Before Dan Harmon created “Community” on NBC or “The Sarah Silverman Program” on Comedy Central, he formed Channel 101 in 2003 with Rob Schrab — when the pair were “banished from legitimate television” after created the pilot “Heat Vision and Jack” for Fox.
Channel 101 is a monthly Los Angeles short film festival/non-televised television network to which participants submit five-minute TV pilots that are judged and rated by a live audience, with only the winners going on to make new episodes. It is, as the event’s website catchily puts it, “a chance to sit in the worn-out chair of the fat network exec, drunk on the blood of lowly artists whose right to exist is given in exchange for their ability to nourish.”
The short documentary below by David Seger (a former production staffer on “Community”) looks at the history of Channel 101, how it became an influential comedy force as well as the birthplace of “Yacht Rock” and “Planet Unicorn,” and how Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, Drew Carey, Joel McHale, Aziz Ansari and many others got involved. While it’s a shame that Harmon himself doesn’t appear (though Schrab does), it’s still a very interesting look at an alternative platform for serialized content that’s spawned many imitators. [Via Splitsider]