In Depth

12 to Watch: Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick

The television industry should consider March 2 at 9 p.m. as appointment viewing for all. That’s when the biggest test so far in Web-to-TV convergence will occur, as NBC premieres “Quarterlife,” a six-week midseason replacement that started on the Internet.

The Emmy Award-winning team of Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick created the show, which debuted Nov. 11 on MySpace and companion site Quarterlife.com.

Shortly after the premiere, NBC announced it was picking up the Internet series, making “Quarterlife” the first series to make the leap from the Web to TV.

The show’s success or failure on TV will be closely watched. “Any time anything is successful, everyone will try to replicate it,” said Mitch Oscar, executive VP of digital at media agency Carat.

While “Quarterlife” is the first Web show to make the jump intact, TV networks have been combing the Web for talent for the last few years. Bravo ordered a reality pilot featuring William Sledd, host of Web series “Ask a Gay Man,” which runs on Bravo-owned OutZoneTV. Mr. Sledd started on YouTube. Also, syndicated newsmagazine “Extra” now features two segments a week from saucy online entertainment network NoGoodTV.com.

Others want to follow suit. Television production company FremantleMedia North America started pitching a pilot to broadcast and cable networks last month based on its Web property “Atomic Wedgie.” Hayden Black, star of online video shows “Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary” and “Goodnight Burbank,” has been working with an HBO producer to pitch “Abigail’s X-Rated Teen Diary” to cable networks.

But “Quarterlife” is unique because of the star power involved. Mr. Herskovitz and Mr. Zwick are heavyweights in Hollywood whose TV credentials include “My So-Called Life” and “thirtysomething.”

“Quarterlife” runs on MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Imeem.com, NBC.com and Quarterlife.com as eight-minute episodes. The show will remain the same on TV, though the producers will edit out four-letter words for the TV version and will shave a minute or two from each episode to fit the hour time slot.

But “Quarterlife” will remain an Internet show at heart, said Mr.
Herskovitz. Whether NBC picks up the show for another season or not, the duo will continue to produce the series for the Web.

The show will always premiere first online, likely a few months in advance of the broadcast premiere, he said.

While the industry is watching “Quarterlife” as an example of convergence, Mr. Herskovitz contends that what is equally important is the return of an independent voice to TV.

“The television business is dominated by very big companies and I think independent programming is important. What keeps us independent is we are on the Internet first, and NBC has been accepting of our independence and our creative control. I have to give them credit for bucking the trend with network programming,” he said.

The first episode of the show generated more than 700,000 views online, but following episodes dipped to the neighborhood of 100,000-plus views. Mr. Herskovitz said the first episode generated significantly more views because YouTube posted it on its front page for 48 hours.

With YouTube figures excluded, Mr. Herskovitz said each episode is averaging about 100,000 to 150,000 views on MySpace and Quarterlife. com, with about 30,000 to 35,000 of those coming from Quarterlife.com.

“There was no marketing budget. This has all been word of mouth, and word of mouth takes a while,” he said.

Across all distribution partners, the show generated 3 million views in November and December.
To succeed on TV, the show will need to hold on to the early samplers, Mr. Oscar said. “Whatever big bump they get on TV, they’ll need to do a better job keeping them. When the hype and the advertising dies down, can it carry its own weight and support itself?”

AT A GLANCE
Name: Marshall Herskovitz
Title: Writer-director-producer-creator
Date of birth: Feb. 23, 1952
Place of birth: Philadelphia
Who knew? “I’ve always been obsessed by the Vikings. I even have an authentic Viking sword hanging on the wall in my office.”

Name: Edward Zwick
Title: Writer-director-producer-creator
Date of birth: Oct. 8, 1952
Place of birth: Chicago
Who knew? Plays ragtime banjo, enjoys English Premiership football and can win at ping-pong with either hand.

What to watch for: The wild card for “Quarterlife” will be whether it can sustain and grow an audience on TV, as well as the Internet. Will NBC be patient with the show if it’s not an instant ratings draw?

Marshall Herskovitz & Edward Zwick

Leave a comment

Comments 78

Tom

user-pic

Quarterlife began as a failed TV pilot at ABC so it's not original-to-the-Internet

rene

user-pic

Dear Sir,

When I saw your movie The Last Samurai, I've been wanting to get in touch with you so I can inspire you to make another blockbuster movie about a Japanese Spy who married my grandmother and had eight children before WWII.
This is just the icing of the cake, and when you learn more about the autobiography of my grandfather, you will make another movie and I want Ken Watanabe to be the lead actor.

Hope to hear from you sir,

Sincerely Yours,

Rene Kawabata

user-pic

You just got a new subscriber

user-pic

Thanks for your visiting this www.glamour-watches.com online store,

user-pic

Good post, thanks

Melch

user-pic

Hi fellas!

I've just signed up www.tvweek.com and wanna say hi to all the guys/gals of this board!

user-pic

How are you, i am glad to browse all of on this blog post and am very thrilled and excited to observe that the writer has done a very fantastic service here to put all the content and information on one website, I must spread the word on this information with a link on my site.

user-pic

How are you, i I discovered your website on yahoo and browse pretty much all your other posts. I just added you to my RSS feeder. Keep up the awesome work. Looking forward to reading more from you in the future. You know, I have to tell you, I really enjoy this site and the insight from everyone who participates. I find it to be refreshing and very informative. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, I felt it was about time I posted, I?ve spent most of my time here just lurking and reading, but today for some reason I just felt compelled to say this.

user-pic

Hello Great Article you got there! Did never realy see it from that way! I will keep in touch! A little late notice on your article but they say better to late then never! whehehe Have A great evening.

All The Best From Far Away!

Fellow Blogger

user-pic

The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod's. It works well, but isn't as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that's not an issue, but if you're planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod's larger screen and better browser may be important.

user-pic

Howdy pal. This a great site. Thanks for sharing this interesting article with us. Regards!

user-pic

You should wite a blog post about a recommendation of blogs for people who like this. I stumbled upon your blog sometime last week while googling, however I am not really into the blog thing. It's not because I do not fancy blogs, but just because I'm a bit behind to them.

user-pic

iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

user-pic

You could quite possibly uncover one self particularly entertaining as soon as you loosen up!

user-pic

Luxury Designer Discounts Handbags are one of the greatest needs of women since the early days. The possession and use of the luxury bags arousal in women. Women love to wear designer handbags and the most time women spend hours in her shop for the perfect bag high-end look. In addition to various shops and stores, luxury bags of all kinds are easily purchased over the Internet.

user-pic

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. :)

user-pic

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. :)

user-pic

Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

user-pic

This is the best blog I've ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

user-pic

You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I've been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you're an inspiration to me and i'm sure many others!

user-pic

I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I've bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

user-pic

Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

user-pic

Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

user-pic

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. :)

user-pic

Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned :)

user-pic

Maintain up the great work mate. This weblog article shows how well you comprehend and know this subject.

user-pic

keep going

ken

user-pic

cling on to

user-pic

Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

user-pic

Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned :)

user-pic

Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

user-pic

Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned :)

user-pic

Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

user-pic

Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

user-pic

Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it's been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

user-pic

This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work :)

user-pic

I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I've bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

user-pic

I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I'm looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

user-pic

I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I'm very very impressed.

user-pic

Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

user-pic

Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

user-pic

Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

user-pic

Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

user-pic

I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I'm looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

user-pic

Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here :)

user-pic

I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I've bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

user-pic

Great wordpress blog here.. It's hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

user-pic

I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up :)

user-pic

This is the best blog I've ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

user-pic

I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

user-pic

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. :)

user-pic

Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

user-pic

Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it's been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

user-pic

Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It's people like you that make my day :)

user-pic

Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here :)

user-pic

Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel :)

ugg ladies boots

user-pic

I am having just a little issue I cannot seem to be in a position to subscribe your feed, I'm by using google reader by the way.

user-pic

Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

user-pic

I think you should be aware the comment before me may be spam.

user-pic

Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

user-pic

This is a real nice post. While reding, I liked the 1st part so much. Nice job please keep updates. Good luck. http://www.ihavewedding.com

user-pic

High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

user-pic

I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up :)

user-pic

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. :)

user-pic

I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I've bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

user-pic

How d isappointing! With only a few exceptions I sense really let down by what you call the most effective and worst of 2009. With the exception of Melbourne is logo virtually all the remaining I'd be ashamed to set in my portfolio had I designed them. There yet again I did notso I can breathe a sigh of relief.

user-pic

AOL is screams MESS???

user-pic

i like th is weblog as well poor you've so many unrelated comments

user-pic

Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

user-pic

You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I've been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you're an inspiration to me and i'm sure many others!

user-pic

I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up :)

user-pic

Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel :)

user-pic

You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I've been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you're an inspiration to me and i'm sure many others!

user-pic

Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

user-pic

I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I'm looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

user-pic

Just bookmarked this site with my jumptags account .. thanks

user-pic

Searched Yahoo/Bing and ended up here - its good so I posted the link on my Facebook account !