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What’s New to Watch on the Web

Are you waiting for the fall television season to start? Online video isn’t. Today brings another raft of new web projects from big media’s Warner Brothers to the tech sector’s Paltalk to Crackle, the video-hosting site owned by Sony (SNE).

Warner Brothers will produce 24 web projects, including shows, short movies, and games, all for less than $3 million, reports the New York Times. Notably, there’s no mention of a web content hub from the Time Warner (TWX) studio. Apparently — though we wouldn’t read too much into this yet — syndication will be widespread. The story is vague when it comes to distribution: “programming will appear on Joost and other video portals,” it says, and one show will be promoted by RealNetworks (RNWK).

Projects include The Jeannie Tate Show (found on YouTube and embedded above), a talk show hosted by a soccer mom in her minivan; a puppet comedy about monkey detectives from the Jim Henson Co.; a mockumentary called Viral about a digital studio trying to make an online hit; an animated The Wizard of Oz; a dating game from Gilmore Girls creator Lauren Graham; and a production from Charlie’s Angels director Joseph McGinty Nichol.

The Times article focuses on an attitude change by Warner Brothers, which had previously tried to minimize risk by finding advertisers to finance production of shows from the get-go. But the studio only managed to see that process through to the end once, with Hardly News on Bud.TV for Anheuser-Busch, and it — along with Bud.TV — failed miserably. So Warner Brothers will now fork out the small change (by its standards) needed to make web content now and figure out how to recoup the expenses later.

Speaking of strategy changes, webcam chat company Paltalk today proclaimed (note the all caps in a spokesperson’s email to NewTeeVee) it is becoming “a full-scale, web-based CONTENT company.”

Paltalk has some neat ideas about blending live online programming and viewer participation, and will be spending a “substantial” amount of money to hire hosts and book guests for its new shows, according to Paltalk President and COO Joel Smernoff. We’re not sure a technology company throwing money at talent is a recipe for success, but maybe there’s room for Paltalk to carve out a space being a tech-savvy friend to the entertainment biz.

Over the coming weeks, the company will debut Hollywood Now (Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET), which will see Rocketboom anchor Joanne Colan tracking all things celebrity; MusicScene, (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET) which will feature live music performances; and Provocation Hall (Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET), a forum for the debate of political issues.

Paltalk decided to make the leap from software provider to content creator after providing chat for radio hosts Opie and Anthony and setting up a monthly live stand-up show called LateNet that attracted Fran Drescher, Gilbert Gottfried, and Chevy Chase — as well as thousands of their fans remotely. As we’ve written before, Paltalk requires a Windows-only download and payment if you want to see other participant’s webcams while you watch the free content.

Also today, Crackle, which has been reincarnated as a pro-am video community following its acquisition by Sony Pictures Entertainment, is playing up the line-up on its comedy channel, “Moving Targets.” The channel includes syndicated shows from Jerry Zucker’s “National Banana,” spoofs from the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre, and original web comedy Mr. Deity, as well as the Crackle-produced sketch-comedy mixed-media show WTF and Cops spoof Script Cops. Crackle is also offering development deals and pitch meetings to outside video creators who submit their comedy clips to the channel.

We’re not too sure the channel will fit our sense of humor, considering they sent along a press package containing a diaper — huh? — but if that’s your sort of thing, head on over.

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