ON the heels of producing back-to-back UK hits – reality format Best of Friends for CBBC and live-action/cartoon hybrid gameshow Skatoony with Cartoon Network – John Marley decided there was only one thing to do. No, he didn’t demand more money, a chauffeur service and a steady supply of bon-bons from employer Talent TV. Instead, he left what was a steady gig in an increasingly volatile kids TV climate and set up his own shop, Archie Productions, this past February with a mind to shaking up the staid indie scene.
‘In the last 24 months, the method by which the audience can consume content has been changing rapidly, but the indie prodco model has been slow to follow suit,’ Marley says. As such, he’s set up a creator-driven enterprise that can act as an umbrella company to shepherd ideas culled from all realms of artistic endeavor and cut deals and rights splits in favor of the content creator. And along with exploring digital media exploitation and international partnerships, Marley says he’ll ‘talk to anybody that has a good idea; there are no boundaries on where good ones come from.’
While he’s scouring the creative community, Marley’s already constructed an initial development slate to appeal primarily to kids ages seven to 11 from his own factual and format ideas. Ready to roll as soon as a commissioning greenlight is secured is a live-action series called Story Streets.
In each of the project’s roughly 14-minute eps, a narrator will emerge from a doorway and head out to the street, walking and retelling classic fables and fairytales with a modern twist. Along the way, seemingly random members of the streetscape will fall into step behind the narrator and start acting out the story. Handheld camera work will capture the action. Marley says Story Streets is heavily formatted and brandable, and could easily be re-cut for various mobile and online platforms.
In addition, Marley is working on a reality series that will give budding young songwriters ages seven to 14 a chance to have professional musicians arrange and perform their material. And another reality-based gameshow called Slob Busters aims to help kids motivate their families get fit and healthy.