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‘Taxicab’ duo put camera on Crushedplanet.com

Site bows voyueristic series

Joe and Harry Gantz, the creators of HBO’s voyeuristic docu “Taxicab Confessions,” have bowed Crushedplanet.com, a new Netcasting site featuring five original shows that use the duo’s hidden-camera approach to filmmaking but with Webcams.

Launched out of the duo’s offices in Woodland Hills, site features programming the Gantz brothers describe as more edgy, raw and straightforward than can be seen on TV.

Initial crop of series on the site includes:

  • “First Apartment”: A 24-7 feed of couples living in apartments in San Francisco and Los Angeles. When the couples aren’t at home, show plays back previously recorded footage.

  • “Eavesdropping”: Hidden cameras record people’s actions inside a dating service, a wedding chapel, hair salon, county jail and sex toy party.

  • “War on Comedy”: Once a week, a group of black comics perform standup comedy in M and M’s Soul Food Kitchen, a restaurant in South Central L.A.

  • “24/7”: Shot 24 hours over one week, show takes a closeup look at the stories of five friends in New York’s Spanish Harlem.

  • “Couples Arguing”: A show about five couples arguing. Nearly 50 hours of arguments and interviews were shot.

The Gantz brothers said they tried to pitch the shows to the networks but to no avail.

“We wanted to keep the Internet rights but they wanted everything,” Harry Gantz said. “We wanted to own our own programming. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money, but at least you own what you created.”

Site is being funded by revs the Gantz brothers collected from traditional TV deals they’ve inked with HBO and other broadcasters. The duo’s currently looking for outside financing.

They also plan to generate additional funds through advertising, royalties from syndication fees collected for content produced by other producers and e-commerce: They plan to sell VHS tapes and DVDs featuring Webisodes of the shows.

“We have a particular style of programming that is uniquely suited to the ‘Net,” Joe Gantz said. “If someone’s going to go to the Internet, they’re not going to watch the same type of programming that they’re going to see on TV. It’s got to be something totally different.”

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