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October 9, 2015

Thirtysomething co-creator explains reasons for leaving TV

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Nov 8th 2007 2:02PM
thirtysomethingMarshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick are responsible for creating some of my favorite TV shows: thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Once and Again. They've influenced my writing and even my desire to write for TV probably more than anyone else in Hollywood. They've been absent from the TV landscape for a couple of years, and I've definitely missed them.

Luckily, Herskovitz and Zwick are back with a brand new series, called quarterlife. The series, however, will not currently be available on ABC or any other network. Herskovitz and Zwick are bringing this new series to life on the web. And in a recent L.A. Times item, Herskovitz explains why they've left traditional television behind.

Herskovitz believes "the business of television has become an exclusive club, closed to new members," which has some producers "turning to the internet to have a voice."

Furthermore, Herskovitz believes that "a confluence of government policy and corporate strategy is literally poisoning the TV business." Herkovitz explains (better than I ever could) how the abolishment of certain FCC rules and relaxation of the Fairness Doctrine has allowed networks executives to exert complete creative control. Herskovitz laments, "This season's new shows have been a good indicator of how successful that strategy is: Even before the current writer's strike, virtually every new show was struggling."

Herskovitz and Zwick created quarterlife for the web, giving up their TV deal (and spending their own money), so that they could maintain complete ownership and control of their show. Herskovitz said, "we've gotten calls from every guild and virtually every producer we know, all of whom are curious to see if this little experiment can succeed. Because if it does, it will prove that there's a way to independently produce, finance and distribute ambitious content on the Internet."

According to Herskovitz, you can produce an hour or content on the internet for as little as $30,000. In contrast, it takes millions of dollars to produce content for TV. This is why many of the people I know (independent filmmakers and struggling TV and film writers) are excited about the prospect of launching our own projects on the web. If it works -- and if someone like Herskovitz and Zwick can prove it works -- then what's to stop the rest of us from following this DIY model of TV production?

The series will premiere on MySpace this Sunday, November 11. It will also be available the next day at quarterlife.com. It's not quite TV, but it may be what TV is becoming. Besides, Herskovitz believes the series may eventually end up on television if it's successful enough on the web. "But only if we still own it and control it creatively," Heskovitz said, "which would make it unique in today's landscape."

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Will there be a recap blog for this show? I hope so!

November 08 2007 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Herskovitz believes "the business of television has become an exclusive club, closed to new members," which has some producers "turning to the internet to have a voice."

In other words, "We can't get a network to buy our shows about whiney people."

How can someone who has had as many shows on the network as he has say he is an outsider?

November 08 2007 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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