While the web is a more democratic entertainment platform than those of yore, star power and spending power still carry a lot of oomph. TV Guide, which canceled its online video awards ceremony and television special out of respect for the Writers Guild of America strike (a story we broke here), has named its award winners in a fanfare-free press release. And there’s not a little guy in sight.
It’s no fault of the voters, who cast some 1.75 million ballots — the nominees were skewed towards established media outlets, so it’s natural that the winners would be, too. Even somewhat independent winners like Prom Queen (which took home best actress for star Laura Howard and her fake British accent) and Funny or Die (which won best comedy site) are known largely for their connections to Michael Eisner and Will Ferrell, respectively.
The notable exception is Sanctuary, the sci-fi show that won best original web drama series, beating out Sam Has Seven Friends, Prom Queen, and Lonelygirl15. To be fair, though, it was created by the team behind Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis and cost some $4.3 million to create. So, um, not exactly gritty indie.
NBC racked up the most virtual trophies, with six wins: Funniest web video (Dick in a Box), best TV show web site (Heroes) and best TV comedy webisode (The Office). It also won for best actor (Steve Carell, in The Office), best extra for the web (The Office‘s PSAs) and best animated video on the web (Pale Force).
Clark and Michael was a multiple award winner as well, for best original web comedy series and best duo. A side note: I watched all the episodes in one sitting over the holiday, and laughed my patootie off. I definitely recommend checking back if you didn’t watch the full 10 episodes when they were originally posted.
That’s not to say we have anything against people with big-media cred taking their talent online — their work often tends to be both popular and good! And maybe this stack of awards will give the WGA some additional ammo as it returns to the negotiating table today, proving that people appreciate online video. But if you’re looking for a playing field that’s a little more even, you might try the Winnies awards show being held in L.A. later this week. What would be really cool was if these two online video worlds came together — rather than evolving as two separate spheres.