November 15, 2006
Nobody's Watching Continues Its Survival Online While in Limbo

Do you really need a TV network after all? It was back in July when we first wrote about Nobody's Watching, the TV series that didn't make it past a pilot. The series was to be a faux reality show about two guys making a sitcom, joke being, of course, that the reality show about making a sitcom is, in reality, a sitcom itself. But the pilot was leaked on YouTube, and it suddenly became a phenomenon.

Eventually, NBC showed interest in the show once again but has taken a more cautious approach, as the show has only been doing short pieces on the Web at this point.

Back in July, I wrote:

If the masses are willing to participate as a test audience, why not launch a legion of pilots on YouTube or allow people to BitTorrent them? Not only do you end up with shows developing strong grassroots potential before they ever hit the air, but you get a wider response to the show in a situation where viral marketing and word-of-mouth give the feedback as to which shows will generate the most popularity based on number of downloads.

Of course, the only shows that would be hurt with a system like this one are shows that are low in viewer interest, that are not appealing...but those are the shows that would hit the air and get cancelled soon, anyway. And, for more complicated concepts like the one in Nobody's Watching, releasing the show on YouTube ahead of time allows fans to become educated on the concept and prepared for the premise before the show is ever broadcast.

It only took a couple of weeks for widespread interest to develop in the show once again across the industry. I wrote later in July that, "if NBC accepts Nobody's Watching, and if the show manages to be a long-term success, it may help to forever alter the way television shows move from development to the network schedule and help make the process a little more fan-friendly...if they can just quit thinking about piracy long enough to realize the benefits."

By only easing their feet into it, it is obvious that NBC doesn't have complete confidence in the idea (but the network doesn't seem to have confidence in a lot of things these days, as evidenced by their cutbacks and reliance on cheaper programming). However, their site is pretty dynamic, featuring a variety of entertaining short pieces and documenting the various television appearances that the main two characters from the show have been making.

The two characters made an appearance on Days of Our Lives and have been "crashing" other shows as well, although their appearances are not exactly outward promotions. The idea is to make the characters seem more authentic as fringe creators of a television series, thus authenticating the "reality show." They document all their cameo appearances and "crashes" of other shows here.

And, as any good character that bridges the gap between fantasy and reality should, Derrick and Will have their own MySpace page as well.

Oh, but don't go to expecting to see the show, as that URL is the home of a sports talk show host named Dave Foster. Of course, unless you want Dave. After all, this is "Dave TV at its best."