iVillage's Parentshood online comedy to debut in the autumn

NBC Universal-owned women's portal iVillage is to launch an online-only comedy drama series aimed at new and prospective parents in the autumn.

Following the success of Bebo's Kate Modern and Sofia's Diary, and YouTube's Lonelygirl15, iVillage is to target internet natives up to the age of 30 with interactive drama Parentshood.

Production house FremantleMedia's new-media unit, FMX, will produce the 12-week series.

Parentshood features five parents coming to terms with parenting in 25 to 30 short episodes a week. Content will feature throughout iVillage, on forums and in channels such as beauty and fashion, diet and fitness and pregnancy and parenting.

Both iVillage and Fremantle are seeking sponsors for the show, which follows on from the success of similar ventures. Bebo managed to secure high-profile sponsors for its interactive drama, Sofia's Diary, signing up Unilever and Pearl Drops before the series was picked up by terrestrial broadcaster Five.

Rebecca Miskin, general manager of iVillage UK, said: "The content is based around pregnancy and parenting and we believe there has been a dearth of quality content and a lack of inventory around the subject. So we believe we're fulfilling a need for the market."

NBC Universal bought iVillage in March 2006 for around $600m. Since then, iVillage has benefited from the experience of being owned by a TV firm, according to Miskin.

She said: "The parent company has enabled us all to understand TV formats and programming and this is a great example of the route we want to go down."

iVillage will be hoping that Parentshood proves as successful as Kate Modern and Sofia's Diary. Each episode of Kate Modern reportedly cost £6,000 to make and each of Kate Modern's six advertising partners - including Procter & Gamble - reportedly paid up to £250,000 to have their names integrated into the storyline.

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