When Amp’d Mobile launched in 2005, it wasn’t just an alternative for consumers tired of Verizon or Cingular — it was a breeding ground for Hollywood creators.
The mobile operator, which leased spectrum space from Verizon, got into business with Jack Black, some of the “Simpsons” writers and “Monster House” scribes Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, all of whom were working on creating original episodes for the service.
Amp’d’s plans were as big as its screens were small: “Signaling how mobile entertainment is rewriting the Hollywood development process, top creative minds … will bring exclusive new made-for-mobile series to Amp’d,” it said in one statement.
The L.A. firm wasn’t just repurposing TV shows (though it did plenty of that too, from A&E, Nickelodeon, Spike and Oxygen), it was trying to reinvent Hollywood.
MTV liked the idea so much it jumped in as a backer, as did Universal Music.
But last week brought news that Amp’d was seeking Chapter 11 protection. Apparently as many as half its subs were behind on payments. Bankruptcy papers say Amp’d owes more than $100 million to creditors.
Amp’d execs say they expect to re-emerge from Chapter 11. What will happen to the development deals, all in various stages, is unclear.
Still, there may be one legacy left by the firm: “Lil’ Bush,” a show it developed from “Simpsons” writer Donick Carey, debuts this week on Comedy Central.