Comedy Central's trust in its creators' visions allowed Drunk History, Workaholics, and Broad City to transition from web shorts into longer-form television series with bigger budgets—but without losing their initial appeal. By focusing on creators who are writer-producer-actor triple threats, Comedy Central ensures that it's bringing in people who know their ideas inside out. Broad City 's webisodes provided a clear and concise summary of what Glazer and Jacobson offered on and off camera; Drunk History 's online shorts showed off the subtle structure and organization Waters and Konner put behind their seemingly sloppy show; Mail Order Comedy sold the Workaholics team as the brash weirdos they are.
By focusing on creators who are writer-producer-actor triple threats, Comedy Central ensures that it's bringing in people who know their ideas inside out
Social media also presents new avenues for web-to-television development. Some networks use social media to engage with viewers of their existing shows, but Comedy Central is taking its social media initiatives one step further by using social platforms to develop new series. A script deal born from a Snapchat series sounds like a bad joke about Peak TV gone too far, but Comedy Central has turned it into a reality, ordering a new TV show starring comedian James Davis, who is also creator and executive producer. The new series is based on Swag-A-Saurus, Davis's Snapchat series where he breaks down modern slang. We can expect more of that innovation soon, according to Alterman, who said Comedy Central is now focusing more on how to tailor content to specific platforms—like Snapchat and Instagram—and seeing where it goes from there.Other networks are following suit and also looking to the web for new series and talent. The CW has used its separate streaming service, CW Seed, to debut web series like Husbands. The romantic comedy was independently produced for two seasons and aired via web syndication on YouTube, Roku, Blip, and other online platforms before CW Seed produced a six-episode third season. CW Seed has also debuted original digital series like I Ship It and the DC universe extension series Vixen. But so far, the network has kept CW Seed completely separate from CW proper, opting not to marry its online content with its linear lineup. The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, however, does have roots online: Rachel Bloom's musical shorts for YouTube are every bit as hilarious and biting as her series, an early glimpse at how well she meshes her musical talent with her specific sense of humor.
Some networks use social media to engage with viewers of their existing shows, but Comedy Central is taking its social media initiatives one step further by using social platforms to develop new series.