As the fall television season gets underway with few lesbian characters or storylines in sight, lesbian viewers are eagerly anticipating the launch of the new web series Venice, the brainchild of soap star Crystal Chappell (best known to lesbian viewers as one half of Guiding Light’s lesbian super-couple, Olivia and Natalia, or “Otalia”).
The web series reunites Chappell with Jessica Leccia, her Guiding Light love interest, in a medium where their remarkable chemistry can be more fully expressed. The web series also stars Elizabeth Keener (The L Word), Daniel Cosgrove (Guiding Light), and Michelle Carter.
When CBS canceled Guiding Light, ending its unparalleled 72-year run on radio and television (the final episode airs September 18), the entrepreneurial, tech-savvy Chappell saw an opportunity to continue telling stories featuring lesbian characters and relationships, but without networks or corporate producers making the rules.
Chappell spoke with AfterEllen.com about Venice and her character, Gina, as well as her thoughts on the Otalia storyline as it draws to a close this week.
AfterEllen.com: What is Venice going to be about?
So she’s just trying to find love in Venice Beach.
AE: How many episodes are you planning?
AE: Five seasons a year! Wow!
AE: So we’ll all be desperately waiting to find out what happens in season two.
AE: What are your short-term and long-term ambitions for the show?
Long term, I don’t know. Ultimately I’d love to see — it would be great to have a show on an FX or some kind of cable network that features a lead lesbian character. That would be a really wonderful thing to have in the end of all this.
AE: Do you think that it’s possible for a show to sustain itself long term just on the web, without hopes of going to cable?
That’s how they figured out how to transition shows from radio to television. It’s less expensive and you can do a lot more in a shorter period of time. And I think if you can find an audience there’s the hope for longevity.
AE: Do you have a clear sense of what you think the business model is going to be? Are you looking at sponsorship, syndication?
We’re opening up a Venice store on our website in another week, and the winner of the logo contest will have his or her logo on the products. Which is kind of exciting. And we have a lot of great artists submitting their music, and it’s fantastic stuff. So it’s been a wonderfully interactive experience. We want to help launch other artists as well. It’s sort of this intermingling that drives inspiration.