The digital words are flying like crazy as people try to draw conclusions from quarterlife‘s one-and-done tenure on NBC and it’s likely move to cable, at least for the end of the six-episode block. What does it say about the future of using the web as an incubator? Does this mean the web-to-TV option won’t work? Etc. Etc. Etc. It really doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme. NBC didn’t try to incubate from the web, it tried to fill strike time with an inexpensive option that already had publicity and provided some patina to Ben Silverman and company for being willing to experiment.
Of course, it failed as a major network series. It’s far too singular to begin with, most notable for who was doing it — the Thirtysomething, <iMy So-Called Life team — than for what it was: a niche show with good production values designed for a different medium after an earlier concept failed as a pilot for ABC. If it can succeed anywhere on TV, it will more likely do so in cable, where numbers like 3.1 million viewers can be meaningful. Co-producer Marshall Herskovitz, who described it as a failure at a Harvard conference yesterday, sent around a statement today in advance of official word: “We live in a media world today where many shows are considered successful on cable networks with audiences that are a fraction of those on the Big Four. I