The fast-twitch journey from idea to execution to distribution is often touted as one of the great upsides of working in the streaming video space vs. the traditional TV and film worlds. But it’s not always so fast.
A case in point: back in August of 2014, the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) announced it was launching its own production arm, NYTVF Productions, and partnering with multi-platform distributor The Orchard to create the two companies’ first original TV series. Today, more than a year and a half later, it was announced that the world will finally see the fruits of that deal when the four-episode, half-hour workplace comedy “The Jamz” premieres on iTunes on April 12.
Following an exclusive window on iTunes, during which people can purchase a season pass ($4.99) or individual episodes, the series will be made available on other digital platforms, including Netflix, on April 30.
Shot in Chicago last year, “The Jamz” follows the exploits of the crew at 101.7 THE JAMZ, Chicago’s (fictional) #1-rated radio station. Created by Jim Kozyra and Chris Petlak, who serve as series regulars, writers, and co-executive producers, the series received a straight-to-series from The Orchard. It also stars Kathy Najimy, David Pasquesi, Michael Patrick Thornton, Rammel Chan, Tamberla Perry, Emily Peterson and Vincent Teninty.
“Indie film forged a bold and vital creative pipeline for cinema, and we are now seeing the same potential for indie TV thanks to new platforms and digital distribution options,” said Terence Gray, NYTVF founder and executive producer of “The Jamz,” in a statement. “The indie film approach used on ‘The Jamz’ allowed us to create premium episodic content with a limited budget, and the result is a funny, heart-felt, accessible comedy that fans around the globe will enjoy during this and hopefully subsequent seasons.”
Members of the cast and crew — which include New York Television Festival alumni — will gather at Chicago’s Logan Theatre on April 4 for a premiere screening/party and a Q&A moderated by Eric Ferguson of 101.9 THE MIX.
The Orchard has been digitally distributing video since 1997. Its online network features YouTube channels such as The Orchard Movies, where it offers its titles for rent or digital download. In June 2015, it inked a deal with Jay and Mark Duplass’ Duplass Brothers Productions to distribute seven films produced by the filmmakers.