A few weeks ago, ON Networks announced that they were launching Smart Girls at the Party, a new digital series actor/comedian Amy Poehler created with friends Meredith Walker, former senior producer for Nickelodeon’s Nick News, head of talent for Saturday Night Live, and Amy Miles, recording artist and performer, host of PBS children’s show LOMAX: Hound of Music. The original release date–sometime in October–has now been pushed forward to mid-November due to the fact that Poehler is about to give birth.
Serendipitous for a show that celebrates young girls, with the aim of helping them find confidence in their aspirations and talents. In each episode, Amy interviews a girl with a unique talent, community interest or point of view. In their interviews, girls offer witty truths and demonstrate ways that girls can make a difference in the world.
MobilizedTV sat down with Meredith Walker and On Networks’ co-founder/chief content officer Jen Grogono to talk about the series.
[All episodes will be available to watch or download exclusively through ON’s AllScreen syndication partners, including iTunes, Adobe Media Player, and a set of targeted Website, digital TV and mobile partners.]
MOBILIZEDTV: How did you and Amy come up with the idea for this series?
MEREDITH: Amy and I are best friends and one of the things we bond about is talking about our younger years. We found with our friends how hard those ages are between 9 and 13, when you’re starting to morph to fit in or not. Those are such important years to feel heard and sometimes that’s not around. We thought, wouldn’t it be great to offer up anything we learned from that and help anyone we could? Wait, that could be a show! We read studies about that age group, and we talked about what helped us the most, which was when older girls cared about what we thought and asked us questions about ourselves. We knew then that’s what we wanted to do: to converse without talking down. to have a real conversations with real girls.
MOBILIZEDTV: What’s the format of the show?
MEREDITH: The show is various lengths between 5 and 10 minutes. It’s like a Charlie Rose show but not as serious. We talk to interesting girls so there’s a level of fun. I’m the producer so I’m off-camera, but occasionally I’m on.
MOBILIZEDTV: How did you “cast” this show?
MEREDITH: Once we put the word out, people came to us. The first season was shot in New York, and we’re producing this in various cities.
MOBILIZEDTV: Jen, what’s the distribution model?
JEN: We intend to put the show across the three-screen network, the AllScreen syndication network on TV, computer and mobile. The reason is quite simply that there is significant audience on new digital platforms, particularly with the younger audiences and even the parents.
MOBILIZEDTV: How did you produce for three very different screens?
JEN: We shoot it all in HD. That’s important. You want to make sure that it looks just as good on a 52-inch plasma as a 3-inch cell phone. We also made sure the pacing and tempo is reflective of the audience’s viewing habits. You want that common denominator: the person who doesn’t have a whole lot of time to sit and watch but will make time for what they’re passionate about. If you have the right pace and tempo and the program is compelling, they’ll be interested in a 2-minute piece up to 30-minutes or longer. We probably will create longer versions of this. Meredith has great ideas for season 2 to experiment with the platform, genre and format.
MOBILIZEDTV: Who are your mobile partners for the series?
JEN: We’re talking to a number of mobile providers now. Apple iPhones obviously, BuzzWire, Verizon, AT&T, and iTunes are our biggest. We have a number of other mobile companies we’re in discussion with, both on deck and off deck.
MEREDITH- I think mobile is very important. It’s so new and I feel that’s where our audience will be watching it. It’s the device they have with them all the time. -They’re always texting. So that’s where they’re going to be. That and the PC of course.
With regard to TV, right now the series is on Apple TV, Tivo, Time Warner (the San Antonio market for VOD), Verizon FiOS, and AT&T U-Verse. We’re still in a number of discussions.
MOBILIZEDTV: What’s the business model? How will you monetize it?
JEN: It is a sponsorship model. We’re talking to select brands, not dissimilar from 1950s TV. We’re holding out for the right sponsor. It’s unlikely you’ll see a diet pill.