Video killed the weblogging star.
May 2, 2000 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Video killed the weblogging star. Turns out ABC is casting for a tv show about the fast-moving world of online zines. But don't they know that webzines are oh-so September 1996, and weblogs are where it's at these days? Doesn't somebody around here think it's time to migrate the weblog genre over to television? Any of you crazy New York based webloggers thinking about making the move over to a different medium?
posted by monstro (30 comments total)
New York webloggers? What about the ones in the true show business capitol? (No, not Branson, MO) Hollywood! Crazy Uncle Joe, Ouch! Tracy and any other SoCal Bloggers, have your people call my people and we'll take a meeting and pitch to the same Paramount people who greenlighted the Dr. Laura Show... They'll eat anything!
posted by wendell at 10:30 AM on May 2, 2000

If he would have had a web, don't you think Doogie Houser, MD's end-of-show journal "logs" would have qualified?
posted by fpatrick at 10:54 AM on May 2, 2000

I think y'all have way too much time on your hands.

And I think all the people on the webzine show (which will undoubtedly last 6 episodes, if that) will be much more attractive than anyone who actually works on the Web.
posted by solistrato at 11:01 AM on May 2, 2000

FWIW, there already exist a few TV shows that are essentially weblogs. Of course you're referring to personal blogs with attitude and such, but I'm impressed (and maybe a tad disgusted) enough with the phenomenon that I'm going to mention it anyway.

Wild Wild Web (whose crappy site I won't bother to link) gets syndicated around here. They read URLs (sticking to domain-name-only URLs, mostly), give a tour of the site, and often go as far as to set up interviews with the creators and such. It's a complete waste of time, for sure, and they're usually very behind the times. I wonder if they're just feeding some kind of newswire.

Certainly a local news station here in Seattle does a URL every night. Their "tech reporter" features an exciting new web site, like Very unknowledgeable, to boot.

Uh, yeah.

posted by dan_of_brainlog at 11:02 AM on May 2, 2000 [1 favorite]

Talk Soup is a talkshowlog, sportscenter is a sportslog, ummm what else?
posted by chaz at 11:03 AM on May 2, 2000

There's a production company in London touting friends of mine to do a "docusoap" on wired life in the city: following people who are connected by emails and mobiles, the whole dot-com shabang. It has the potential to be truly awful, and yet strangely compelling.

My guess is that the ABC people are riding the McSweeney's wave, and thinking that there's television to be made of a combination of the online zine and the frenetic stuff that Eggers talks about when describing Might magazine in his memoir. Ugh.
posted by holgate at 11:21 AM on May 2, 2000

Hey, if it weren't over, it wouldn't be on TV.
posted by harmful at 11:30 AM on May 2, 2000

Hol: "Timecode meets Hackers as produced by Aaron Spelling"?
Dan: We don't want a show that *is* a weblog (although with broadband should come the potential for more self.publishing style public broadcast, no?), we want a show *about* webloggers. See above.
Sol: I'm dead sexy.
W4: We could actually just repackage! Dr. Laura could play herself in an edgy new comedy where she dispenses daily doses of DrLauraisms from her own personal site (extra self referentiality points: she's doing this because her tv show got dumped, and she needs to spew her bile), while a geographically, ethnically, and sexual orientationally diverse group of weblogging friends troll, slam, and ridicule her on their own sites. At the end of each episode, she laments her continued low hit stats to a picture of Anita Bryant. Quick, call Fox.
Lane: As long as SMUG is out there, webzines will always be the new webzine.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:17 PM on May 2, 2000

Well, I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends for this post...

But I really think weblogs are a passing fad on the web. Simply journals, diarys and rants evolved into a daily "reader's digest" form.

I find them addictive because I keep going back to see if some of them may actually say something INTERESTING one day. It seems many are restained for fear of "what will so-and-so think if they read it?".

I am also not saying that all weblogs suck, either... just most of them.

And how is this service a "blog"? it strikes me more as a message board.

Hey, they're just my opinions..... let the flaming begin.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 12:28 PM on May 2, 2000

Mr. Zeldman's classic is sort of a reverse on this threads theme. Maybe "If great weblogs had been sitcoms" the sitcom would sell?

Then again, maybe not.
posted by Jeremy at 12:38 PM on May 2, 2000

Wendell said: "the true show business capitol? (No, not Branson, MO)".

How dare you disparage Branson! I live in a suburb of Branson (Springfield, which curiously has been around longer and has 30 times the population) thirty miles from that glorious town, so I know a little about it. There is no place in the world with more class, more truly "show business" than Branson.

Why, as if proof were needed, just this summer, Branson's own Andy Williams Moon River Theatre will be featuring "Broadway on Ice", a series of great broadway shows interpreted by stars of figure skating including Nancy Kerrigan and that little girl that won the Olympics last time.

Between that and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede dinner theatre, how can you deny Branson's amazing show business power?

[Please don't judge me by how close I live to this place!]
posted by daveadams at 1:00 PM on May 2, 2000

Not very long ago, I basically discovered what a weblog was (though I don't remember how). Matbe it was 3 months ago? Anyway, Metafilter became an everyday read, for me, and after a little bit, I started noticing all of the other blogs that were mentioned throughout. Of course, the next big step, then, was to go to Blogger and see that there are about 1000 other blogs in there. All of a sudden, I saw the trend in it's full light.
Here you have a handful of successful blogs and everybody and their dog decides to make one, as well. And that's cool. People can do as they wish, you know? But what I think stinks of decomposing innards, are the personal journals that have been out there for awhile that NOW call themselves blogs, just to be able to jump on the bandwagon. It really amazes me. I got tired of the personal journal quite some time ago (I kept one myself - killed it when the same type of trend hit) and I see blogging as being no different. While I agree that there are quality blogs out there, they're saturating the web. It's a good idea that's being run into the ground and I think blogs will be passe by next year.
But, then again, I don't like all the commercialism on the web and I cry about that, AND, I've got a bad attitude anyway, so don't mind me.
posted by lizardboy at 1:01 PM on May 2, 2000

wait, webzines are dead? no one told me...
posted by msippey at 1:08 PM on May 2, 2000

Hey, DogStuffer, can you get me tickets to the Yakov Smirnoff Theater?
posted by wendell at 1:14 PM on May 2, 2000

You mean "Yakov's American Pavilion"? Sure I can, although I won't be held responsible for any damage it causes to your mental well-being.

Funny that you brought Yakov up... I work for the big state university here in Springfield, and one of my friends took a ballroom dancing class that Yakov was also a student in. She said he was a very poor dancer.
posted by daveadams at 1:28 PM on May 2, 2000

Just for historical note, the notion of a home page was initially a list of places where you tend to go. It was a virtual roundhouse. Then there came things like Cool Site of the Day which served as a pre-filtered, pre-edited blog in a way. Blogging, to me, is just an instance of What's-Old-Is-New-Again. It's my old home page the way it was years ago except now there I don't have to write HTML and I can count on a interesting group of smartasses to have fun with/make fun of/share the things that are collectively found. Besides, if it became a TV series, who would play me? Certainly not Garry Shandling.
posted by plinth at 1:51 PM on May 2, 2000

what michael sippey said.

nothing is dead. nothing is hot. the only really interesting question is how to make the zillions of new web users aware that there is life on the web beyond ebay, amazon, and yahoo.

for that matter, we might try enlightening contests and contest judges to the fact that there is a non-commercial web - fueled by love, talent, and character - that is alive and well in spite of their obliviousness.

'cause if the contests got hip, it might help today's 5 million first-time internet users get a clue.

just a thought.

p.s. my dad wants you to stop calling me "mr." zeldman. he is "mr." zeldman.
posted by Zeldman at 2:19 PM on May 2, 2000 [1 favorite]

Dude, your dad must be OLD
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:25 PM on May 2, 2000

joe, you are always so good at prying the fundamental kernel of wisdom from a post, and responding on a deep, intellectual level.

pull my finger.
posted by Zeldman at 2:33 PM on May 2, 2000

okay, so who wants to be on the team for putting me on this show?

i have the glasses.
i have the dark curly hair.
i have the snarkiness.
and i am still east coast-adjacent!
and i am also only half-kidding, here.
posted by maura at 3:15 PM on May 2, 2000

maura, you should audition for it, more as a sociological experiment than anything else. At the very least, it'd be lots of great writing material

(sorry, I'm reading the eggers book right now, and just finished the part where he interviews to be on the Real World)
posted by mathowie at 3:28 PM on May 2, 2000

Maura for The Real Dot World!
I say go for it! I know it'll be tough putting together a whole 200 word essay, but you can do it, girl! Wendell & I will go down to the Production Offices for you if you need a little muscle to back the submission.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 3:37 PM on May 2, 2000

So Mr. Zeldman doesn't take out an email account with a swiftly implemented mail bomb, i'll say this: i agree with Zeldman's post. not mr. Zeldman, just Zeldman. Like Sting. But I digress.

I've personally felt that the bulk of media out there is recycled cliches. Not that I'm any better - a lot of my stuff is cliche - but I don't live in denial. In fact, I am a cliche. Damn skippy.

I think blogs, or maybe more so things like {the fray} or San Fransisco Stories (dmp's stuff) would make phenomenal TV series/Movies. Of course, I think that a network would destroy these. We're talking HBO original programming <> or something along those lines.

Anybody want to start an online TV station? or maybe we should just start making shorts and spam hmm... back to attempting to figure out the wonderous joys of a car engine...
posted by eljuanbobo at 5:26 PM on May 2, 2000

Glad to know those guys at Bunim/Murray don't take themselves too seriously.

"This new program is more than a television show. It represents a new brand of programming for the digital age."

Ugh, didn't Making the Band get canceled? Those guys used up less of their fifteen minutes than I did, and no knows who I am.

posted by birgitte at 5:29 PM on May 2, 2000

Ah, I think I'd prefer it if everybody just got a publisher and wrote a book. It's more gripping. It'd transition better.
posted by monstro at 8:20 PM on May 2, 2000

I like to imagine this is an evolution of communication. That we have just entered the next level and are about to turn the first corner and get a glimpse of what's ahead.

We move from speaking in small communities to larger ones until we can all finally speak to each other on the same level.

And when you finally got the whole world's attention, you know it's time for a fart joke.
posted by john at 10:59 PM on May 2, 2000

>about to turn the first corner and get
>a glimpse of what's ahead.

Hopefully some hotdog stands and strip joints.
posted by EngineBeak at 11:11 PM on May 2, 2000

I agree with lizardboy and now try to be a discerning web browser......just metafilter and a handful of others are my staple web diet. If someone wants to have a diary - good on 'em.......I just won't visit - isn't that the beauty of this medium? (Like turning off the tv)
I support everyone a long as I can choose who gets into my screen.
posted by peacay at 7:08 AM on May 3, 2000

Hey, Damien and I are in New York. Maybe we could get them to cast us as twin bloggers. Er, sorry...

No really, Zeldmans' right. My mom knows I work on the web but she doesn't know what that means. If I tried to explain to ehr what a weblog is, she'd look at me like I'm from another planet. Oh wait, she already looks at me like that when i talk about computers.

Besides, I don't think you all would want to see my ugly mug on TV. I mean, I did turn down Oprah once. Her producers practically begged me to do the show, but I shot them down. [The show sucked, BTW.]
posted by camworld at 4:27 PM on May 3, 2000

What's that? What was Oprah doing a show on?
posted by chaz at 9:14 PM on May 3, 2000

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