Michael Eisner’s digital production company Vuguru will follow up the success of online slasher series Prom Queen with a live-action series, which is a prequel to upcoming Robin Cook book Foreign Body.
The series will be coproduced with France-based producer Cyber Group Animation, which will also handle international sales of the show. As with Prom Queen, this new 50x2mins or 2x60mins series will be written and directed by online production company Big Fantastic. It will debut in the US on May 27, ten weeks before the release of the eponymous novel. The show, which is being financed out of the marketing budgets of the book’s international publishers, will follow an idealistic UCLA medical student who is investigating on a series of sudden deaths in foreign hospitals.
Meanwhile, Michael Eisner, former head of the Walt Disney Company, used his address at the NATPE trade show to challenge Internet video platforms such as Myspace and Facebook to start paying for video content. Eisner, who runs the Vuguru parent company Tornante, told a packed hall that they must take some risk away from producers.
"It’s still problematic. Every platform has a different strategy and it changes monthly," he said. "When we made Raiders of the Lost Ark everyone had passed on it because it looked like it’d be the most expensive movie ever. [Steven Spielberg and George Lucas] made that movie for one fifth of as much as everyone thought they would. [The same thing] will happen on the Internet as soon as the distributors take the risk away from the creators."
Eisner went on to criticise Quarterlife, the online production from the creators of thirtysomething, for being too expensive. "They’re not producing for the Internet, they’re producing for broadcast and are playing on the Internet," he said. "You need the next generation of creative people [to be those] that can’t get arrested at ABC."