Yahoo, take notes.
MySpace has quietly licensed a new series of original programming called QuarterLife from Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, the Hollywood duo behind such films as "Blood Diamond," according to a source familiar with the deal. The social network, which recently launched MySpace TV for original Web video from The New York Times and others, is expected to broadcast the series online by early next year, according to the source who asked to remain anonymous.
The deal could still fall through and has yet to be confirmed by either party. But if it happens, it would mark the entrance of a major Hollywood production team to Web programming. The show could also entice more Hollywood talent to create original entertainment for the Web.
The deal also makes it painfully obvious that rival Yahoo has so far missed the boat on original video, while a rising social network and Google's YouTube take over its once-staked out arena. It's especially harsh considering that Yahoo made a big push into Hollywood in 2004 when it hired Lloyd Braun, the ABC executive who gave the green light to "Lost." He was then let go just two years later with very little to show for the effort.
Already, MySpace has broadcast a short-form video series called Prom Queen from Michael Eisner's newly formed production house Vuguru. (MySpace said the series was popular.) And it plans to debut a political reality series called Independent in partnership with Mark Burnett as early as next January.
Other independent projects like Will Ferrell's Funnyordie.com, which has received investments from Sequoia Capital, also illustrate the rising demand for quality short-form video on the Net and the willingness of Hollywood to take new risks online.
QuarterLife, which is currently in postproduction, according to the movie site Internet Movie Database, revolves around "magazine editor and writer Dylan Krieger (who) sends her friends into fits when they discover that she keeps a rather insightful video blog about them on a Web site called 'quarterlife.'"
The Web site quarterlife.com is currently password protected.
According to a source, Zwick and Herskovitz, who were also behind the hit TV shows "thirtysomething" and "My So-Called Life," are expected to split QuarterLife into short segments for viewing on the Web. MySpace has reportedly bought each episode for about $400,000.
A MySpace representative declined to comment, but said that the company has some major announcements for original content in the offing.
A call to Zwick at his studio, Bedford Falls Productions in Santa Monica, Calif., was not immediately returned.