternative)
The Jeannie Tate Show: Liz Cacowski (Saturday Night Live) and Maggie Carey deliver The Jeannie Tate Show, a 10-episode series in which an offbeat, neurotic soccer mom hosts a television talk show from her minivan. The project is also in network television development with Warner Bros. Television. (Alternative/Comedy)
Public Excess: Comedy collective The Big Honkin’ debuts the tale of a new employee at a public access television station who harbors aspirations of becoming a small-screen superstar. First, he must get past a boss who has been phoning it in for years, a staff who won’t communicate with the programmers, and the never-ending carousel of torment that is public access programming. The Big Honkin’ – comprised of writer-video producer Austin Bragg, journalist-independent filmmaker Meredith Bragg and actor-musician-motion graphics artist Hunter Christy – has also signed a development deal with Warner Bros. Television. (Comedy)
Suck I.T.: A second project from The Big Honkin’, Suck I.T. focuses on the adventures of Steve and Parker, two disgruntled computer call center professionals who make little attempt to hide their disdain for those on the other end of the line. When they aren’t toying with the unwitting public, Parker hones his hacking skills, while Steve busies himself playing online games. (Comedy)
Date Court: An original comedy-court hybrid created by Dave Statman and produced by Telepictures Productions – Studio 2.0’s sister company within WBTVG – Date Court brings the perpetrators of dating disasters to justice. Focusing its wrath on the world’s cheapest dates, personal ad deceivers and mamas’ boys, Date Court summons dating’s least wanted and makes them pay for their crimes against the heart. Set in a bar, Date Court is presided over by a judge/bartender (Bryan Callen – MADtv). After hearing from both sides in the case, the audience votes and the bartender delivers a verdict, with the “guilty” party forced to endure punishments varying from giving a fat hairy man a massage or showing all of America their junior high school yearbook photo. The six-episode series has been sold to Zango.com, an online media company providing consumers with free, on-demand access to a large, advertiser-supported catalog of sought-after online videos, games, music, tools and utilities. (Alternative)
Hardly News: The debut series from Studio 2.0, Hardly News is an original interactive comedy-news-game hybrid hosted by Chris Reed that shines a satirical light on news and pop culture, throwing a series of ever-changing games at online players who must tap into their knowledge of current events to prove their news acumen. The series capitalizes on the increasingly blurred line between hard and soft news, proving that fact is often funnier than fiction. With 13 episodes produced by Telepictures Productions, Hardly News premiered on Bud.TV in April 2007 and is in development for television. (Alternative)
Hung: Chicago comedy collective The Blerds have created a series following the never-ending deliberations of the world’s worst sequestered jury, a group that can’t come to a consensus on a lunch order, let alone a verdict. Selected to preside over a complex accounting scandal of Enron-ian proportions, a group of nitwits, slackers and deadbeats treats their civic duty the way a college student would procrastinate writing a paper that has no actual deadline. Hung is produced by Take the Stairs Productions. (Comedy)
Tandem Bike: Created by Allison Kingsley (The Groundlings), Tandem Bike is a comedic, voyeuristic look at the life of married couple Kate and Charlie, beginning the day after they get hitched. Boasting a cast of some of Los Angeles’ most established improvisational actors, the series is an honest look at a new marriage, with no topics off limits. (Comedy)
The Absurd History of Inventions: Created by Taras Wayner (executive creative director of advertising agency R/GA), this sketch comedy series imagines the moments in history (with accuracy in the eye of the beholder) in which ordinary objects were created. (Comedy)
Untitled McG Project: Film and television producer McG (Charlie’s Angels movies, Chuck, Supernatural) puts his twist on the modern soap opera with this untitled serial. (Soap/Serial)
Warner Bros. Animation: Studio 2.0 is in development with Warner Bros. Animation on two projects: an untitled Batman shortform series and an untitled project based upon The Wizard of Oz. More details on these projects will be announced in the future. (Animation)
Boxers or Briefs: Created by Good Game partners Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) and Kathy Ebel, this online dating game features female players selecting a date, guided only by visual clues of his personal style. Clues might include his shoes, his wallet, the last gift he gave for Mother’s Day, and, yes, his choice of underwear. (Alternative)
High Drama: Created by James Percelay, this unscripted series documents the production of a big-budget high school musical, brining viewers all the real and imagined behind-the-scenes drama on and off the stage. (Alternative)
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