As Nalts writes today, there aren't too many YouTube stars who have crossed over from the Internet to television with much success. Whether audiences aren't ready to embrace web stars on the TV or the web content doesn't easily translate to the traditional TV format, we're still waiting for a shining success story to help legitimize online video creators as great talent.
Enter Rhett & Link. The duo has scored hit after hit on YouTube with their special mix of humor and charm, and now they're taking their act to the small screen... sort of. One of the things that's so impressive about Rhett & Link's new show is that it isn't a carbon copy of their YouTube format. In fact, it's almost an entirely new concept.
The pair's videos have traditionally been humor-based sketches like a rap battle, a t-shirt war, or a fun twist on voice-recognition software. And somewhere along the way, they made a short and silly local commercial for a small business. Here is that video:
When that video went viral, the duo began to think they were onto something. Flash forward to today, and their new show is now on IFC. Called Commercial Kings, it's a half-hour reality/documentary series of Rhett & Link going around the country making intentionally bad local commercials for businesses that typically wouldn't be able to afford to produce a video ad.
The first episode is now on Hulu, and you can see it right now if you like:
It looks pretty great, and I don't just say that because I'm a big online video fan. I definitely want to see these guys succeed on TV, and have enjoyed their work up to this point, but for me... the show stands on its own merit. I'm already a big fan of this kind of reality programming, so maybe I'm in the target audience anyway. But I found it funny. And the strangeness and uniqueness of the local businesses they're going to be helping helps keep your attention throughout.
It's too soon to tell if Commercial Kings will be a success, but I'm optimistic. This is a format that should entertain audiences while also letting Rhett and Link showcase their personalities and their natural chemistry.
Even if you don't like Rhett and Link or care about local commercials, you should be wishing them the best. Online video stars and creators are going to cross over into the mainstream entertainment world sooner or later--that's inevitable. It may be today, and it may take years. The sooner it can happen, the sooner online video grabs its deserved spot at the big boy's table with film and television.