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Buying Full Shows They Should Have Just Made, For People Who Can't Use the Internet
The most obvious strategy is finding some pre-existing, broadcastable thing that should already be on television, and just putting it up there. I spent a recent weekend gorging on the second season of Yahoo! Screen's original series Burning Love. For those not familiar, it's a pitch-perfect parody of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, which you'd think has lived long enough to be it's own parody, but somehow, no. The first season was centered around Veronica Mars/Party Down/The State character actor Ken Marino, as a single fireman who gave the show it's dumb-on-purpose name. E! bought the broadcast rights, and now plays "new" year-old episodes on Monday nights. They'll probably get around to airing its superior second season as well. Built around a knockout comedic performance by June Diane Raphael, and featuring well-known comic actors (like Michael Cera, Adam Brody, Martin Starr, and Adam Scott) almost exclusively, it might be the funniest sitcom I've seen this year.
The concept is so instantly gettable and the cast so filled with bankable talent, that it's baffling for it to have started life as an online property to begin with. Airing it would have been a ballsy move of self-deprication by ABC, and it makes no sense that other broadcast networks wouldn't want to take aim at an inert, but profitable franchise. They'd rather emulate the success than skewer it, I guess? But Burning Love apes the crummy look and feel of those shows to such a precise degree that they probably could have sucked in some unaware Bachelor fans who would have ended up finding it really funny. As ad rates for online video content grows, there'll be more broadcast-quality content. Not a bubbling up of new voices so much as a fun time outlet for established creators, though, plus a secondary paycheck once some network finally catches on. What might be really exciting is the moment when either TV audiences shrink or web audiences grow to the point that a move between forms is wholly unnecessary. Again, we're not there yet.