"Prison Break" Heads to Cells
By Natalie Finn
Calling all cars, calling all cars -- Prison Break is making a run for
your cell phones.
Fox announced Monday that it will produce a series of two-minute
mobisodes -- teeny TV episodes for mobile phones -- that complement
the plot of the hit save-my-brother-or-bust drama Prison Break.
The 26-installment serial, Prison Break: Proof of Innocence,
introduces the character Amber McCall, who works feverishly to clear
her friend L.J. -- son of the wrongly convicted Lincoln Burrows
(Dominic Pursell) -- after L.J. is framed for murder. Webisode
producers were allowed complete access to the show's location, filming
many of the exterior shots at the deserted Illinois prison that stands
in for Prison Break's Fox River State Penitentiary.
Proof of Innocence will be available for free exclusively to Sprint
customers for viewing on SprintTV's Fox station starting this week. In
two weeks they will be available on http://Toyota.com.
While this is not the first time Fox has answered the mobile phone
call, having already given action fans their weekly dose of pocketsize
drama with the first-ever scripted mobisode series, 24: Conspiracy,
the upcoming Prison Break spinoff is the first of its kind to be
supported by advertising.
Toyota will air 10-second messages at the beginning of each mobisode
and each segment will prominently feature Toyota vehicles, according
to a joint statement made by the car manufacturer and Fox. The deal
also hands Toyota the reins to create a Prison Break "microsite" on
Fox's Website featuring behind-the-scenes video and Prison Break info
and, of course, an extensive Toyota ad campaign.
Although the financial specifics involved in the partnership weren't
made public, media analysts are estimating the deal is worth around
$10 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"We're pleased by the overwhelming success of our mobisodes as a new
way to engage and entertain consumers," said Mitch Feinman, VP of
digital content for Fox Mobile Entertainment.
"This is a prime example of how Fox can come together in a rich, cross
platform campaign and reach the most desirable demographics in unique
and custom ways," said John Trimble, senior VP of advertising sales
for Fox Interactive Media.
24: Conspiracy's producer, Eric Young, will also oversee the new series.
Complaints that the Conspiracy mobisodes were too short and that their
lesser production values negatively affected 24's overall image --
although it was nominated for a special Emmy for portable programming
-- led Fox to tweak the procedure for Prison Break. They doubled the
installments' length, from one minute to two, and the TV show's
producers have the final say over any plot twist in Proof of Innocence
to avoid irritating any of the show's 9.3 million weekly devotees.
Fox's news comes just as the National Association of Broadcasters
announced that TV networks and local affiliates should share revenue
from content shown on the new programming frontier -- iPods, laptops
and cell phones.
Additionally, three Hollywood unions announced today that they've
reached a deal with Touchstone Television so that they can get rolling
on making Lost Video Diaries, the mobisode offshoot of ABC's island
Copyright 2006 E! Online, Inc.
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