Back in 2010, when YouTube was big on pugs performing tricks and Netflix hadn’t won awards for “House of Cards,” Hollywood actress Julia Stiles signed on to “Blue,” a Web series in which she plays a single mom who works at a desk by day and between the sheets at night.
“I felt why not, we wouldn’t have a network afraid of our ratings,” Stiles, a veteran of blockbuster films and Showtime’s “Dexter,” said in an interview in London last week. “Back then, I wasn’t sure what to make of the Internet as a platform.”
“Blue” has serious credentials, with Rodrigo Garcia, who directed HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” and Jon Avnet, director of Oscar winner “Fried Green Tomatoes” calling the shots. And after eight-minute segments ran on YouTube for two seasons and on Web-streaming service Hulu for a third, the show now has the attention of the big money.
“Blue” is on the block this week at Mipcom, the world’s largest TV content market, where the show’s international rights are for sale. If it’s successful — and 14 million YouTube views for the first episode suggest it may be — “Blue” will join a growing number of Web series making the leap to TV. The phenomenon is drawing attention and cash from WPP Plc, the world’s biggest ad agency, and global media firm Viacom Inc.