‘People just wanted it to fail’: The creator of Quibi’s ‘Dummy’ opens up about the streamer’s collapse and the show’s future

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Four years ago, television writer and producer Cody Heller began writing a series about a woman who talks to a sex doll.

“Dummy” briefly found a home in 2017 at TBS, which Heller told Business Insider was planning to launch a one-hour block of 15-minute programming. The series was written to adjust to the short-form template, but the block never materialized. Heller moved on as an executive producer on the Showtime series, “Kidding.”

“I was bummed but I had a job,” Heller said.

A year later, Heller got a call from a former TBS executive who had left the network for a streaming startup called Quibi, founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Walt Disney Studios chair and cofounder of Dreamworks Animation. Heller said that the former TBS exec had given Katzenberg her scripts.

“He got that it was f—ing weird and embraced that,” she said of Katzenberg.

Quibi launched in April after raising $1.75 billion and attracting big-name talent, including the actress Anna Kendrick, who starred in “Dummy.” The service strived to stand out in a crowded streaming field by focusing on short-form programming, with 10-minutes-or-less episodes watched on mobile devices. It helped that Heller’s series was already tailored for short-form storytelling.

But the service never took off. As people stayed home to practice social-distancing guidelines, other streaming services benefited, but Quibi floundered and struggled to sign up subscribers. By October, six months after launching, Quibi announced it would shut down.

In a letter, Quibi’s founders said its failure was “likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”

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But Heller said she doesn’t regret making her show with Quibi.

“No other network would have let me make this show [the way I wanted to make it],” she said.

‘Dummy’s’ future is unclear

Heller is still unsure about her show’s future. She said Quibi hasn’t communicated to her what will happen with its content. Some production partners are already shopping shows to other buyers, such as “Most Dangerous Game,” but she said those conversations haven’t happened yet for “Dummy.” 

She hopes the series will find a new streaming home eventually, either as it is or edited together as a movie (Quibi, after all, described some of its shows as “movies in chapters”).

“I’m eager to get it back out there now that Quibi’s done,” she said. “We haven’t gotten into any real conversations about what’s next, but it’s a priority at some point to get it out there as is or as a movie, or use it as a jumping off point to make more seasons. We’re open to everything.”

Despite Quibi’s downfall, Heller said she “wouldn’t trade” the experience.

“We shot the whole thing in 18 days and it was the best 18 days of my life,” she said. 

Business Insider reported in June that Quibi execs would give extensive notes on many shows. Katzenberg himself “gave copious input,” according to The Wall Street Journal. But Heller said she didn’t experience much intrusion into …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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