lonelygirl15 Goes to Italy

EQAL, the new startup formed by the creators of lonelygirl15, is following up on its promise to expand the LG15 “universe” to other countries. The company told NewTeeVee today it had signed a deal with M.A.D. Entertainment to create a localized sister series in Italy.

The show — which will be EQAL’s first project in a language other than English — has yet to be named, written, cast, or sponsored, but it is supposed to be released this winter.

EQAL will be participating to a lesser extent than it did with KateModern, the UK-based LG15 sister series, for which EQAL CEO Miles Beckett lived in London while serving as showrunner and training a local production team. Now he and co-founder Greg Goodfried will be executive producers for the Italian series with “final creative oversight,” but they will leave operations to M.A.D. Besides, neither of them speak Italian.

Also different from KateModern will be the technology setup. KateModern had been integrated into and hosted on the social network Bebo. While EQAL isn’t looking to build its own video player, it will be building out its own social network on its own site so members can interact with each other all in one location. With KateModern, said Beckett, “We didn’t see as much of the bonding occurring between the fans as we do on our site… We’ve learned to have the heart of soul of the show on a URL that’s dedicated to the show [because] you want a close-knit group of people.”

The Italian series news follows on EQAL’s raising $5 million, wrapping up KateModern, and signing a “first-look” deal with CBS. Beckett said that along with producing web content for CBS, EQAL expects to launch two to three additional shows by the end of this year.

What to expect? Not exactly a modern remake of Roman Holiday. The LG15 universe, as Beckett describes it, is “very much like Buffy, a little bit of comedic element, teen angst and romance, and sci-fi drama.” Like past series, the new show is likely to have a young female star, he said, as well as EQAL’s honed elements of brand integration, interactive live events, and fighting against “The Order.”