Friday, April 28, 2006


According to Brooks Barnes of the Wall Street Journal, FOX is teaming up with Toyota to produce the second FOX mobile phone series. (The first was a spin-off of '24' called '24: Conspiracy'.)

This will be a spin-off from 'Prison Break' ('Prison Break: Proof of Innocence') which will be more about a friend of L.J., the son of Lincoln Burrows. (I don't think he'll actually appear.) The main character will be Amber McCall, a friend of his who is trying to find proof of his innocence after he's framed for murder.

Here's what else Brooks Barnes had to say about this new market:

The company has also produced three other mobile series, with about 25 episodes each. Although the market for cellphone drama is still small in the U.S. -- only about 3% of the people with cellphones have versions that can play video clips regularly, according to consulting firm Yankee Group -- it is growing fast, sparking a boom in TV production for the super-small screen.

All of the TV networks are rolling out content -- CBS Corp. is working on a soap opera for mobile phones -- along with some upstarts such as Two Minute Television Inc. So far, most TV content on cellphones has been news footage.

Fox's efforts haven't been without controversy: The executive producer of "24" complained that the mobisodes -- made with nonunion actors and writers to keep costs down -- weakened the franchise when they came out last year. "They were by definition really kind of amateurish because they were nonunion," says Howard Gordon, a "24" executive producer. "That may be why we're not doing year two of them."

[Note from Toby: This is the first acting credit for the actress playing Amber McCall. I get the feeling she's non-union as well.....]

Lucy Hood, president of Fox Mobile Entertainment, says "24: Conspiracy" was a creative success. She notes that it is nominated for a special Emmy Award and has been translated into six languages and distributed in 25 countries.

Ms. Hood says the company has learned a lot since the "24" phone shows. The "Prison Break" mobisodes, which will be available to Sprint customers starting this week, are two minutes long, twice as long as those for "24," allowing for better story and character development. For instance, the main character is a goody-goody ("I have to help! He's my friend!") but intrepid (she cuts through police tape to snoop on a crime scene) and when the going gets tough, she flirts.

"Prison Break: Proof of Innocence" wasn't written by the same people who work on the regular series, and the mobisodes won't feature actors from the show, although the original producers have veto power over anything.

Three or four mobisodes will be released each week beginning this week and will be available free to Sprint customers who have paid for a video package. They will be available on demand to watch anytime. After two weeks, they will be made available on


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