‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ Lives on in P2P

A show some may have never heard of. It was a show others have grown to love or simply fell in love with it at first sight.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The large fan base of the hit comedy show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway’ have refused to let their favorite show die. It still lives on in the P2P world.

Many may recall about a year ago about a TV show called ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ It originally started on radio for about six episodes in the UK. After the short series as hosted by Clive Anderson, it ceased to air on the radio. A while later, it made a new appearance on Channel4, a British TV station as an all out improvisation show. It was then cancelled after 10 seasons to the dismay of a number of fans. It was then picked up by an American TV station called ABC and Drew Carey hosted this version for six seasons. It was cancelled again, but fans refused to let it die. The re-runs of the show had received very good ratings for a couple of months – not bad for a cancelled comedy show. The network then decided to air previously un-aired pieces of the show in a large seventh season before it was cancelled a final time to the dismay of a rather largely expanded audience. Even then, the show refused to die.

The novel concept of a totally improvised comedy show was just too appealing to fans. When it was cancelled a third time, Drew Carey then started to host a show called “Drew Carey’s Green Screen” on the WB. The new twist was that they utilized the Green Screen technology where animators take the show and draw over the action to give it a more artistic slant to the improv genre. Many fans thought that this would be a savior to the old improv show, but after 5 short episodes, it shared the fate of the other hit comedy show and was cancelled.

By this point in time, many Improv TV fans cursed at the executives for not realizing what TV fans really want. Even the star actors are still improvising their way to fame through live tours mostly called, “The Improv Allstars” which made appearances on famous venues like the “Just For Laughs Comedy Festival.” In fact, the actors have even made it onto the MGM Grand for two Pay Per View specials. Their fame doesn’t stop there. Wayne Brady from ‘Whose Line…’ has his own show called the ‘Wayne Brady Show’ where he occasionally implements his improv talents in the occasional game, but mostly takes his musical skills and uses them to his full advantage to put on a show. Colin Mochrie ‘the bald guy’ has made a number of guests appearances in shows like ‘Improv Heaven and Hell.’ Greg Proops seems to enjoy his stand-up comedy career and can be seen occasionally on shows like ‘Just for Laughs’ and ‘Comedy Central Presents…’ Most still remember these stars way back to the show that made them famous though and the still tour around to many venues as the ‘Improv Allstars’

How is it that a show held onto so much fame and glory long after the cancellation? Many will argue that P2P has kept the show alive. Users keep exchanging the shows through Direct Connect, BitTorrent, ED2K, Gnutella 2 and even the Fast Track networks. Not only that, but they can be exchanged offline via the postal system with ‘Blanks and postage.’

Perhaps this is a serious blunder on the ABC executive’s part when they originally decided to cancel the lovable show. It certainly wouldn’t be the first good show they cancelled. When ‘Reboot’ aired, it was the world’s first Computer Generated cartoon series to hit the air waves. After 3 seasons, ABC cancelled the show. ‘Mainframe’ then found a haven at the Cartoon Network to keep airing their shows until the final season and then release it via DVD’s for the general public to enjoy.

Almost a year later, the ‘Whose Line Community’ is still going strong, especially on the eDonkey2000 network.

Is Whose Line is it Anyway the only show that survives solely because of fans and P2P? No, but it is a shining example of a fan base supporting the show despite the networks trying to get rid of the show for whatever reason despite good ratings and reviews. Maybe sometime later the improv TV genre will be revived under a new light, but in the mean time, it remains to be a show that floats around online for those who wouldn’t mind a laugh every so often.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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