Friday, February 23, 2001
Firm to produce youth-wrestling show
A Calgary hi-tech company is going to the mat with a major Hollywood player.
Digital Artisans Guild Inc. (DAG) announced yesterday that it has signed a two-year contract for its matrats.com to be marketed and distributed by Mandalay Sports Entertainment and E-Media.
The series is an interactive teen-oriented wrestling and music show destined for both the Internet and traditional TV.
"The important thing is we have followed the traditional TV model," says Graham Owen, DAG's vice-president and COO of the company's business strategy.
"It's not just another dot-com."
Two episodes have already been produced in DAG's new 6,800-sq.-ft. office and studio complex.
As yet, there's no air date set for the show.
The series -- which will feature 18 wrestlers from around the world, including Ted Hart, 19-year-old nephew of Bret and Owen -- is ramping up to produce 100 episodes in the next two years. Each episode is expected to generate about $350,000 US in gross revenues for domestic and international licence fees.
On hand for the announcement were Mark ladanza, director of technology at Mandalay E-Media, and ex-Wonder Years actor Jason Hervey, who's a principal in Mandalay Sports Action Entertainment. He's also the executive producer of WCW Superstar series.
"We were truly attracted to the quality of the show and I love pro wrestling ," Hervey says.
Both sides hailed the deal as a coup for Calgary that will generate interest for the city from other international players in the sports and entertainment industries.
"It's an absolutely terrific beacon and a lightning rod (for the city)," Hervey says.
matrats.com will be shot in a widescreen 16X9 format, using HD or high-definition technology.
Owen says there are already 10 million Web TV users in the U.S., but for those who don't have it, the series will be broadcast in television syndication or on cable.
Viewers can then interact by going to the website.
There, users can pick storylines for the wrestlers to follow and even decide which wrestlers will be paid the most.
"It will be made by kids for kids," Owen says.
"It will be a show for the good-looking."
And like Menudo with bodyslams, wrestlers will be booted off the series when they turn 21.
DAG also has two other series in development which Mandalay is considering: activelyhip.tv, a lifestyles series aimed at teens, and urbangladiator.tv, a sexy video magazine in the vein of Maxim.