Had some fun this morning at the LATV Festival panel on how digital media is changing the face of TV. Not sure if we answered that question in 75 minutes, but the panelists were a good cross-section of the biz and they were talkative, which made my job easy. Chris Henchy, veteran writer-producer and head of Will Ferrell and Andy McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods., was one of the panelists, yakking about FunnyorDie.com, the comedy Web site that launched stealthily in April with some very funny Ferrell shorts and an open invitation for undiscovered comic geniuses to submit their own shorts. In “American Idol” fashion, users are invited to vote on their fave/least fave shorts, some of which become “Immortal” and some of which are banished to “the Crypt,” never to be seen again.
It’s kinda mind-boggling but the Ferrell short “The Landlord” (featuring a pic-stealing performance from McKay’s toddler-daughter Pearl) has been viewed more than 40 million times since FunnyorDie.com bowed in mid-April. Henchy (pictured above at right with Ferrell), who’s also busy juggling feature projects and an HBO pilot, said they’re in the midst of trying to partner with a local comedy establishment to bring some of the undiscovered talents on FunnyorDie out of their basements and bathrooms to a showcase event that would be streamed live, natch, on FunnyorDie. And he confirmed that most of the Gary Sanchez-produced stuff on the site is filmed in under an hour, and slapped up on to the site while the DV cam is still warm. Gotta love the digital age.
Another panelist, “Heroes” co-exec producer Jesse Alexander, promised that the show had lots of fun in store for fans this weekend and Comic-Con and when season two of the NBC hit bows in September.