‘Awesome’ Video Deal

Oct 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Comedy Central is helping amateur filmmaker Wade Randolph move to a bigger stage.

Mr. Randolph’s “Awesome Friends,” an animated series that follows a dog and a canine-looking cat that live together, won the top spot in a Comedy Central contest seeking the best user-generated content on the Internet. The cable channel awarded Mr. Randolph a six-episode production deal that will put his creation on Comedy Central’s MotherLoad broadband channel.

“Awesome Friends” will debut online sometime next year, said Lou Wallach, senior VP of original programming and development for Comedy Central.

“If it wasn’t funny and didn’t live in our sweet spot, it wouldn’t be up there,” Mr. Wallach said. The pilot beat out nearly 2,500 other submissions.

Mr. Randolph’s deal underscores how the viral video craze has created both a launching pad for creators and new options for networks that want to market-test fresh talent before investing in a development deal for television.

Earlier this summer Comedy Central agreed to produce another broadband series, “Balloon Heads,” based on an e-mail pitch to Mr. Wallach. “[The Internet] gives you that many more choices and you can discover and more easily groom these people with young, raw talent,” he said.

During the three-month contest, which was sponsored by Amp’d Mobile, Comedy Central chose three “staff picks” each week for four weeks and allowed MotherLoad users to rate the submissions. The contestants with the most votes went on to the finalist round. Network executives then chose the grand prize winner.

VIDEO: Watch the winning entry in Comedy Central’s user-generated video contest

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