We Need Girlfriends, a scripted, episodic web sitcom that has garnered a significant following on YouTube, has managed to score an honest-to-goodness development deal with CBS. Darren Star, best known as the man behind Sex and the City, will serve as executive producer on the project, while show creators Steven Tsapelas, Angel Acevedo and Brian Amyot have signed on to write the script.
Tsapelas, Acevedo and Amyot met as film students at Hofstra University on Long Island; they formed Ragtag Productions explicitly to produce We Need Girlfriends, the first episode of which was posted a year ago. Inspirations for the show include the hipsters of The Burg and the relationship hijinx of the boys on Entourage. Though the characters have a little more difficulty navigating relationships than Vincent Chase and friends, that’s by design. “I just wanted to make a show that was the anti-Entourage,” Tsapelas told Tilzy.tv.
This is a good sign that longer-form content can gain some traction on YouTube, with one episode of the web series pulling in over 700,000 views. With episodes running past seven minutes, and jokes that call on plot points across installments, it’s not your typical “viral” fare, and will certainly translate better into the broadcast sitcom format than a collection of sketches might.
Now the Ragtag team will have to come up with a pilot strong enough to make it to air, and then cross their fingers that it gets picked up for a season. Though it’s noteworthy that the deal was unveiled shortly after the WGA announced their intent to strike — hopefully the effort doesn’t get lost in a production shutdown.
It’ll also be interesting to see if any of the principal players get picked up. I, for one, would like to see the original Rod (Evan Bass), Tom (Patrick Cohen) and Henry (Seth Kirschner) — after putting in quality performances on spec for the web production — get a shot at broadcast stardom.