CBS is no passive player in the digital world. Quincy Smith, President of CBS Interactive, has made headlines with strong statements, bold acquisitions and ambitious initiatives. The network’s activity has produced some big hits, some big misses, and some compelling ideas.
Their talk of audience networks is well-intentioned an appreciated, but the original scripted web content from CBS has yet to impress. Could this be the one?
Heckel-U is a scripted web series starring Tom Arnold (who you can watch in 60Frames Overkill) and Owen Benjamin (who has his own show on Crackle). The show about an “underachieving slacker who excels at heckling during college basketball games with the help of his bartender uncle” is timed for promotion within coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, an online initiative on which CBS scored big last year, with product integration from Procter and Gamble. According to Reuters, the webshow will also get some primetime coverage in the form of network television interstitials.
This feels like standard promotional fare from a network; use the megaphone of TV to promote online treats to a large but well-targeted demographic. The real question will be whether CBS can pull off a worthwhile scripted series.