The Chernin Group’s Billy Parks Imagines Reality TV, Without TV
This past summer media and entertainment company The Chernin Group (founded by former News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin) released a digital reality series that took the notion of digital media and ran with it.
Mr. Parks: The first thing I did was call all my favorite smartest people across all different content creation [areas] like Teddy Lynn at BBDO [now chief creative officer at IPG Mediabrands Publishing]. This one came from a kernel of an idea Teddy Lynn gave me. He said, why don’t you try telling stories using a multiperspective narrative. We started think-tanking what it would look like if each character tells their own story from different perspectives. After we started kicking around that idea, we talked with different reality producers and thought what if we use a real group of kids and did a docudrama or docusoap like [MTV shows] “The Hills” or “Laguna Beach.” How can we moderate each kid, how can we film them and how can we do it in real time? We kept building on these ideas until “Summer Break” became what it became.
Ad Age: Initially “Summer Break” was going to be short 1-minute episodes a day and then three- to five-minute episodes at the end of the week. That changed after the show started airing. Why?