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Jamie Kennedy is getting back into the web business.
The actor, who previously starred in The HAHAJK Web Show, returns to the computer screen with Kennedy’s Court, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned. Kicking off on Halloween, the 25-episode series finds Kennedy, 42, playing various versions of a TV judge who attempts to fool unsuspecting plaintiffs and defendants.
“It’s a court show and the people are real, the cases are real, but I’m a character and I’m the judge,” Kennedy tells THR.
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Indeed, each plaintiff and defendant believes they are participating in a televised small claims court show – despite Kennedy’s best efforts to elicit responses with his bizarre behavior.
“It’s amazing to watch people who are fighting their cases and to have a judge who is doing anything he can to make them question why he’s acting this way,” says Alphabird SVP of Development and Programming, Russell Naftal. “But these people have so much respect, because it’s a courthouse, that they actually don’t even question his antics.”
In the series’ nine-minute debut, Kennedy plays an African American judge as two roommates squabble over a stolen bike. Watch a preview in the player above.
“Court shows are always so serious and the cases are ridiculous,” says Kennedy of Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown and the like. “They’re ripe to be parodied. They’re all putting on a show anyway, so why not take it one step further.”
Kennedy’s Court is one of the first original offerings from Alphabird, the self proclaimed “anti-network” that works to secure audiences for various video content online. In addition to creating video licensing deals for outside content, Alphabird now also creates video content of its own.
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“We believe that original web video — web series, webisodes, whatever you want to call it — has really come of age,” says Chase Norlin, CEO of Alphabird. “We’ve been following this industry for a few years now, and if you were out in Hollywood a couple years ago asking about original web video, you didn’t hear much. Now, literally almost every studio, producer, talent agent, A, B or C list TV or movie actor not only has a web project in development, some have multiple or they have an entire season in development.”
And while the show could eventually transition from web to TV, similar to Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy, the bottom line will continue to remain financial success.
“The idea is to get it on the web, make it work on the web, build an audience on the Internet, make money off it, recoup costs, and if we can build enough of a following, that justifies either doing a second season on the web and building more of an audience — and if we continue to build momentum and build an audience online, then we can easily bring that to a television producer,” says Norlin.
“If I can make just as much money and put [the show] on your computer, I wouldn’t care,” says Kennedy of a possible TV transition. “I think it’s great on TV, because that quote unquote ‘legitimizes’ something, but I think that’s going to change more and more.”
For Kennedy, one appeal of the web is a lack of restrictions.
“I get absolute freedom,” he says. “I get to do what I want, so I live and die by the final decisions, and it can potentially be seen by anybody at any time who has a computer and who wants to see it, versus watching it on TV at a certain day at time. If it’s not the future, I think it’s the present… I love it.”
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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