DID YOU READ

“Sims” Creator To Debut Crowd-Sourced, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure TV Show

“Sims” Creator To Debut Crowd-Sourced, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure TV Show (photo)

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The man who showed us the glee in forbidding little virtual people from peeing is bringing his game design philosophy to cable television, thanks to a new partnership with Current TV. Will Wright, creator of the “Sims,” “Sim City” and “Spore” will be co-producing a new program’s called “Bar Karma” for the Al Gore-founded channel. The series will craft the episodes’ plots according to input from the audience. The network’s official press release reads:

Anchored by technology that Wright has developed exclusively for Current TV, the series, tentatively titled Bar Karma, will enlist viewers to join an online global community at a special web destination entitled, “Current TV’s Creation Studios.” At this virtual television studio, users will participate in the development of all creative and technical aspects of production and communicate directly with the producers of the show.
Current has also signed Albie Hecht, former President of Spike TV and President of
Entertainment at Nickelodeon, who has served as Wright’s co-creator on the
project and will executive produce the series, with his digital entertainment studio
Worldwide Biggies serving as the show’s production company. David Cohn, former
General Manager of MTV2, will serve as executive in charge for the network.

“Bar Karma is a culmination of over a year’s work and I am very excited to see the results as we join together not only gamers and television viewers, but actually create a community that will be empowered with a professional production team,” stated Will Wright. “To develop and lead an initiative like this fulfills a long held passion for television, and I am thrilled that Current would provide the resources and creative support to bring this to air.”

“I have always been excited by innovation and what we are creating is unlike anything on
television,” stated Albie Hecht of Worldwide Biggies. “The technology that Will has invented empowers viewers to participate, but also provides direct communication to me and my production team. We will be taking our cues from the viewers, working with them and then quickly producing high quality, original content. This is truly a paradigm-changing project that will showcase the creativity of the general public in shaping a television series.”

Want to know this crazy idea is going to work? More details from the press relase:

Bar Karma will be comprised of four key production stages:

STEP 1 – JOINING – Viewers will log on to “Current TV’s Creation Studios” at
www.current.com/barkarma through their computers and mobile devices and join the online community.

STEP 2 – CREATING – Viewers will submit potential story ideas on an ongoing basis. Each week the show producers will provide the viewing community with a rough outline for the upcoming episode. Viewers will then have the ability to create various storyboards of unlimited plot possibilities.

STEP 3 – VOTING – Viewers will browse, comment and merge various ideas for the episode. Final proposals will then be reviewed and voted on.

STEP 4 – PRODUCING – After the final storyboard is selected by the community, Hecht and Worldwide Biggies will adapt, shoot, produce and edit the winning storyline into a 30-minute television episode.

Will Wright’s video games have been all been about the relationship between choice and influence. The legendary game designer’s most famous creation came in the form of “The Sims,” where players exerted god-like control over when and how virtual people get to meet their needs and aspirations. “The Sims” blends the roleplay of a Barbie dollhouse with ever more complex psychological modeling to create tiny little universes where surprisingly emergent storylines and behaviors could play out. Two years ago, Wright’s focus expanded with “Spore,” where you grew single-celled organisms into infinitely customizable lifeforms that you evolved to the point where they could go into outer space.

So, even though it sounds like a cross between the core concept of “Project Greenlight” and the call-in mechanic from “American Idol,” “Bar Karma” still implements ideas that have run through Wright’s work since its earliest days. Those ideas have made him a superstar game designer but it remains to be seen if they’ll make him as successful on cable TV. “Bar Karma” is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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