The Warner Bros. Television Group is launching its much-anticipated portal for old TV shows, and adding into the mix original, short-form series. The ad-supported site will be at TheWB.com and through a paltry list of syndication partners: Comcast Cable, Fancast (isn’t that the same thing?), AOL, and “a number of mobile carriers.” There’s also some Facebook integration.
paidContent has the rundown on the slate of none-too-highbrow original programming:
On the talent side, WBTVG has lined up director/producer McG (Terminator 4, the “Charlie’s Angels” movies) and writer/producer Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and Big Fantastic (producers of the internet series Prom Queen). TheWB.com currently has seven short-form shows being developed for site, including Sorority Forever, which execs are describing as ”Prom Queen meets The O.C.; Exposed, billed as a thriller concerning a college student with a hidden past; Chadam, a 3D animation project based on the surreal character that appears in videos by the alt-rock band The Used; Rich Girl/Poor Girl, a class-based comedy set in Los Angeles about two teen girls who switch places; Lockdown, a show about a model being kept prisoner in her own home; a reality series about a high school musical production called High Drama: Against All Oz; and an untitled series about a fictional Hollywood rock club.
WBGTV is also launching a separate youth-oriented portal, complete with its own virtual world. Between the two sites, Mattel, McDonald’s and Johnson & Johnson have signed on as advertisers.
“This is not about supporting TV; this is about creating a separate business, and we regard online video as a separate form of storytelling,” WBGTV president Bruce Rosenblum said.
We appreciate Rosenblum talking the talk and walking the walk. But while this all sounds worthy of many hours of guilty pleasure, it just doesn’t make sense not to combine it with current CW shows (one of the most popular of which, Schwartz’s Gossip Girl, was just taken offline to avoid competing with its broadcast slot — huh?). The web doesn’t really care if the parent companies have changed. The content should also be massively syndicated and syndicatable. Yes, it should be on Hulu (with which Warner Bros. recently signed a deal) — update: TheWB.com’s content will be on Hulu, and the site also may include licensed third-party video — and but also everywhere else. The portal beta launches in “early May,” according to the release, so we’ll have to see then.