Channel 101

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Channel 101 is a monthly screening, created by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, where comedic short films that can be submitted by anyone continue as a television-style series if audience response is favorable enough. The Websites, where you can watch/download the shows and learn how to make and submit your own, can be found here for LA and here for NY.

Roughly every month, a screening for Channel 101 occurs at the Downtown Independent theater in Los Angeles and 92YTribeca in New York (although the episodes can be downloaded from the website, so it still counts as Web Original), with (usually) ten shorts being screened. At the screening, the audience votes on which shows they would like to see return. The top five shows are entered into the prime time slots on the Channel 101 website, and get to make a follow-up episode for the next screening. This process continues with new "episodes" being shown at each screening until one fails to make the top five, at which point the series is cancelled.

Some successful shows also can choose to be voluntarily be cancelled, (The first to do so being Timebelt), making one last unvoted episode. Shows that fail to make the prime time spot are known as failed pilots. An added benefit of having a prime time series is that prime time directors are part of the panel that decides which five new pilots will be shown alongside the five established shows from the previous screening.

Shows that fail to make the screenings are known as rejected pilots. Each calendar year of the festival is referred to as a "season", comprising of 10 screenings, due to there being no December screening, plus month break "to allow the creators to rest" between spring/summer and the November screening, which is the yearly awards show (The Incredibly Prestigious Achievement Award or Channy, so named as a parody of Emmy).

Acceptable.TV, which ran for 8 episodes in the Spring of 2007 on VH-1, was created by the Channel 101 team and starred it's most prolific contributors, and was basically the same concept except as a TV show, and with all the shorts, bar one user contribution each week, being done by the production team, and a short's budget was usually better then the average Channel 101 short. Viewers could call-in to vote for two of the five shorts each week to continue. The Channel's creators have gone on to create the shows Community on NBC and The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central (with cameos from several contributors, either in person or In Name Only).

The festival now has two chapters, the original based in LA and the New York based chapter, Channel 101:NY. Channel 101 NY screens at 92YTribeca.

Has a fan Tumblr here.

Notable Shorts:

  • Chad Vader: A well-known and successful Spinoff from the festival, which was cancelled by the audience after two episodes, however, the creators continued to develop the story arc and publish the series in other venues, such as YouTube and Myspace. Visit the Producers homepage here.
  • Kicked in the Nuts, another successful Spin-Off which was referenced in an episode of Family Guy, when the orange-wigged prankster kicks Peter in the nuts. The cast of My Name Is Earl also got in on the joke. Visit the Producers homepage here.
  • Classroom, the former longest-running series with 13 Episodes.
  • Everything, the new longest-running series on Channel 101, cancelled after a whopping 19 episodes. Home of the viral "Going to the store" video.
  • Computerman: Starring Jack Black as a cross-breed of a man's DNA and his home computer.
  • House of Cosbys: About a man who clones Bill Cosby several times over. Forcibly cancelled after its fourth episode when the producers received a cease and desist letter from Bill Cosby's attorney. A different contributor made an unofficial fifth episode that functioned as an attack on Cosby and his attorney.
  • Yacht Rock: John Oates credited Yacht Rock in 2007 with rekindling interest in Hall & Oates and lowering the demographic age of the group's fans. Michael McDonald acknowledged Yacht Rock in 2008. Visit the homepage here.
  • Channel 101: The Musical: A fully orchestrated Broadway-style musical featuring Sarah Silverman and Happy Days' Donny Most.
  • Sockbaby: Zero-budget martial arts from Doug Ten Napel, the creator of Earthworm Jim.
  • Time Belt: The first series to tell a well-structured an emotional story, and well.
  • The Wright Stuff: Starring Ethan Phillips as President Teddy Roosevelt. Created by Ford Austin & Scott Ingalls. Became the highest budgeted Channel 101 series at $5000 per episode.
  • The Jogger: Cancelled pilot about a jogger solving problems, it garned praise for the choreography and was later featured in Entertainment Weekly. The show later had its rights picked up by a production company.
  • Cautionary Tale of Swords: Trip Fisk, played by the late Michael Ashe tries warning the world of the dangers of sword ownership, and later, decides to fight the problem himself.
  • Gemberling which became Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.
  • Shutterbugs which led to Human Giant.
Tropes used in Channel 101 include: