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October 6, 2015

YouTube, Who Loves Ya Baby?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 29th 2010 7:04PM
YouTube on TVThe granddaddy of viral video and the leading cause of productivity decline recently turned five years old. If you're don't know what I'm referring to, please steal a computer or better yet, develop some better comprehension skills. Your local community college is a good place to start on both.

YouTube has become a cultural staple, not just for the Internet but in almost every facet of the global consumer media. It's not only been copied, but it's also been utilized, rehashed, twisted and berated by every other media conglomerate in more ways than the left over parts of an IKEA furniture kit.

TV, of course, is no exception. Here is just a brief glimpse at the people and properties of Television City who loved and loathed YouTube, often in the same breath.

Loves Ya: Makers of Rejected Pilots
Before the Internet, pilots that didn't have a sliver of opportunity for getting picked up either got thrown in some bottomless studio vault or taped over for one of Rob Lowe's sex tapes. Thanks to YouTube, they not only found new life but also a new audience and a sliver of hope that was about a millimeter wider. The pilot for the rejected WB sitcom 'Nobody's Watching' hit the web and created a viral sensation almost overnight that got it closer to achieving a TV deal than it ever could without YouTube.

Hates Ya: Makers of Rejected Pilots that Stayed that Way

It also started a new trend of using YouTube's simplicity and easy marketability to breathe new life into similar pilots. Unfortunately, none of them worked out as well. I'm talking about unaired shows like Christopher Titus' cable cop comedy 'Special Unit,' directed by Bryan Cranston, and the Zac Efron sitcom 'If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now.' None of them saw anything equal to 'Nobody's Watching's' potential to becoming an honest-to-goodness TV show, which is like comparing the awesome power of Godzilla to a Gila monster with asthma.

Loves Ya: Video Pirates
Remember that show that no one watched way back in 19-blabbity-blah that you can't find on DVD, VHS, Betamax or a poorly-looped Super 8 tape? Chances are YouTube has it until the out-of-work producer who created it finds out and threatens to file a cease and desist order to prevent anyone from remembering why he or she is out of work. Thanks to YouTube and the overstuffed closets of TV tapehounds everywhere, anyone can relive those fuzzy memories and enjoy just about any show from the good to the awesomely bad like 'My Mother, the Car,' 'Homeboys in Outer Space' and (of course) 'Cop Rock.'

Hates Ya: The Networks
Some of those beloved shows, however, started appearing on YouTube while the show was still running. Unauthorized clips and even whole episodes appeared on the service and started giving network heads another reason to go all Larry Sanders on a bottle of Excedrin. At one point, shows like 'The Colbert Report' and 'The Daily Show' became virtually free thanks to YouTube prompting Viacom to file a multi-kajillion dollar lawsuit against Google for infringing on their copyrights. The battle is still going on to this day.

Loves Ya: TV Bloggers
Let's be honest. If it weren't for YouTube's awesome embed powers and ability to "demonstrate" instead of "tell ya straight" with web videos and clips, we wouldn't just be out of a job. We would be forced to do actual (shiver) work. Maybe that's a little cynical, but YouTube has allowed blogs like us to share everything from obscure but classic TV moments to hilarious game show failure moments with our readers, and even our own original material from interviews to daily rants about how 'Lost' creates more migraines than memories. Having the ability to exchange ideas and entertainment with such rapid regularity not only makes our job easier. It makes it a lot more fun.

That being said, just wait until my ugly mug makes it on to YouTube and I'll revisit this argument.

[Follow @thisisdannyg on Twitter.]

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