'Resistance' Web series from Starz Media tests TV waters

By Georg Szalai
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 18, 2010

NEW YORK -- Starz Media is ready to test the waters for sci-fi action thriller "The Resistance" and will do so by taking advantage of the digital age.

The project, originally envisioned as a Web series, could blossom into a TV series or even a movie, depending on the reaction to a pilot of sorts that will be distributed through digital platforms and a one-night TV outing. It's an example for how the entertainment industry is experimenting with new models for the creation and testing of content.

To gauge "Resistance's" potential, Starz on Oct. 4 will take over the 11 p.m. hour of Syfy's two-hour anime block, which is programmed by its Japanese animation arm, Manga Entertainment.

The "Resistance" story runs about 35 minutes as the producers have placed all webisodes back-to-back for the TV version; added behind-the-scenes material makes for 44 minutes of content.

For digital distribution, the TV version will be split into two pieces for iTunes, Xbox, PlayStation Network, Amazon and other platforms. Hulu will get the advertising-supported Web run. The ad-supported four- to five-minute webisodes with animated intros will be available within a few weeks of the TV airing on YouTube, DailyMotion and MetaCafe.

"Resistance" is set in a world where brilliant chemist Syrus Primoris has taken control in the wake of a devastating virus that has killed 99 percent of the population. Only Primoris's suppressant keeps the survivors from succumbing to the plague. One group opposes his regime and fights to find another cure.

If audience reaction -- including buzz on social networks and the blogosphere -- seems promising, the partners will consider turning "Resistance" into more than a one-off.

"We wanted to see if we can launch something in a truly multiplatform, experimental way via TV and digital," said Marc DeBevoise, an executive with Starz Media and Starz Digital Media. "We would like to see it blossom so we can do more with it."

"Resistance" came to Starz via "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, Starz's production partner on "Spartacus: Blood and Sand."

-- Hollywood Reporter

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