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'Friends' creator finds WIGS channel a good fit

'Friends' creator finds WIGS channel a good fit

September 30th, 2012 by LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer in News

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Writer-producer Marta Kauffman could rest on her "Friends" laurels. Instead, she's delving into the online series world to explore offbeat material and a new role.

Kauffman turned official first-time director for "Georgia," a short Web series about a warmhearted yoga instructor-therapist who needs to heal herself when it comes to romance and family.

"Georgia," with Mary Elizabeth Ellis ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") as the title character and Harold Perrineau ("Lost," ''Sons of Anarchy") as her fiance, is on the WIGS YouTube channel. Each of the three episodes runs between five to eight minutes.

"It was so much fun," Kauffman said of the series, which she wrote and directed. "It was a little bit like guerrilla television. We shot seven pages (of script) a day, and that's a lot."

WIGS, which launched last March, is the brainchild of two high-profile filmmakers, Jon Avnet ("Black Swan," ''Fried Green Tomatoes") and Rodrigo Garcia ("Albert Nobbs," TV's "In Treatment"), who are turning the spotlight on women.

The lineup on WIGS (an acronym for the tag line "Where it gets interesting") includes original series, short films and documentaries. All feature lead female characters and stories that the channel promises will be provocative and "addictive."

Avnet and Garcia "want to do grittier, edgier stories about women than you normally see," both dramatic and comedic, Kauffman said.

"This was an opportunity to tell stories about many different women," she said of their channel. "Younger, older, whatever the writer wanted to bring to it."

In her case, Kauffman said, it also allowed her to assume a director's full arsenal.

"I'm not going to say this was a lifelong dream. But in the process of reinventing myself after 'Friends,' I did a version of directing without the camera stuff for many, many years," she said. "So I was really thrilled to get a chance to do it for real."

Kauffman and David Crane created "Friends," the NBC hit that aired from 1994 to 2004.

Others actresses featured on WIGS include Jennifer Garner, Jena Malone, Virginia Madsen, America Ferrera and Julia Stiles. Besides Perrineau, actors who are appearing include Alfred Molina and Stephen Moyer.

New episodes debut Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the channel.