IFC kicked off 2013 with the launch of an epic miniseries parodying epic miniseries, “The Spoils of Babylon.” The numbers were pretty good for the first episode, with nearly 2.3mln total viewers tuning in. The remaining episodes premiere Thurs nights at 10pm, with the finale set for Feb 6.
CableFAX Daily featured an interview IFC pres/gm Jennifer Caserta, in which she talked about the tone Spoils sets for the network, how its moved beyond being the “Independent Film Channel” as well as the significance of time-shifting on the business.
We also peppered her with some questions on taking content from the web and adapting it to linear, as well as creating programming for online consumption.
IFC is very active with web series. What are you seeing there and what are your goals?
What has been a very specific direction of IFC.com over the past 12 months and will continue to ramp up in 2014 is that a.) it’s about the comedy and b.) it’s about what you see on the channel. … What we call ancillary content is important. So you have guest stars taking tours of Portland in a very comedic way. Our “Reggie Makes Music” is an adjunct to what Reggie Watts does on “Comedy Bang! Bang!”. That really takes off in the viral space for us, so that has been very successful. It’s about comedy and reinforces what you see on our network—even the written editorial about some of the premiere movies on our network. It always shines the light on what’s happening on IFC right now. That’s a big and important evolution in the content we produce off of our channel.
What about taking someone with an established web presence and moving them to linear TV? Is that difficult?
We have two shows right now that were essentially borne out of podcasts for lack of a better term. “Comedy Bang! Bang!” was a very successful podcast, led by Scott Aukerman. That was absolute development where we worked with Scott to say what would Comedy Bang! Bang! look like as a television show. It had great elements that we feel in love with. But how do you translate it to television because the podcast alone probably wouldn’t make for the most entertaining television. The way in which Scott adapted it—a little mix of fake talk show, a little mix of “PeeWee’s Playhouse” with some great celebrities and comedians—that makes for a fun variety, scripted sketch television. Scott is a perfect example of someone who knows how to do it and do it well.
Then you have a show like “Maron,” where [comedian Marc Maron] didn’t adapt his podcast to television. We, along with Fox, took a bit of a chance. But Marc is a wonderful actor. The podcast takes a bit of a backseat because that’s him going to work every day. The podcast is used almost as a backdrop to a scripted, narrative series about his life.
What does 2014 look like as a whole for IFC?
After Spoils, we then segue into the familiar but very popular for us “Portlandia,” which is coming back for Season 4. Once we get beyond that, we get into a 2nd season of “Maron,” which is our scripted comedy with comedia Marc Maron, which we’ve increased to 13 episodes from 10. We’re writing currently for our 1st female duo on the network, “Garfunkel & Oates.” It feels very different from what we’ve done in the past. There’s a whole musical element to the show, which we find very interesting.