There’s a lot of news to digest here, so let’s start with the highlights:
- Keanu Reeves is starring in a web series.
- It’s called Spärhusen and is actually a spin-off of IKEA-backed Easy to Assemble.
- It’s part of a 7-show slate of web series from My Damn Channel premiering October 8, 2009.
You know the medium is growing up when we get news of not only another A-lister headlining a web series, but the fact that it’s a spinoff of another web series. Keanu Reeves is starring in Spärhusen, a spinoff series about fictional Swedish rock band of the same name that despite oozing musical talent, never quite hit the ABBA level. It actually came out of an episode of Easy to Assemble from last season.
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For the first season, Spärhusen is basically a Behind the Music look at the “in-studio tensions” from the recording sessions of the band’s 1972 single “Apples & Fish.” Reeves stars as “famed” Swedish record producer Vorste Fierron who apparently can’t get along with the band’s long-time manager Björn Epstein (Wallace Langham) over a fish. On top of the series, they are actually putting out a real-life album from the band, dubbed “The Best of Spärhusen,” set for release later this fall.
Illeana Douglas, the star and creator of Easy to Assemble, co-created Sparhusen along with fellow stars Rob Mailhouse and Todd Spahr. CJP Digital, the same firm behind newly-renewed The Temp Life, started working with Easy to Assemble for season 2, and brought the two-pack of series to My Damn Channel who won out after a little bidding war.
The new season, “Co-Worker of the Year” adds SNL vets like Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows to the cast. Both series will screen first at the New York Television Festival on September 23, and then premiere online October 8.
My Damn Channel has a thing for bringing A-list talent to the web. They also have a habit of making hits. Wainy Days, Horrible People and Streamy-winning You Suck At Photoshop have racked up millions of combined views and it’s not easy to find a dud in their roster.
“Over the past two years, we built a studio, a destination network and a major syndication business giving artists we love the freedom and backing to reach millions directly,” said Rob Barnett, My Damn Channel’s Founder and CEO. “Our stars turn music and funny into money. Advertisers now call us. And we’ve got a company that’s growing, diversifying and having good times inside a bad economy. I’ll shut up now.”
So naturally we’re expecting a lot from this new slate. Also on the fall lineup:
An animated web series from YouTube’s P0ykpac (Ryan Hunter & Taige Jenson) that re-imagines the court of Camelot and the Round Table with a bunch of modern-day pop knights—Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Sean Connery, Sir Elton John, Sir Richard Branson—all led by Prince William, with Stephen Hawking as his robotic sidekick. See the pilot (above), for the start of this group’s “quests to vanquish evil celebrity super villains.”
Rounding out the list are a handful of other channels that may or may not actually end up being web series. RAMP (Radio and Music Pros) is “a new, daily email blast filling a gaping radio and music information void.” Then there’s music producer Don Was and Spinal Tap’s Harry Shearer, both of whom have been on MDC a few years now. And finally Grace Crashers premieres October 21, and kicks off a two-year deal on My Damn Channel for hosts Grace Helbig and Dave Ahdoot in a traveling comedy series.