• What do Jerry Seinfeld, Larry King, and Tom Hanks have in common? -

    All three are part of the new wave of TV and film industry pros experimenting with the creation of original TV series made exclusively for the web and, in the case of Hanks, mobile app brand extensions, as well.

    “These days, an increasing number of big-name stars are appearing in Web-only videos. Dick Glover, CEO of the website Funny or Die, says that allows them to “take some chances that maybe they can’t take on a movie or network TV, so you see more and more people very comfortable doing it …

    Glover says Web videos are not only much less expensive to produce than traditional television, there are also fewer deals to negotiate, and no focus groups, network execs or ratings worries to contend with. In other words, much less angst …

    You’re not spending millions and millions of dollars and everything has to be a hit,” Glover says. “It’s an Internet video. If it works, it’s fantastic and millions of people notice and that’s great. If it doesn’t, OK, it was a little Internet video.” (Mandalit Del Barco, NPR, July 18, 2012)

    JERRY SEINFELD

    Jerry Seinfeld’s new web series is called COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE.

    Described perfectly by its title, Seinfeld’s new series of webisodes combines his signature blend of humor with his love of old cars. The series premiered on July 19th on Crackle.com with Jerry driving Larry David around in a classic VW bug in search of a place to grab some coffee.

    Peter Kafka writes in AllThingsD  (July 21, 2012),

    “Seinfeld hasn’t said much about the project beyond a few comments on his Facebook page and Twitter feed, so hard to tell how seriously he’s taking the project, but it’s definitely more than a spur-of-the-moment thing: Yes, it’s two guys in a car and in a diner, but there’s a whole lot of camera work and editing going on here – definitely more to this than a dude and an iPhone.

    It’s also interesting that Seinfeld is using Sony’s Crackle as his primary distribution hub instead of Google’s YouTube (though you can also see the series on YouTube’s Crackle channel).  Sony’s TV arm produced Seinfeld’s iconic 90s show, but Seinfeld could go anywhere he wanted with a project like this, so not sure why he didn’t find a partner with more oomph. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

    The 13  1/2-minute premiere episode is available for viewing on Crackle’s YouTube Channel orcomediansincarsgettingcoffee.com.

    LARRY KING

    Larry King’s new web show is called LARRY KING NOW and is similar in format to his interview show on CNN.

    LARRY KING NOW is backed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu and is part of Slim’s new digital network, Ora.tv. The thirty minute show premiered on Hulu on July 16th and will be available on Hulu and Ora.tv  Mondays through Thursdays.

    King is quoted on a Hulu blog in an article by Alyana Balda on Voxxi.com (July 20, 2012),

    “We met up with the people at Hulu and I was very impressed. It was a whole new world to me. I don’t think there’s anybody here over 30 years old. Maybe one guy is 32. But it’s a wonderful crew and it’s an exciting new venture. And I like new ventures.

    I started the first syndicated radio show—a national talk show. I did for the voice of America, the first international radio talk show. The first call I did was from a farmer in China. This was 1980. I started the first cable international talk show, taking phone calls from around the world, on CNN. And now I bring that concept to Hulu.

    I like being there at the beginning of things. It’s all an adventure to me. And it keeps me young.”

    Episodes of Larry King Now are available on hulu.com.

    TOM HANKS

    The new web series created by and starring Tom Hanks is called ELECTRIC CITY.

    Two years in the works, ELECTRIC CITY is an animated sci-fi/dystopian series that launched July 17th on Yahoo! Screen. The series includes twenty, five minute episodes.

    According to Dave Itzkoff (NY Times, July 21, 2012), when asked about his involvement with Yahoo! to create experimental programming for viewing online, Hanks responded,

    “Well, here’s how I understand it, because I’ve asked this question really well. I have asked this of the people who were running Yahoo back at the time when we started. Now they’re all new people. [laughs]

    The question was, “Explain to me how this is good for Yahoo?” And it just is: “Then you’d click on the Yahoo page.” And that’s all they want. They want the eyeballs. They say, “Let us pay you to create content,” and we say, “Great, because we have this content we’re really excited about.”

    But the caveat is, no one gets rich. [laughs] Everybody got a check for doing this. I don’t think anybody makes money at this thing. But they get the freedom in order to do whatever they want to do. And that’s palpable, man. That gets everybody excited.

    We get to do whatever we want to do here? Yeah, you do. Well, sign us up, we got another 20 story ideas. And it could go on and on and on forever.

    Recognizing the potential for extending the ELECTRIC CITY brand to mobile devices, Hanks’ company with Gary Goetzman, Playtone, has partnered with Reliance Entertainment’s Jump Games to create a mobile app for iOS and Android devices .

    The app includes all twenty of the five minute webisodes of the ELECTRIC CITY animated series plus two graphic novel prequels, character profiles, behind-the-scenes information, and an RPG game called ELECTRIC CITY THE REVOLT.

    To view Electric City on Yahoo! Screen …

    To get the  Electric City The Revolt mobile app …

    KW