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Comedy Central Eyeing 'Girlfriend'

Comedy Central has ordered a pilot presentation for a series based on FremantleMedia's Web show Secret Girlfriend.

The pilot will run 11 minutes, and Comedy is still determining what format the show would take on-air if it gets picked up. One possibility would be the unusual move of stacking two 11-minute episodes together, as the network did with its animated series Lil' Bush. Shorter episode durations are rare in primetime, though it's a familiar format online, on mobile devices and on some TV outside of primetime.

The Secret Girlfriend Web series, available on Fremantle's and other sites, consists of a sequence of short videos featuring an attractive (and often underdressed) woman talking directly to the camera, a la last year's Web video sensation Lonelygirl15. Each segment chronicles the viewers' “relationship” with the woman, from meeting to breakup.

Comedy Central and Fremantle's adaptation will follow the daily life of a twentysomething guy and his slacker friends, “'living the dream' in the pursuit of sex, beer and more sex.” The most noticeable carryover from the Web series will be its first-person perspective.

Comedy Central is not alone in looking at the 11-minute format. Turner's Adult Swim, which targets the same young audience as Comedy, uses unconventional lengths, though well after primetime.

Nickelodeon has presented its animation programming in 11-minute episodes for years, beginning with its first Nicktoon Doug in 1991 and continuing with current hit SpongeBob SquarePants. Viewers who grew up with Nicktoons such as Doug and Ren & Stimpy are now within the demos targeted by Comedy and Adult Swim.

Comedy also has a history of looking to unusual sources for new material. Lil' Bush started life on mobile carrier Amp'd Mobile, and South Park sprang from a video Christmas card.