On Friday Alan Sepinwall posted a long and fascinating interview with Rob Thomas (again, not the Matchbox 20 guy, the showrunner from Veronica Mars) about the extremely successful Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign that was all a large segment of the internet was talking about last week.
Towards the end of the interview the two talked a bit about the possibility of extending this same method of fundraising to other canceled, cultishly-adored television shows including two of my personal all-time favorites: Pushing Daisies and Terriers.
The part of the interview which will be interesting to fans of those two shows is this:
Getting back to the idea of other producers going to their studios to see if they can’t try this, what have you heard in the last 36 hours from colleagues in the business about this? And how much do you think the instant success of this will influence another studio’s willingness to follow in your footsteps?
Rob Thomas: I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for “Pushing Daisies.” I heard that, and of course I saw your retweet of the Shawn Ryan thing.
I know, on the second part of the question, that Warner Bros. isn’t treating “Veronica Mars” like a one-off. I think they’re treating us like a guinea pig — in the best way. They want to see if this model works, and they made the calculated decision, and for a lot of the reasons you articulated in that story, that we were a good test case for this. We just happened to be the right show at the right time, got to be the first one out of the gate. I think Warner Bros., if t works, it works, and they could start doing more of these. And you know that if it works at one studio, that they’re not going to be the only studio in town that will be trying it.
The Shawn Ryan thing he’s talking about is the following:
Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.
— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) March 13, 2013
Shawn Ryan has said in the past that using Kickstarter at least for part of the funding for a Terriers movie was a possibility, but I believe this is the first instance of Bryan Fuller expressing an interest in doing the same for Pushing Daisies.
In terms of where the two shows were left at the end of their runs, both shows would seem to be in an even more appropriate position to have some form of post-cancellation life than Veronica Mars. While Veronica Mars at least got three seasons, Terriers only got one and Pushing Daisies only got 22 total episodes over two short “seasons” on ABC.
Terriers at least was able to tell a complete story in its one season on FX, though there are plenty of possibilities for more stories involving those characters, while Pushing Daisies was forced to join the ranks of those shows which end before even getting to create a proper series or season finale. One factor that might make the economics of the Kickstarter model more difficult to apply to Pushing Daisies though, is the fact that it was a network show with a very high budget and lots of expensive special effects work, unlike Terriers (or Veronica Mars) which can easily be done with a gritter, more “indie” aesthetic.