Head & Shoulders Teams Up With CBS Interactive to Create New Original Web Series 'HECKLE U,' Premiering Monday, Feb. 9
Original Webisode Series To Feature Owen Benjamin ("House Bunny") and Tom Arnold
LOS ANGELES and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3 -- CBS Interactive announced today a partnership with Head & Shoulders to launch its new original scripted Web series HECKLE U, executive produced by NuMedia Studios. The series stars Tom Arnold ("Happy Endings") and Owen Benjamin ("House Bunny"). Benjamin is also co-directing the series with James Boyd ("Halflife"). On Feb. 9, the 10-webisode series will premiere exclusively on CBS.com (www.cbs.com) and TV.com. The series will also feature Katie Cleary ("CSI: NY"), Kirk Fox ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") and Chris Wylde ("Descent").
HECKLE U is the story of Chance Stevens' road to glory as a professional heckler for the fictional Montana University. In each episode, Chance and his uncle, Lou the bartender, tell sexy reporter Amanda Marsh about a new adventure, from overcoming his Heckler's Block, to winning the Championship game. Along the way, we meet Darrell, Chance's best friend and heckling partner in crime, and Todd, Chance's jealous half-brother.
Each webisode will premiere on CBS.com, TV.com, and across the CBS Audience Network. Three new webisodes will be released during the first week, followed by a single new webisode a week for the remainder of the series. HECKLE U will also be promoted across CBS Interactive platforms.
"With the amount of time guys are spending on the Internet, Head & Shoulders sees this as a new way to interact with them," said Julie Marchant-Houle, Head & Shoulders North American Marketing Director. "The creativity and energy of the HECKLE U series and its all-star cast help bring to life the brand's equity in a unique way, and we're excited for guys to see the series."
"Web originals are definitely a win-win for both programmers and marketers -- by collaborating with a marketer from day one we give them a chance to build in real integrations, that are enjoyable for the audience and authentic to the story," said Anthony Soohoo, Senior Vice President and General Manager of CBS Interactive Entertainment and Lifestyle division. "HECKLE U is a great opportunity to take advantage of the Web as a new medium to create compelling programming that also lets marketers like Procter & Gamble extend their brands in new and innovative ways."
Following is a list of the 10 webisodes in order of appearance:
Pilot: Amanda Marsh reluctantly arrives at a nearly empty dive bar to write a story about professional heckler, Chance Stevens. She's not thrilled with her assignment, and after Chance regales her with one of his best heckling stories, she remains unimpressed.
Preparation H.E.C.K.L.E.R.S.: Chance explains the intricacies of heckling. You have to practice your game face (and make sure it doesn't look like an ad for Rabies Awareness), dig up dirt on the Internet (just make sure you're connected), and always keep your eyes peeled (you never know when your partner in crime is going to slap you). The journey to a flawless heckle is not all fun and games.
The Rules: Chance demonstrates the rules of heckling with some old battle stories. Electric shock therapy helps with preparation, and you should never underestimate the power of a sexy girl to distract the angry guards.
Heckler's Block: Todd, Chance's loser half-brother, tries to set the heckling story straight with a tale of Chance's failure. In Todd's version, Chance and Darrell are bumbling, obnoxious, weepy fools. Oh...and they stink at heckling.
Arch Rivals: Todd and Chance fight with sporks while Chance gives his side of Todd's story, which involves a heroic fight against Heckler's Block and a helpful cheerleader.
The Proposition: Chance recounts his "story of origin" as a professional heckler, complete with an interrogation scene and a promising offer from a rich Montana U fan.
The Interview: Chance tells the story of the hecklers' TV debut. After both hecklers cope with their stage fright, they fight against the man by kidnapping the conservative reporter who is interviewing them. It's okay, though...they feed him frozen pizza rolls.
Big Men on Campus: Chance continues the story of the hecklers' rise to fame. When Darrell and Chance make it into the paper, their celebrity reaches new heights...and Chance's ego blows up like a balloon. Hey, the girls love him and the guys want to be him. Who wouldn't eat that up?
Heart of a Champion, Part 1: Chance's big head gets in the way of his master heckling and Darrell can't do it on his own. It looks like the team is going to lose the big Championship Game. But Amanda's skepticism and Leo's self-promotion finally get to Chance before he can finish telling his story.
Heart of a Champion, Part 2: Chance comes through during halftime by dressing as a preacher and giving a discouraging sermon to the opposing team. As Amanda finishes her interview, a mysterious man enters the bar to give Chance the offer of a lifetime.
OWEN BENJAMIN as CHANCE, the main character who recently gets hired with his best friend to become professional hecklers for the Montana University basketball team.
TOM ARNOLD as LOU THE BARTENDER, Chance's uncle and the perfect audience for him to share his crazy heckling adventures.
Katie Cleary as AMANDA, a reporter for The Chronicle who interviews Chance about his glory days of heckling.
KIRK FOX as DARRELL, Chance's best friend and wacky heckling partner.
CHRIS WYLDE as TODD, Chance's half brother and rival.
In addition to watching the series online, viewers are invited to participate in sharing their original comedic videos as part of the "Thoughtless Thoughts: Your Mind is Free to Wander" Sweepstakes. It is amazing what else you can spend your time thinking about when you know your hair is flake-free because of Head & Shoulders. Viewers can upload their video at CBS.com and one lucky winner will receive a trip to Las Vegas for him/her and four of his/her friends. Users will also find bonus content, a "best heckle" widget, and a number of Head & Shoulders vignettes. No purchase necessary to enter. See Rules for details at CBS.com.
A variety of community tools are also available, including:
Commenting, Rating, & Reviews --- Fans can post comments and rate each webisode
Sharing Features --- Embed, email, social networking and more.
Voting --- Viewers can vote on their favorite entries from the contestants of the "Thoughtless Thoughts: Your Mind is Free to Wander" Sweepstakes
HECKLE U is Executive Produced by Michael Kernan and Huntley Ritter of NuMedia Studios. Kernan is the former Co-Head of New Media at ICM, where he packaged shows such as the upcoming MSN experience around ICM author Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat" book, and created a multi-platform television in development with MySpace with Ritter, also a client of ICM.
NuMedia recently packaged the Funny or Die team with Fatal1ty, the world's foremost gamer, to create a site for gamers called "Pwn Or Die". NuMedia is also currently producing a web series with MySpace starring Ian Ziering called "Man vs. Monday" about the worst possible Monday experience.
About CBS Interactive
CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation, is the best online content network for information and entertainment. With more than 170 million people visiting its properties each month, it is the 8th largest Web property globally. Its portfolio of leading brands, which include CNET, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, GameSpot, TV.com, BNET and Last.fm, span popular categories like technology, entertainment, sports, news and business.
About Head & Shoulders(R)
One of Procter & Gamble's most trusted billion dollar brands, Head & Shoulders has helped provide millions of consumers with relief from dandruff symptoms including visible flakes, redness, dryness, itchiness and irritation for over 40 years. The proprietary zinc pyrithione (ZPT) formula in Head & Shoulders effectively maximizes the bio-availability of ZPT enabling it to get to the source of dandruff more effectively. Offering a full line of shampoos and conditioners, Head & Shoulders provides both scalp and hair care. Head & Shoulders products are available at food, drug and mass market retailers. For additional information visit www.headandshoulders.com.