I Want My Bud.TV!

The moment we've been anticipating since the fall arrived yesterday, replete with drama, bells, whistles and nonstop action. No, dummy, not the Super Bowl -- Replaced by a Chimp!

That's right, Bud.TV (reg. required), which has been the talk of the advertising world ever since the World's Largest Brewery announced plans to debut the online network, was launched this weekend, and so far the pickings are slim -- just a bunch of trailers of what's to come -- but the promise is pretty impressive.

RFT has poked fun at the notion of Budweiser becoming a content provider, it's true. But if yesterday's New York Times Magazine story (reg. required) is any indication, we might be eating a little crow with our cold frosty one.

The behind-the-scenes piece traces the rise of Bud.TV through the eyes of Jim Schumacker, the A-B marketing exec in charge of the project, and details both the logic and the necessity of A-B's play. Among the content the Times Magazine piece discusses is a participatory show called Finish Our Film, which will be produced by LivePlanet, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's production company. The show will provide the first and last scene for a film and invite viewers to write a treatment to fill the gap. The winner will be invited to Los Angeles to make the film, and Bud.TV will document the process.

Another show, Futureman, will star Saturday Night Live alumnus Tim Meadows and feature Chris Parnell and Kevin Farley (brother of Chris). Truly Famous is a documentary set in Los Angeles that features a fake celebrity named Cristano, who travels the city with an entourage, paparazzi and handlers, and cameras document all the perks the handsome nobody receives by merely pretending to be famous.

And then there's the oddest entry, an animated sci-fi show called Afterworld, which is set in a world where all the electricity has inexplicably vanished. (What this has to do with beer is anyone's guess.) "The worst thing about loneliness is you're never really alone," says an ominous voice during the trailer. "You're stuck with yourself."

Maybe that's where the Budweiser comes in.

-Randall Roberts

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