Clearly, YouTube's powers are coming awfully close to that of the Almighty - at least when it comes to TV.
Per today's Variety, "NBC is resurrecting 'Nobody's Watching,' the quirky 2005 WB comedy pilot that recently found new life on YouTube.com. Peacock entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly is expected to announce today that he has ordered six scripts of the project following a meeting with "Watching" creators Bill Lawrence, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan."
This would appear to be nothing short of amazing. Or is it?
After all, shows do occasionally come back from the dead: Most notably, "Family Guy," which did so well on home video that Fox decided it had been premature in yanking the plug on the animated show.
Even if it's not a first, the deal does call into question what, exactly, is YouTube's next play: Will it remain a destination for user-created content? Or a place for failed shows to get a new lease on life?
The former, for sure. The latter, maybe not so much.
As Variety reported earlier this month, 20th Century Fox TV prexy Gary Newman doesn't see much of a future for traditionally produced TV shows living on YouTube:
"Newman warns that music clearance and other issues may make even an Internet run unlikely (unless, a disgruntled cast or crew member with access to the episodes uploads them). 'If those costs are substantial, it makes no economic sense at all,' Newman says. Any afterlife is still small consolation: It's not going to make up for the cash the network and studio were forced to eat by keeping the show hidden from view. 'It takes a really small amount of sting out,' Newman says. 'It's not going to offset your deficit.'"
Rather than new media replacing old media, its acting more and more like a halfway house for misunderstood, ailing shows to be nursed back to health. And, of course, a billboard to hype new network TV shows.
Which begs the question again: If YouTube isn't the killer app, but the helper-app, how does YouTube plan to make money again?
Already on it's second round of VC financing, YouTube CEO Chad Hurley is under pressure to answer precisely that question.