MTV tries on new short shorts
EmptyMTV is launching a slate of shortform projects across multiple platforms, a strategy that includes debuting the Web-based comedy series "North Palm Wrestling" on the linear network Tuesday night.
Also on the slate are three mobile series -- "Anton & Crapbag," "Damien's Other Show" and "hoodFab" -- that will play on a combination of MTV-branded platforms. In addition, MTV is developing an on-air series with the minds behind CollegeHumor.com.
Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV Networks Music Group, said the slate is part of the network's overall strategy to reach viewers across multiple platforms as the way they consume content continues to evolve.
"The past couple of years have been about experimentation for us on various platforms," he said. "Slowly but surely we'll be making more of these (nontraditional programs) as new distribution platforms emerge. It also liberates us to pursue projects consistent with our historical DNA since MTV started as a shortform channel."
"North Palm Wrestling" -- featuring high school friends Jason Selvig, Gregory Kohn, John Anderson and Ben Buzard -- is described as a silly yet sardonic show that pokes fun at the world through sketches that range from political satire to total absurdity. The five- to six-minute Web series had a soft launch online last month; Episodes 2 and 3 will premiere on MTV at 11:30 Tuesday, March 25, after "Human Giant."
"North Palm" follows several other MTV series that have migrated from the Web, including "Giant." Graden said "North Palm" could expand to a half-hour series at some point too.
Also moving to a linear channel is "Anton & Crapbag," which centers on two claymation characters who try various "Jackass"-esque stunts each week that inevitably end in disaster. The series will premiere new two- to four-minute episodes weekly at 10:58 p.m. on MTV2 beginning this month. In May, a half-hour compilation special will air simultaneously on MTV2 and on the MTV live-streaming linear television channel on Vcast TV. The special also will air on MTV Tres.
"HoodFab," originally a three-minute hip-hop trivia game show for wireless, aired last week on MTV2 and MTV Jams and will continue to be available on the latter.
"Damien's Other Show," hosted by "TRL's" Damien Fahey, is a two- to five-minute biweekly blend of man-on-the-street comedy bits and sketches. The 13-episode "season" is available via MTV Mobile and will be available on mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Alltel and Helio as well as on MTV.com.
In related news Monday, MTV Games, along with developer Harmonix and distributor Electronic Arts, announced that the hit music game "Rock Band" will be coming to Nintendo Wii on June 22. The special-edition Wii version will feature 63 songs and comes bundled with game, drums, microphone and wireless guitar for $169.99. Along with Activision's "Guitar Hero" series, "Rock Band" has helped turn music into one of the strongest game genres in the console market, selling 1.8 million units from its November 2007 launch through February.
David Ward in San Diego contributed to this report.