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This site was an early and frequent champion of Yacht Rock, the brilliant Web series, and the online “TV network” that birthed it, Channel 101. After Yacht Rock was cancelled, falling victim to Channel 101’s mercilessly democratic voting process, the program’s creator, JD Ryznar, intimated that he’d make at least two more episodes of Yacht Rock and simply post them on YouTube or his own MySpace page. That, alas, never happened, but for good reason: Viacom, forever sniffing around for new ideas and cheap comedy labor to exploit, decided to co-opt the whole Channel 101 concept, sweeping up Ryznar and 101 creator Dan Harmon in the process. Their new program, Acceptable TV, premieres on VH1 on Friday, March 23. (The other main architect of Channel 101, Rob Schrab, has also found undercompensated employment at Viacom, as the producer-director of Comedy Central’s Sarah Silverman Program.)

Already, Acceptable TV’s Web site has gone live with some very funny explanatory videos, such as this one (featuring the grab above), in which Harmon’s pal Jack Black serves as narrator. Acceptable TV will operate on the same premise as Channel 101: regular-guy would-be filmmakers create short pilot episodes (albeit at a mere three minutes to Channel 101’s five minutes); a panel chooses which pilots to air; and these pilots’ viewers are given the opportunity to vote on which shows should return for another episode.

Yes, it’s an “interactive” program, and it’s likely that Acceptable TV will take some potshots from fuddy-duddy reviewers, who will condescend to it as a pathetic corporate sop to the “You” phenomenon.

But give this show a chance. Channel 101 and its New York counterpart, Channel 102, have showcased some wonderful young talent, giving inspired youngsters like Ryznar an outlet denied them by cruel establishment Hollywood. (Before Channel 101, Ryznar was a struggling schlump who toiled as the hapless assistant to a former Vanity Fair event planner! Oh, the indignity…) There’s no reason why this formula shouldn’t succeed on a larger scale via VH1.

On top of all this, the Acceptable TV brain trust has put together some zippy sample pilots for your viewing pleasure. You must check out Ryznar’s reality-TV sendup My Black Friend (pictured below) and the Ryznar-Harmon team’s Prison Prison Break.


March 11, 2007 More Declamations »

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