Lisa Kudrow to topline Web series
By Andrew Wallenstein
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lexus is making an ambitious foray into online entertainment with former "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow in the driver's seat.
The carmaker is launching an Internet-only branded channel Tuesday (September 23) stocked with a full slate of original programing headlined by Kudrow in a shortform comedy series in which she plays a nutty shrink.
The choice of the Emmy-winning Kudrow for the lead role in "Web Therapy" should bring attention to what Lexus is calling L Studio, available at LStudio.com.
But the creation of a marketer-branded broadband channel also is bound to get attention given its only precedent: Bud.TV, a similar venture Budweiser kicked off after the Super Bowl in 2006 only to watch it fail after a reported $30 million investment.
"We learned from some of the mistakes that they made in the beginning," said Sandy Blanchard, owner experience manager at Lexus' marketing division, who oversees L Studio.
Blanchard would not divulge the budget for L Studio but made clear that it is not in the ballpark of $30 million. "We were pleasantly surprised as to what we were able to accomplish with what the budget was and the fact that we have people of the caliber of Lisa Kudrow," she said.
In "Therapy," Kudrow plays Fiona Wallice, a psychotherapist who conducts absurdly abridged three-minute sessions via the Internet that do little to help her clients. In 15 episodes she juggles five clients, played by Bob Balaban, Jane Lynch, Rashida Jones, Tim Bagley and Dan Bucatinsky.
"This is the kind of idea that's just meant for the Web," said Kudrow, who wrote and produced "Therapy" with Bucatinsky, her partner at Is or Isn't Prods. Don Roos, who directed Kudrow in films including "The Opposite of Sex," directed all episodes of "Therapy." Continued...