“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”Fox Television is taking the old adage to heart apparently, as it has just inked a deal (that is “hip reporter speak” for “signed a contract”) to partner with the YouTube channel WIGS. And Machinima just partnered up with The CW Network. No, seriously.Network television
is coming around to the realization that web television
isn’t just a future, it is the future. As such, survival means getting in bed with the competition (sounds like a sexy premise for a movie, right?).WIGS, which presumably doesn’t stand for “Whalers Itching Genital Sores” (the channel doesn’t appear to actually be an acronym), was launched last year during YouTube’s $100 Million Original Channel Initiative
and has shown strong success — the channel drew 3.51 million views in its first week alone and currently has over 101,000 subscribers. Having already drawn the likes of celebrity contributors including Julia Stiles, Jena Malone and Neil Labute, WIGS is now likely to become a testing ground for new television programming as well as the recipient of Fox’s powerful media connections. Hell, maybe they’ll get Sandra Bullock on there now … that’d be sweet, right?”Our overarching goal is to create an ecosystem where creative people and ideas can find expression independently in the online environment, but benefit from the resources that the larger platform of the network affords,” said Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment for Fox
(Variety had the quote but the likelihood is that he said this at the same bullshit Beverly Hills luncheon where he talked to all the gossip rags).
The deal comes “coincidentally” at a time when YouTube production and gaming studio Machinima has aligned with the CW on the strength of Machinima’s 2.6 billion video views across its many channels.
The initial bulk of the Machinima/CW deal appears to be in “recap” programming — online shows that feature special access, behind-the-scenes content and interviews with the casts of various CW series will be made available online after each episode.
No telling how long it will be until network television sets up secondary channels devoted exclusively to makeup and gaming tutorials.