Created by actor-producer Kaily Smith along with David Weidoff, the indie web series was one of the higher caliber originals to be produced independently that we’ve seen lately. Shooting on the RED One camera, Smith teamed up with producer Shelley Stevens and director Sherwin Shilati to pull together the 20-episode series.
The deal with The Frisky was locked after the creators pitched them the completed series, which will be the first original web series on the site. The Turner-owned site does an impressive 1.2M, largely female, global monthly visitors, according to Quantcast, and has been growing steadily since its launch in early 2008.
“With the addition of ‘Merrime.com’ to our site – a show whose humor and irreverent point of view reflects our sensibility perfectly – we can give our growing audience even more great exclusive content to look forward to and talk about each and every week,” said Mina Lux, General Manager of The Frisky.com.
Smith plays Merrideth ‘Merri’ Weisman, an attractive twentysomething Beverly Hills trust funder living the good life until her impulsive father, played by Tom Arnold, threatens to cut the cord if she doesn’t get married soon. Her clinging friends, Mac (Jay Hayden) and Jessica (Andrea Syglowski), figure out a plan to get Merri hooked up back on the dating scene. This of course means plenty of comedic guest stars Tony Hale (CTRL) and Ryan Eggold (90210) as she looks for her shotgun beau.
When asked about her experience shopping the independent series to potential distributors, Smith noted, “it’s challenging, there are no rules and no one really knows what works and what doesn’t. When you’re independent and you don’t have proof of what you’re capable of it’s hard to get people to understand what you’re doing,” Smith added. “But every ‘no’ is closer to a yes.”
The web series is also a bigger play for Smith, who is a primarily an actor, as the series prepare for screening later this week in LA at the Independent Television Festival. “I wrote this and structured the characters for television – I look at the web as mini-vignettes of the A-story line,” she noted. “The ideal goal would be to sell it to television. We’re really excited for ITVFest where that they are screening six episodes together as a 24-min pilot.”
The series launched quietly in June before the distribution deal, but will relaunch this week on The Frisky. The series will also be pushed out through The Frisky’s YouTube channel as well as the MERRIme.com site, with two new episodes per week for the first week and then weekly starting with the ninth episode.
The specifics of the deal were not released, although we did learn that Smith and team retain ownership rights over the series and the right to score sponsor deals for this and subsequent seasons. Season 2 is in fact already in the works, with Weidoff and Smith starting work on a script that picks up right where the Season 1 cliffhanger leaves off.
Tom Arnold on the set of MERRIme.com with creator Kaily Smith