PUSHING DAISIES, TERRIERS, CHUCK: What Defunct Property is Next to Hit Kickstarter?

     March 15, 2013


The crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie campaign launched on Kickstarter has achieved overnight financial success along with a heaping help of speculation as to what this means for other fan-favorite projects moving forward.  Joss Whedon (The Avengers) already fielded questions about a possible Firefly/Serenity resurrection and now attention has turned to a number of other properties.  Among them are Bryan Fuller’s dark comedy (ironically about resurrection) Pushing Daisies, Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz’s relatively long-running NBC comedy Chuck and Ted Griffin’s short-lived Terriers.  Hit the jump to see that status of each of these projects and their possible future with Kickstarter.

pushing-daisies-posterIn an interview with Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, HitFix elicited a comment about Fuller and his hopes for a possible Pushing Daisies rejuvenation:

 Getting back to the idea of other producers going to their studios to see if they can’t try this, what have you heard in the last 36 hours from colleagues in the business about this? And how much do you think the instant success of this will influence another studio’s willingness to follow in your footsteps? 

Rob Thomas: I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for “Pushing Daisies.” I heard that, and of course I saw your retweet of the Shawn Ryan thing.

More on “the Shawn Ryan thing” in a minute, but Thomas also commented on how Warner Bros., the rights-holding studio of Veronica Mars, is handling this first test of a Kickstarter-funded studio project:

“…Warner Bros. isn’t treating “Veronica Mars” like a one-off. I think they’re treating us like a guinea pig — in the best way. They want to see if this model works, and they made the calculated decision, and for a lot of the reasons you articulated in that story, that we were a good test case for this. We just happened to be the right show at the right time, got to be the first one out of the gate. I think Warner Bros., if t works, it works, and they could start doing more of these. And you know that if it works at one studio, that they’re not going to be the only studio in town that will be trying it.”

terriers-posterSo for people who thought that Warner Bros. would just ignore the incredible cost-saving opportunity of getting fans to finance their own movies, it looks like that’s not going to be the case.  Pushing Daisies isn’t the only offering that may appear on the table in the short term as “the Shawn Ryan thing” suggests Terriers is also being considered. Via Bleeding Cool and the Twitter account for Ryan, who wrote Terriers, here’s where the movie version of the private eye comedy stands:

I’ve had friends who’ve raised money for indie movies through Kickstarter and I started to think that if you wanted to make a 2 hour movie that capped off that series, how [much] would it cost to make it and would there be a way to raise the money via a combination of Netflix and Kickstarter…I don’t own the rights, Fox 21 does but maybe there’d be some upside for them if they didn’t have to chip in a dime but all of a sudden had a two hour movie as an asset that they could add to what they have on Netflix.
Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV)
Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.
I don’t think a $2 million stretch for a Terriers movie is too much an ask. I may be wrong, but if Ryan can work something out with Fox 21 that will let him do this, I reckon the money is out there.
Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.

As the write-up points out, Fox 21 didn’t think Terriers was worth the cost of even making its only season available on DVD.  If fans pay up front for the possibility of buying the season on home video or, less realistically, a feature film, perhaps the studio will be more willing to help make that happen (and recoup profits).

Fans of Chuck will be happy to hear that the success of Veronica Mars has bolstered star Zachary Levi’s hopes for a #ChuckMovie:

1st, congrats to IMKristenBell & @RobThomas for helping move entertainment a little closer in the direction I’ve always hoped it would go…

2nd, to you Chucksters, believe that this news only bolsters my faith that I can help bring you a . Be patient. Stay tuned.

EW reached chuck-tv-show-season-5-imageout to Levi for more news on the project:

“We are entering into the wild west of entertainment where essentially everybody can do what only studios could do for the last 70 years…[Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas] loved what they did with the show, and they love the connection that the fans have with it, and, to me, that’s the best thing you can have. That’s how I felt about Chuck. I love the family that we had making that show, and I love the impact and connection that we had with our fans, and that’s why I’ve always wanted to continue that journey. I went to both [executive producer] Chris Fedak and [Warner Bros. Television president] Peter Roth at the very end of the fifth season and said, ‘Hey what if we made an online movie and just sold it directly to fans? We could keep this going. It could be fun.’ Even though that was only a few years ago, we’re obviously at a different time.

All I can say at this point is that because Veronica Mars, like Chuck, is a Warner Bros. [production], and because Warner Bros. has now opened that gate, I feel confident in being able to get the same results for a Chuck movie. If Warner Bros. is game, I’ve got great ideas for what the movie would be that I’m very excited about.”

If a Chuck movie does get off the ground, would co-star Yvonne Strahovski be involved?

“I talked to Yvonne [Strahovski] maybe a month ago and said, ‘If I can get this movie made, would you be open to doing [it]? Even an online version of it?’ And she was totally game. So I know that I’ve got the cast and crew on board.”

As for his feelings on what the Veronica Mars campaign has done as far as opening up avenues for fans:

 “Field of Dreams it. If you build it, they will come. You’ve got to believe that if you have something good, people will believe in it. Don’t be a douche-y celebrity. Appreciate the fact that you only have a career because they care to watch the things that you do.”

This is just the beginning of a new trend in TV and movie production, folks.  Personally, I love Pushing Daisies and enjoyed Chuck, but I’m still on the fence about the model: it’s good for fans and filmmakers, but it’s much better for studios and rights holders.  If the creator raised funds to buy back the rights and then made shows or movies after the fact, the whole thing would be leagues more palatable to me.  In the meantime, I’ll hold onto my money until there’s something more than a promise on the table, especially since there are plenty of people willing to chip in without me.