Announcing the NewTeeVee Top 10 Breakout Video Stars of 2008

Felicia Day

If scripted web series had a poster girl in 2008, it was definitely Felicia Day. First, the actress/writer/producer created her own show, The Guild, from bottom up, and by developing funny and original characters while also tapping into the popular niche community of World of Warcraft afficionados, the show developed such a wildly loyal fanbase that the production costs of its last seven episodes were paid entirely by viewer donations.

Then, Joss Whedon (who had previously cast her in the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) saw what she was up to and thought it looked like fun — thus leading him to sink a large chunk of his own cash into producing Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, starring Day as love interest to both Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. (Whedon asked Day to participate via a cryptic email reading simply “Can you sing? -J.”)

All this success means that Day is now a hot commodity, making guest spots on the TV series House and Roommates, and selling Cheetoes and bright red washer/dryers in various ad spots. And season 2 of The Guild, now under production, is currently in negotiations to secure financing — without Day and co-producer Kim Evey having to sell the rights to the show, which Day was determined not to do. Those seeking to use web video to further their careers could do much worse than to emulate her example — but the most important thing they should take note of is her friendly and open interaction with fans. Day knows exactly what she owes the nerds. Mainly because she is one herself.

(Liz Shannon Miller)