First there were TV-like shows on the Internet: “LonelyGirl 15”. Then came big-name backers upping the quality ante: Michael Eisner’s “Prom Queen.” Now we’re seeing the creative professionals of TV Land and Hollywood getting into the mix.
MySpaceTV has teamed up with Seventeen, the teen-ager magazine, to produce a new Web series, “Freshman 15”, which launched this week. “Freshman 15” is a reality show that follows 15 girls as they experience college life for the first time.
And in November, two big-time movie and TV producers will debut an original series, “Quarterlife”, also on MySpaceTV. Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick have made films like “Blood Diamond” and “The Last Samurai” and television series such as “thirtysomething” and “My So Called Life.”
The Internet is truly becoming the fifth major network, at least in the United States.
Freshman 15” is reality TV on the Web tied to the Web. The series will “air” on MySpaceTV, but the girls each have a MySpace profile. There they will regularly update their content, including blogs, videos, and photos. They will also give collegiate wisdom to the readers of Seventeen in upcoming issues.The “Freshman 15” series refers to the 15 girls on the show, not on the 15 pounds that girls are supposed to gain when they enter college. Through their stories, girls in high school — many of whom have MySpace pages — and others will learn firsthand what college life is really like.
“Freshman 15” is like most reality shows on TV, although its production value will not be as fancy as say “America’s Next Top Model.” The participants were chosen for their personality, interests, and diverse backgrounds, which reality TV shows rely on for compelling storytelling and drama.
Hannah, who is attending Notre Dame, describes herself as a “goody-goody” who’s ready to leave that life behind. Suny, who is at Potsdam, is a liberal, bisexual feminist. Bri, who is at Cal State Fullerton, has made the decision to remain sober at college.
You get the idea.
“Quarterlife” will be produced by network-caliber writers, directors, and production crews. It’s about young people struggling to find their way after college. Dylan, the lead character, is a video blogger whose fetish seems to be honesty about herself and the people in her life. (Trailer.)
Each hourlong episode will be broken into six shorter segments. New episodes will be posted every Sunday and Thursday night. A day after their original posting, the episodes will be available on quarterlife.com. A week after that they will be widely available on the Web.
“This is the single best-produced piece of serialized content for the Internet, ever,” Jeff Berman, the general manager of MySpaceTV, said. His division, organized in June, is also responsible for the sci-fi program “Afterworld” and “Prom Queen.”
It may be the best-produced show on the Internet now, but not for long.