Seven Web-first producers to watch

Berg-Saccani, others the future of content

  • Berg-Saccani Entertainment: Jon Berg and Damien Saccani’s management production outfit, which has a first-look deal at Universal and a penchant for youth-skewing fare, has inked a deal with new Netcaster NeuroTrash.com to create original programming. NeuroTrash will finance a series of three-minute original live or animated Webisodes that Berg-Saccani pitches and then later produces.

  • EzFlix: The Web venture by former DreamWorks topper Bob Cooper (“American Beauty”) and Columbia TriStar TV topper Jeff Wachtel (“Party of Five,” “Dawson’s Creek”), is looking to create original three- to five-minute interactive shows to be syndicated to other Web sites using established Hollywood writers, directors and actors. Already, EzFlix has inked a distribution deal with MP3.com. Division is based out of Cooper’s Los Angeles Landscape Entertainment offices.

  • Honkworm Intl.: A funny name’s one thing, but the company’s hoping to produce even funnier content and make TV’s syndication model work in a major way on the Web. The Seattle-based company is ramping up production on a slate of off-the-wall Web series it plans to sell to other sites. Vet TV producer Rhonda Moore was recently hired as creative director of series development, having last worked for Trilogy Entertainment. The syndicator already has hits with its quirky “Fishbar” and “Siliconites” series. It has also created online series for Nike, Playboy, MTV, Excite, Fox, RealNetworks, AtomFilms, eGreetings and Yahoo’s Broadcast.com.

  • Mandalay E-Media: Not yet a major player on the Web, division that’s part of Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment is completing work on five high-concept animated series, including the impressive “Kelly Goodheart,” a potential franchise similar to Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft. A trailer is already up on Mandalay.com.

  • Mondo Media: The San Francisco-based producer created Entertaindom.com’s flagship “The God & Devil Show” and syndicates its animated programming to portal Alta Vista, Excite@Home, AtomFilms and the Washington Post. Many consider Mondo one of the companies that truly understands how entertainment works on the Web.

  • Rumpus.com: The unusual toymaker has pushed aside its plush products to become a producer of animated fare for the Web. Not only is it creating Flash-animated episodes for some of its characters, including Space Puppies, the company recently released the half-hour animated pic “Herschel Hopper,” voiced by Brendan Sexton III, Brad Renfro and Jason Priestley, among others. The Amanda Bryne (Nickelodeon’s “The Amanda Show”)-starring “The Day I Saved America” and Christmas’ “The Red Bison” follow.

  • UrbanEntertainment.com: Focused on the much neglected online African-American market, Netcaster recently sold the film rights to scribe John Ridley’s Web-based animated comedy series “Undercover Brother” for $2 million to Universal in May. U bought the series for Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. Site plans to create additional series to sell to off-line and traditional film or TV markets.

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