Shearer, Wain sign online for comedy website
Former MTV exec Rob Barnett is launching a content site, pacting with “The Simpsons” vet Harry Shearer and comedy helmer David Wain for the inaugural slate.
Site, called MyDamnChannel.com, will feature shortform programming from a host of creators. Revenue will be generated from advertising, which will be split 50-50 with creators, Barnett said.
In addition, the site will get its own channel on YouTube, which will also promote the videos on its homepage as well as in other sections of the site. Google site will share ad revenue with MyDamnChannel, but no other money will change hands. Okapi Venture Capital is helping to fund the effort.
Barnett will draw from talent associated with his former employer.
Wain directed “The Ten,” which ThinkFilm sends into limited release Friday, and also helmed 2001 camp spoof “Wet Hot American Summer.” He was also a cast member on 1990s MTV comedy series “The State.”
Director will create and star in at least 10 episodes of a Web series titled “Wainy Days” that will feature Wain in a series of dating exploits.
Barnett also has signed up Andy Milonakis, the comic who starred in the eponymous sketch comedy show on MTV2, for a series of Web shorts.
Shearer will create and star in a seven-week set of pop-culture and political spoofs; in two of the debut episodes, he will impersonate Vice President Dick Cheney and President George Bush.
A 20-episode series of animated shorts is also in the works from Shearer.
On the music front, longtime producer Don Was will provide content that includes a set of interviews with musicians, a radio-style music program and new tracks from Was.
In addition to serving as a producer on a number of MTV shows, Barnett was most recently prexy of programming at CBS Radio.
Deals with several other creators should be announced soon, along with distribution and promotion pacts with other portals.
Goal is to offer content on a weekly basis instead of the more occasional schedule on which some content sites run.
Shortform comedy has become something of a Web 2.0 fad as startup sites like FunnyOrDie.com attract top talent like Will Ferrell and the investment of top-level venture-capital firms. But even sites with big-name backers have sometimes had trouble breaking out of the pack; HBO-AOL joint venture This Just In, for instance, said last week that it would cease operations after just six months.
But Barnett said he hopes that by choosing high-profile creators and curating content more carefully, MyDamnChannel.com will stand apart from other video startups.
“There’s a slew of sites with hundreds of thousands of videos that are impossible to find,” he said. “We’re taking a very different approach than all the YouTube imitators.”