I was recently tipped off to this story about how ABC stole a concept from a popular Youtube series. Basically, these guys (called The Fine Bros) make mini-‘Lost’ episodes with action figures. ABC decided to run with their idea and create an identical web series in-house.
It seems like every article I’ve read about this is dancing around the issue, saying things like, “Did ABC steal?” Of course they did. Look, if a unique series like this is getting millions of views on Youtube, you can be sure that ABC knows about it. They’re not stupid — they will eventually come across this stuff.
Anyways, ABC definitely made the wrong move in this situation. Instead of reaching out to these guys, thanking them for all their hard work and making ‘Lost’ that much more popular with its fans, they just decided, “Eh, we can do this on our own.”
ABC: You CAN’T do this on your own.
First of all, you’ll instantly build up animosity with the people who (used to) support you. The Fine Bros have a substantial audience (over 20,000 subscribers). You think they might complain about this to their followers? They should and they will.
Secondly, your series will never be as enjoyable as The Fine Bros because TFB has nothing to lose. ABC has a big expensive brand to protect, while TFB is just a few guys having fun making videos. They have a lot more flexibility when it comes to making funnier and edgier content, while anything ABC puts out has to be safe and watered down for the masses.
This is just a stupid move on ABC’s part. The Fine Bros have great production values AND they’ve already established an online fan base. So why aren’t they getting the credit they deserve?
If you have diehard fans producing extra content for you on their own time, you don’t punish them — you reward them. ABC should have hired these guys instead of trying to delegitimize them.