Ashton Kutcher’s Web/TV Breakthrough

"Blah Girls," the animated web series from Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst company, is debuting Wednesday night in its new role as part of the CBS entertainment news show “The Insider.” “Blah Girls” episodes will be one-minute “interstitials,” introducing CBS audiences to the three frisky, often outré teenage cartoon-girls named Krystle, Tiffany and Britney, who trade celebrity […]

"Blah Girls," the animated web series from Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst company, is debuting Wednesday night in its new role as part of the CBS entertainment news show “The Insider.” “Blah Girls” episodes will be one-minute “interstitials,” introducing CBS audiences to the three frisky, often outré teenage cartoon-girls named Krystle, Tiffany and Britney, who trade celebrity gossip and chase celebs.

Variety reports that CBS TV Distribution will try to spin off "Blah Girls" into its own half-hour series, targeted for first run syndication or cable.

It seems like a good moment for web TV to show itself as a viable, if so far tiny, part of mainstream Hollywood.

 

“Blah Girls” is a good advance scout for its web TV peers — it’s a clever, focused little show that understands what it is about celebrity gossip that drives so many of us wild. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Kutcher’s name is behind Katalyst, even though by all appearances he has little to do with the series’ day-to-day.

Still, it’s a step forward — the first time a web series with short, non-narrative episodes has gone to something other than fringe cable TV. When “quarterlife,” Marshall Herskovitz’s web series about the travails of a group of twentysomethings, was bought by NBC, the short web episodes were combined into traditional half-hour TV episodes.

It hasn’t been easy for web TV makers to monetize their content. Last week, new media studio 60Frames went out of business.

I’m waiting to hear back from Katalyst. In the meantime, I had a quick chat with Brady Brim-DeForest, co-founder of web TV news site Tubefilter, about what the "Blah Girls"/CBS move means for others who might not have the celebrity factor behind them.

“The more exposure that web TV shows get in front of traditional televion audiences, the better,” Brim-DeForest said. “One of the challenges in this space is that it’s very difficult to expose an audience to your content unless you have ubiquity, and how do you get ubiqiuity if no one’s seen your content?"

 

"So I’d like to see more short-form content and web TV content move over to the TV side,” Brim-DeForest said.