When FremantleMedia Enterprises was looking for a teen-skewing web series Generate was top of mind, largely because of the other web series the digital company had made, including The Lake, the Jason Priestley-directed show that aired on The WB’s website.
“That show was so well done for the budget and played so well to a young adult audience, so we got the same writing team and said we want something in that vein, that plays in a similar space and to a similar audience,” says Jeff Tahler, senior VP acquisitions and development, Global Content, FremantleMedia Enterprises.
The resulting piece of content is digital series Brandt Point. The titular fictional town is similar to Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard and the show focuses on 16 year-old Rob McCallister as he spends what might be his last summer holidaying on the island. The ensuing drama has plenty of teen angst as Rob falls out with friends and in love with a mysterious girl who comes to the town and family drama as his parents may have to sell the beloved family holiday home.
Tahler says: “It’s in the vein of the old WB networks shows. It’ set in a fun, aspirational world without being too OTT. It’s more One Tree Hill or Dawson’s Creek than Gossip Girl.”
The digital series was not made as a back-door pilot for a regular TV show and, with a total running time of 90 minutes, it will be sold by FremantleMedia in different forms.
“The problem with doing this type of show as a back-door pilot is that it can mean what is made does not have a satisfying ending and we wanted something satisfying and with a resolution,” Tahler says. “We wanted to try a new business model, and it’s a digital series that we can distribute as a short form web series in the US and as a one-off movie of the week in the rest of the world.”
He adds, however, that while this is testing a new way of making and selling content for FME, it could provide the basis for a traditional series if the relevant parties were interested: “It gives an amazing feel of what that world created in Brandt Point could be,” he says. “This could be the first season and a TV show could pick up where it leaves off. It takes what we would have in a TV series and shows people what they could expect in terms of look, feel and tone. It could be a fun world to spend 10 or 13 episodes in.”
Brandt Point’s producer Generate was acquired by Alloy Digital, the digital arm of producer and distributor Alloy Entertainment, in January. Alloy, which produces Gossip Girl, was then itself bought by Warner Bros. in June. FME fully financed the show and co-developed it with Generate. It does not currently have a home in the US or international markets.
How and to what extent FME pursues other series in a similar form depends on how Brandt Point performs. Tahler says: “We will find out what this type of show is worth internationally and how people receive this type of content. It is in part proof of concept and if successful could be proof of business model, we have to see whether we can monetise what has been created enough to make it worthwhile doing more.”
The show: Brandt Point
The producer: Generate
The distributor: FremantleMedia Enterprises
Concept: 8x11mins or 1x90mins teen-skewed digital series set in a fictional holiday town, Brandt Point