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Summary:

Best known as the first editor of Valleywag, though maybe better known for getting demoted, Nick Douglas has, until recently, been posting ‘DiggBait‘ on Valleywag and at the Huffington Post’s Eat the Press from his usual seat at at San Francisco’s Cafe du Soleil. Lately he’s […]

Best known as the first editor of Valleywag, though maybe better known for getting demoted, Nick Douglas has, until recently, been posting ‘DiggBait‘ on Valleywag and at the Huffington Post’s Eat the Press from his usual seat at at San Francisco’s Cafe du Soleil. Lately he’s been focusing on starting a new daily web show, Look! Shiny! Here’s his ‘Secret Preview:’

I remember when Nick Douglas had just arrived in town from the flyover states, a rube who’d made a snarky name at Blogebrity. With Ze Frank scheduled to self-cancel his popular daily web show this spring, Nick will join all the other hopeful void-fillers. “I’m tired of working for other people,” he tells me. Earlier this week, Nick was nice enough to sit down and chat about the show and the site before it went live.

NTV: So I was reading your interview with RU Sirius, and specifically the bit about what you’d do with a web video news show. Are those some of the ideas you’re bringing to Look Shiny?

Nick: Yep. In fact, I’d do a news show now, but I realized that I’m not exactly Mr. Authoritative Voice. So I decided to just stick with the fun news. So as part of Look Shiny, I’ll be doing something closer to Tina Fey than Anderson Cooper. Of course at first I’ll be lucky if I’m funnier than the news on Studio 60.

NTV: Well, in my opinion, that wouldn’t be too hard, but I know you’re a fan of the show.

Nick: Because I want so hard for the show-within-the-show to be funny. It’s like rooting for the humans on Battlestar Galactica. But enough about real shows, back to mine.

NTV: You’ve got a knack for knowing what will appeal to Diggnation, and a real love for the Internet. Are you focusing on the web audience, or are you trying to do something broader and more mainstream?

Nick: I’m shooting for the regular web audience — YouTube watchers — but I’ll probably skew geek for a while. I’m also using the people and locations of San Francisco. My pilot, for example, features my favorite SF celebrity, Frank Chu. The cure to a thousand shows about tech is one show about San Francisco, tall Chinese men saving dolphins, and whether I can do the Mexican wave with my eyebrows. Spoiler: I can’t, but if I raise enough money I’ll hire a personal forehead trainer.

NTV: Speaking of money, let’s get into what it takes to produce your show. Namely, what kind of equipment, budget, and pre-production goes into an episode?

Nick: I’m shooting with a Canon camcorder in my bedroom or wherever I take my camera around the city. Equipment is sunlight and two lamps, and pre-production means me putting on a proper shirt. My starting budget is pretty much nil, but that will soon change thanks to show sponsors. I’ll also be asking for viewer video. I could call it “discovering hidden talents” or such, but I’ll be presenting it to viewers with something like, “Help me make money off of you!” Some people have offered the use of their equipment and studios, and I’ll take them up on that when I have some more staid, scripted pieces to film.

NTV: So here’s where “old media” rears it’s ugly head: you are getting all your subjects to sign releases, right?

Nick: Releases? If anyone who says a digit of pi into my camera later sues, I’ll deal with it then. Let’s just say that the profits from Look Shiny aren’t an attractive litigation target. For most of the show, I’m the subject. Most others are friends who know exactly what I’m doing.

NTV: So how often do you plan on posting new episodes?

Nick: Once a day. If I’m sick one day, we’re doing the How Many Times Can I Sneeze Before I Find A Tissue Show.

NTV: What kind of ‘interactive’ features will you integrate into the show. Have any plans to start your own social network, a la NBC and Ze Frank?

Nick: Well, since most of my viewers are funnier than I am, I’d like to give other people spots on the show. And for those that become show-stealers, I’d like to turn them into paid contributors to Look Shiny, or even help them launch their own shows. Erik Gavriluk, creator of Ze’s Org, built my site, so if I think of a clever social toy I’ll see what he thinks.

NTV: If you were to indulge a delusion of grandeur or two, how do you see the show making money? Integrated advertising, product placement, merchandising, audience sponsorship?

Nick: I’m selling sponsorships for $400/week. I should also soon have a contribution system much like Ze Frank’s “Gimme some candy” system — with breakfast instead of duckies. Product placement will be happily considered, especially if I can eat the product. Oh, and if a person or location in San Francisco wants to join in the making of the show — for instance, I’d love to film from a diner — they can e-mail me at nick at lookshiny dot com.

NTV: What kind of audience numbers do you think it will take to get advertisers interested, or are you banking on your niche appeal and authenticity to convince them that their message will make an impact?

Nick: I’m relying on the show being clever. My dream numbers are 20 thousand viewers per day; if I hit that I’d consider my show a success. That’s plenty of traffic to sustain one guy with a camcorder.

NTV: Well, thanks for sitting down with NewTeeVee to chat, and good luck on the show. Anything else you think readers should know before we sign off?

Nick: Yes: If you get bored watching Look Shiny, pretend I look like Amanda Congdon.

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  1. GigaOM » Across the GigaOM Network Friday, February 9, 2007

    […] If you’ve been wondering why there haven’t been any new posts on Valleywag or Eat the Press from Nick Douglas, it’s because he’s been working on a new daily web show, Look! Shiny! NewTeeVee scored an exclusive interview with the web gossip monger. […]

  2. Alex Williams Friday, February 9, 2007

    I don’t know. I was not overwhelmed by “Look Shiny.”

    Is it his stage presence? His voice? Nick is hilarious in his blog postings. But I am not so sure he shines on camera.

    I’ll wait to hold final judgement until after he posts a few more shows.

  3. Marshall Kirkpatrick Friday, February 9, 2007

    Alex Williams may be one of my closest friends and a trusted co-worker – but in this case I think he is a fool. I’m way stoked for Look Shiny and am not afraid to say so at the risk looking stupid later if the show sucks. I wouldn’t want to hang out with Nick Douglas (the one time I did all he could do was mumble and struggle to stand up, so it wasn’t so bad), but I’m totally excited to watch his show. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for it to launch. Go Nick!

  4. The Blogging Times » Nick Douglas into something… Friday, February 9, 2007

    […] NewTeeVee reports on the former Vallewywag editor’s gig. Should be fun. […]

  5. Jeremy Pepper Friday, February 9, 2007

    I didn’t know that Nick had become Amish.

  6. Pepper, the Amish eschew buttons as being ‘too vain’ for their decorative qualities. Also, I think they eschew being anywhere near San Francisco.

  7. Politics: 2008 HQ » Blog Archive » Look! Shiny! Our Own Nick Douglas Aims To Become The Next Ze Frank Friday, February 9, 2007

    […] Some exciting news, though sad for us here at ETP: Today Nick Douglas launches his brand-new teevee project, Look! Shiny!, which has a sneak-peek debut episode launching today in the crucial Friday-afternoon media-magnet slot. To focus fully on making a go of this project, Nick has stepped down from his lofty perch at ETP — yes! Lofty! — and we will miss him and his techlets terribly, though he has promised to come back and write about more tech mumbo-jumbo when he’s gotten into the groove. Nick is well-positioned with his slick, fun new site, given that Ze Frank has announced that he’ll be retiring his cult favorite online video series, “The Show,” narrated with pith, wit, style, bite, dimples, and blue, blue eyes, come March. Douglas’ eyes veer more to hazel — to match his gingery beard — but he has never been short on pith or bite, so he’s well-poised to step into Frank’s timeslot, as it were, and we’re expecting great things (and so, too, must be Frank, who helped Nick with a few of the organizationals). Get more details at NewTeeVee, or just wait for the episodes to be posted — Nick has been getting eps in the can for a while, and we’re excited to see the one based on the seminal North Korean text, “King Jong Il: Teacher of Journalists.”* Go visit him now and take a look! […]

  8. Jeremy Pepper Friday, February 9, 2007

    Can I go with Orthodox Jew, then, Jackson?

  9. Whatever floats your boat, Jer. Personally, I’m worried he’ll be a success and join the Scientologists.

  10. LOL.

    It’s the beard. It’s gotta go, or get trimmed. I keep waiting for him to start singing Anatevka (yes, random Fiddler on the Roof reference).

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