In a sign that CBS is getting serious about original web video content, the network signed the “lonelygirl15” team to a first-look production deal.
EQAL is the the “social entertainment company” founded by Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried, who also created “KateModern.”
The hookup aims to “create and produce multiplatform television, nline and mobile entertainment for existing and future CBS television productions,” burns the press release on the online video deal, straight from the advertising “upfront” sessions in New York.
The webisode team will advise CBS on spinning off online content from its traditional broadcast properties.
Web guy Beckett says EQAL has some ambitious plans, along the lines of what’s often said by TV execs but rarely executed:
“Until now, online content associated
with TV shows has had virtually no real connection to the show’s narrative
experience. What CBS and EQAL are coming together to create is
groundbreaking and will be the first time that television stories will be
extended and amplified online. … The extended
narratives online will give fans and viewers the opportunity for a whole
new level of engagement both in between airings of the TV episodes and as
standalone plot lines.”
The first-look deal is non-exclusive. In English, that means CBS has right of first refusal.
The “lonelygirl15” success story compares poorly and dramatically with the online drama venture “Quarterlife,” from TV dramady specialists Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. “Quarterlife,” with better production values and arguably better acting, tried to make the leap to strike-stricken NBC but the soggy web series was cancelled after one miserable airing. A followup attempt on Bravo failed as well.
The obvious difference here being “lonelygirl” knew better than to leave home for Tinseltown.
Last month, EQAL debuted with $5 million in financing from investors including “Survivor” producer Conrad Riggs and web-browser pioneer Marc Andreessen.