MindShare Entertainment's "In the Motherhood" has already completed two successful seasons as a webisode for MSN and a branded-entertainment project for MindShare clients Suave and Sprint. Now the mini-sitcom is being developed as a possible mid-season replacement for ABC's 2008-09 TV schedule, as announced by ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson at the network's upfront presentation earlier this week.
"Motherhood" was a decent-size hit online in its first season, racking up 5.5 million video views and becoming the fifth most trafficked parenting site during its first two months live, according to MindShare. The second season nearly doubled the first season's traffic, garnering 10 million video views in its first few weeks of release. The show stars Leah Remini ("King of Queens"), Chelsea Handler ("Chelsea Lately") and Jenny McCarthy, and was directed by sitcom vets such as Gail Mancuso ("30 Rock") and Peter Lauer ("Malcolm in the Middle").
Kevin Townsend, the show's producer and CEO of branded-entertainment production company Science and Fiction, said the ABC-"Motherhood" deal is "representative of how important the internet has become as a programming venue and how the networks see that as we're going to take great content no matter where you find it."
Making the jump from YouTube to the boob tube hasn't always paid off for the broadcast networks. NBC brought repurposed episodes of MySpace web series "Quarterlife" to the air in February to the lowest ratings its time slot had seen in nearly 20 years. Thusly, NBC pulled it off the air after one episode. Mr. Townsend could not confirm whether ABC's plans were to expand "Motherhood" into new episodes or to re-edit the show's two seasons into full-length episodes. -- Andrew Hampp
The idea to bring the massively successful campaign (which hit a bit of a PR snag last week) to the theater was hatched by the ad agency for Unilever's Dove brand, Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto.
Ogilvy and Dove tapped prominent Canadian playwright and director Judith Thompson to lead the charge, and keeping with the premise of the campaign, particularly its more recent "pro-age" philosophy -- that beauty has no age limit -- Ms. Thompson's mandate was to cast real women of all ages rather than professional actors or models.
Ms. Thompson described the play as a "tapestry" of the lives of 13 women from different backgrounds; cast members range in age from 45 to 78, representing women who are of Canadian, Ukrainian, African, Caribbean and Asian descents. "It combats the idea that women are divided somehow" and celebrates common threads instead, Ms. Thompson said.
The show is currently running at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; $25 performances feature a post-show question-and-answer session with Ms. Thompson and the cast. Targeted media buys by PHD, Toronto, were made to drive consumers to the play and its website.
"The response to Body & Soul has been overwhelming, the sold out audiences have raved about the experience," said Alison Leung, marketing manager of Dove Canada. "To ensure that our pro-age message reaches as broad an audience as possible, we are currently working with Canadian broadcaster CBC and filmmakers Veronica Tennant and Anita Doron on a documentary about the play and the process that led up to it." -- Rupal Parekh