By Sahil Patel
Say what you want about HLN’s plans to become the cable news network “for the social media generation,” but one thing is certain, the network is making a big bet on enlisting a lot of online video players to provide it with the type of programming that could bring young audiences to TV. Omnivision (formerly My Damn Channel), “What’s Trending,” and Frederator Studios are all developing shows for the network.
So is MiTu, the Latino multi-channel network formed by the quartet of Beatriz Acevedo, Roy Burstin, Doug Greiff, and Pedro Blanco, and funded by the likes of The Chernin Group, Allen DeBevoise, and Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital.
MiTu is developing “Wkly M@shup with Chuey Martinez,” a late-night show based on MiTu’s web series, “El Show w/ Chuey Martinez.” Created by Acevedo and Greiff, the TV series is described as “one-part talk, two-parts performance, and a spicy splash of sketch comedy.”
To get a better idea on what kind of late-night show “Wkly M@shup” will be, as well as the company’s thoughts on moving a property from web to TV, VideoInk sat down with Greiff, who also serves as MiTu’s chief creative officer, for a quick chat.
We know HLN is focusing on creating content for the social media generation. How did the deal for “Wkly M@shup” come together?
As a long time television producer and supplier of content to many cable networks (i.e. Discovery, Food Network, Spike TV, Nickelodeon, etc.), HLN cheif, Albie Hecht, and his creative team were aware of our production capabilities and specifically reached out to us looking for content that could appeal to a multi-cultural audience.
The show is described as “one-part talk, two-parts performance, and a spicy splash of sketch comedy.” Could you give us a few more details on that?
We are trying to create a new late-night experience that can fully take advantage of our host, Chuey Martinez’s multiple talents (experienced interviewer, comedic performer), as well as those of today’s biggest social influencers, who are capturing huge audiences online.
How will it differ from other late-night shows that viewers have grown accustomed to?
I expect the pace of our show to be a bit quicker than your average late-night show. There will be a greater emphasis on audience engagement, as well as a concerted effort to appeal to a more diverse, millennial viewer.
The show is based on the “El Show” web series? What do you do on the web series that will be brought over to the TV show? How will they differ?
Our “El Show” series on MiTu is a performance-based variety show fueled by the biggest acts on YouTube. And while “Wkly M@shup” will certainly incorporate some of these elements, but in an hour format, we will also have the time to delve in deeper with our guests, who will now include everyone from celebs from the world of movies, TV, music, sports, and politics, to anyone who is making, sharing, and spinning news through social media.
When it comes to transitioning a property from the web to TV, what are some factors that indicate that property is adaptable to how people watch TV and would be successful there?
First, you need a big talent who can carry a show to television, and we’re lucky to be able to have Chuey, who is an “urban everyman” who is equally comfortable talking to an “A-list” star as he is to a taco truck owner or local street artist. Secondly, the show has to have enough entertaining content and a healthy mix of new and recurring segments, as well as supporting personalities to keep it fresh and exciting each week.
Bonus round: With MiTu, are you focused on bringing more properties to television?
Because content creation and talent development and discovery is in our DNA at MiTu, we are always looking at things with a slightly more critical eye than perhaps other players in our space. We very much recognize the value of cross-promotion and companion programming and are constantly looking for ways to build mini franchises and new formats that can live in both worlds.