MySpace original series 'Roommates' debuts Monday

This is the News Corp.-owned social-networking site's first time producing a scripted Web series; three-minute episodes will run through Dec. 21.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
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MySpace.com is testing out the director's chair with a new Web-based series, Roommates, which debuts Monday at 1 p.m. PDT. Through December 21, a new three-minute episode of the show will be available each weekday on the MySpaceTV portal and through the Roommates profile page.

When college ends, the real party begins? Can somebody make sure my boss knows that?

The series, co-created by MySpace and new-media production studio Iron Sink Productions, marks the first time that the News Corp.-owned social-networking site has been behind the development of a scripted Web show. Roommates is a show within a show, as four recent college graduates move to Los Angeles and enlist in an uber-surveillant reality show while four of their other friends observe from their "real lives." They are, naturally, all good-looking females with penchants for strappy tank tops.

MySpace users will be invited to participate in the creative process, said Jeff Berman, general manager of the MySpaceTV division. "They'll be able to help shape story arcs," he said. "We're going to see some of the best creative ideas for the show come from our users." There will also be a polling tool, similar to the ones that MySpace has been using for its presidential dialogue Webcasts, to gauge audience opinions of the plot and characters. "It's not quite Choose Your Own Adventure," Berman explained, "but it's the MySpace version of it."

Advertisements for the show are provided by Ford as part of its campaign for the 2008 Ford Focus car.

Roommates isn't the only Web-based series that MySpace has on the way. Coming on November 11 is the drama series Quarterlife, which wasn't actually created by MySpace. The latest project from Thirtysomething and My So-Called Life creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, Quarterlife simply has a distribution deal with the social network.

But Roommates is pure MySpace. A release from the social network said that it "will retain creative control over all aspects of the show's development--including casting, story development, location scouting, wardrobe, and more--allowing the company to create the series exclusively with the MySpace audience in mind."

There will be more professional content coming to MySpaceTV soon, Berman hinted. "We're launching our partnership with Hulu in the next few weeks to bring network content to our users," he said, referring to the joint online video venture between NBC Universal and MySpace parent company News Corp.