Current TV Begins Production on Original Drama Series, ‘Bar Karma’
via press release:
CURRENT TV BEGINS PRODUCTION ON ORIGINAL DRAMA SERIES, “BAR KARMA,”
AT NEWARK’S IRONBOUND FILM STUDIOS
First Production to Shoot at the Only Stay-and-Shoot™ Facility in the
Greater New York MetropolitanArea Starts Today, Monday, January 24th
Executive Produced By Will Wright, Creator of The Sims, and Worldwide Biggies’ Albie Hecht, Community Developed Program Premieres Friday, February 11 at 10:00PM/9:00 PM Central
New York – January 24, 2011 – Current TV announced it will begin production on “Bar Karma,” the world’s first community developed television series, today, Monday, January 24, at the newly-constructed Ironbound Film Studios in Newark, NJ. Filming for the series will run through the end of March 2011. Created by world-renowned video game designer Will Wright (creator of The Sims and SimCity) and Worldwide Biggies’ CEO, Albie Hecht, the 12-episode series creates a new benchmark in television programming by inviting a community of fans to drive the show’s content – from story lines to art direction, soundtrack to brand integrations. “Bar Karma,” which marks Current TV’s entry into live-action scripted original programming, is the first television show to give viewers control of a series before it hits the air. The half-hour program will premiere on Current TV on Friday, February 11 at 10:00 pm/9:00 pm Central.
Current TV’s “Bar Karma” will be the first production to shoot at Ironbound, on a 15,000 square foot soundstage. Ironbound is the only Stay-and- Shoot™ facility in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, and offers fully serviced, managed and furnished living accommodations.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker said, “As Mayor of Newark, I welcome the ‘Bar Karma’ team to Ironbound Studios, a state-of-the-art facility, and congratulate them on choosing Newark as a home for this ground-breaking television series.”
Set at a mystical watering hole at the edge of the universe, “Bar Karma” is a half-hour show which stars William Sanderson (“True Blood,” “Lost,” “Deadwood”) as James, the 20,000 year-old bartender, Matthew Humphreys (“Obsessed,” “Big Love,” “The Forgotten”) as bar owner Doug Jones, and Cassie Howarth (“Deranged High,” “Deathclock”) as the lone waitress, Dayna. The series answers the age-old question: “What would happen if you could change your fate?” Set in a time traveling bar owned and operated by members of the mysterious organization Karma, Inc., each weekly episode follows a new bar patron as they enter at happy hour and must make a life-changing…and possibly world-saving …decision.
“Bar Karma” uses Wright’s innovative, easy-to-use Storymaker application, which users can access by logging on at http://current.com/shows/bar-karma/, as well as through social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter (@barkarma), and a free iPhone App. Each week, the global online community (which has been participating in the creation process since mid-November), is invited to vote on the top storylines chosen by producers. Once a final storyboard is selected by the community at large, the producers will adapt, shoot, produce and edit the winning storyline into a 30-minute episode. Users whose submissions are used will be on the credit roll at the end of the show.
To date, the voting public has selected the storylines for the second and third episodes. Episode two, submitted by user Jason Lee Holm, a Barberton, Ohio Interactive Developer, is about an author who goes into the future to discover the political fall-out from his children’s book is going to cause a global meltdown. Episode three, submitted by Moses Silbiger, an Austin, Texas based consultant who is a former architect and graphic designer, follows the story of Lucy, a famous actress in her 60s who enters the bar in a hospital gown and is forced to examine her relationship with her son.
ABOUT CURRENT TV:
Current TV is an award-winning media company committed to exploring the world’s most important, interesting and entertaining stories. With a fully integrated television and online platform, Current connects its audience with what’s going on in their world through its blend of bold and unique original and acquired productions. Founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, Current is available in the U.S., U.K., Italy and Ireland in 74 million households through distribution partners Comcast (Channel 107 nationwide); Time Warner (nationwide); DirecTV (Channel 358 nationwide); Dish Network (Channel 196 nationwide); Verizon; AT&T; BSkyB (Channel 183); Virgin Media (Channel 155) and Sky Italia (Channel 130). More information is available at www.current.com.
About Will Wright
Will Wright, widely acknowledged for creating the simulation video game genre, unveiled the highly anticipated SporeTM in September 2008. Spore is a “universe in a box” that allows players to create a species and guide it to sentience, help it build a society, develop its culture, and explore an infinite cosmos of worlds created by other players.Fans eagerly embraced the creation tools in Spore and have created over 100Million pieces of user-created content, as of Summer 2009.
Spore has been distinguished with such honors as Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New Award,” Popular Mechanics’s “Breakthrough Award,” PC Magazine’s “Technical Excellence Award,” Time Magazine’s “50 Best Inventions of 2008,” and the Jim Henson Technology Honor.
A true gaming industry legend as a result of his pioneering contributions to videogames, Wright has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors.Rolling Stone named Will Wright “One of the 100 People who are Changing America,” in March 2009, placing him among artists, leaders, scientists, and policymakers who are “fighting every day to show us what is possible.” IN 2008, Will received the first-ever Gamer God Award at the Spike Video Game Awards as a testament to his revolutionary work. In 2007, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts recognized an individual in theVideo Game Industry for the first time when it named Wright a fellow. He also received the Producers Guild of America Vanguard Award that same year.
Wright first rose to prominence when he developed SimCityTM, the acclaimed, nonviolent, open-ended sim game. Wright then followed up the success of SimCity with a string of popular simulation games throughout the 1990s. Titles such as SimEarth: The Living Planet (1990), SimAnt: The Electronic Ant Colony (1991), SimCity 2000 (1993), SimCopter (1996), and SimCity 3000 (1999) introduced simulation games to hundreds of thousands of new fans, demonstrating the genre’s true potential.
Wright’s next groundbreaking game came in the form of The Sims (2000), which has gone on to become the best selling PC game franchise of all time, being available in 22 languages in 60 countries. Wright, who studied architecture in college, originally conceived of the game as an architectural design simulator. To “score” the quality of the design, he added tiny people who would inhabit the buildings. These simulated people quickly stole the spotlight, and Will realized that watching the lives of the Sims unfold was the real entertainment. The Sims franchise has now sold over 100 Million units around the world.
About Albie Hecht
Albie Hecht, noted as one of the most influential and innovative people in entertainment, has created numerous hits, has beennominated for two Academy Awards, guided franchises into household names and introduced groundbreaking entertainment for people of all ages.
As former president of Nickelodeon Entertainment as well as the creator and president of SpikeTV, Albie became a recognized industry leader. While at Nickelodeon, he oversaw the development and production of SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues and also co-created Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards. At SpikeTV his hits included the Joe Schmo Show, MXC andsigning the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise.
In addition to television, Hecht also produced hit films for Paramount including LemonySnicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which received four Academy Award nominations as well as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. He was nominated for an Oscar as the producer of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and he was the executive producer of The Rugrats Movie, which was the first non-Disney animated feature to cross the hundred million dollar mark. Through his non-profit Shine Global, Hecht produced the feature documentary War Dance, which was nominated for an Academy Award and won two Emmys. He is currently in development on the feature film called Swift with Sony Pictures.
In late 2005, Hecht launched Worldwide Biggies Inc., a new digital entertainment studio that produces and creates interactive IP for the digital family and designed for additional distribution across all platforms including film, TV and licensing. This year, Biggies announced a development deal with Syfy for Worldwide Biggies’ first-of-its-kind transmedia property entitled Dr. What, a multi-project first-look deal with EPIX, and is introduced its latest character franchise, Bigby, as an iPhone game.