MySpace Pays Up for quarterlife

Coming soon from some people who are really good at milking the same theme: a web series about people in their twenties by the creators of thirtysomething and My So-Called Life. Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick have sold to MySpace — for hundreds of thousands of dollars, reportedly — the exclusive rights to premiere their new 36-episode online series quarterlife as well as house the show’s character profiles and extras.

Quarterlife Trailer

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The show (preview embedded above) centers on a young woman who spills her secrets, and those of her friends, on her video blog. The set-up is ripe for online tie-ins, dramatic devices, and interactions with an audience, but so obvious and perfect it’s due to be overripe quite soon. As an emailed release describes it,

“…the show’s characters…chart the sometimes excruciating, sometimes comic, often emotional experiences that comprise coming of age as a part of the digital generation.”

Episodes will be 8 minutes long, which is a lot to ask online, but the creators have a strong track record of attracting fans and acclaim; with Emmys, an Oscar, and lots of other awards filling their shelves.

The series, which premieres November 11, is also launching its own social network at — c’mon, MySpace isn’t enough?

Stefanie Olsen, who broke this story on CNET in July, reported that MySpace is paying Herskovitz and Zwick (who also contributed to films like Legends of the Fall, Blood Diamond, and Traffic) $400,000 per episode. She wrote that the episodes were to be cut into web-sized segments — of which there are now 36 — so it’s unclear what the actual price was. Regardless, MySpace emphasized in a release that the creators are retaining all the rights to the series.

MySpace is showing a real willingness to pay for content since launching its own TV portal, and has been cutting deal after deal. Other series that invest in deep integration with social networking tools — such as Prom Queen and Lonelygirl15 — have been quite successful.