Instant ‘Karma’ for Comcast Subs

Current TV will give Comcast subscribers
an early look at its first long-form scripted series, Bar Karma,
as part of a marketing partnership with the MSO.

The unique interactive series, in which viewers will have
the opportunity to influence the week-to-week scripts
through online story submissions, will premiere on Comcast’s
Xfinity On Demand service Feb. 4, a week prior to
its official debut on the 60 million-subscriber Current TV,
said Courtney Menzel, executive vice president of distribution
for the service co-founded by Al Gore.

Created by Will Wright (video game The Sims) and
former Nickelodeon executive Albie Hecht, Bar Karma
— which stars William Sanderson (True Blood, Lost, Deadwood),
Matthew Humphreys (Obsessed, Big Love, The Forgotten)
and Cassie Howarth (Deranged High, Deathclock)
— revolves around the staff and patrons who frequent a
bar set in outer space.

Each week, a new guest walks into the show’s titular bar,
and viewers can submit their script ideas for those characters
through Wright’s innovative, easy-to-use Storymaker
application, accessible at The app
can now also be reached through an iPhone App.

In addition to the early on-demand premiere, all subsequent
episodes of Bar Karma will be available via VOD
three days after their premiere on Current, according to

Current is also providing Comcast with short-form clips
from the series, to air on’s Current TV/BarKarma-
branded page. Also, the site will feature a Q&A interview
with Wright as well as a live online chat with Wright
before the premiere.

Current will also create a widget for the MSO’s subscriber portal, where Comcast customers can
weigh in with ideas and scenarios for the series.

Comcast-owned video gaming-themed network G4 will
conduct interviews with Bar Karma cast members, to air
on the network’s Web-based series Feedback.

Menzell said Current is talking to other distributors
about developing similar marketing opportunities around
its original shows. The network is also pitching distributors
promotional opportunities around upcoming documentary
series 4th and Forever, which follows the successful
Long Beach Poly high-school football team, which has sent
more athletes to the National Football League than any
prep program in the U.S., she said.

“We’re having conversations to find ways to take out content
and make it work for our partners in ways that are compelling
to them and to their customers,” she said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.