Jaleel White: ‘The World Can Be Our Focus Group in Terms of the Internet’

CAPTION: "If you don't like some aspect of an episode, put it up on the comments board!" Jaleel (above) instructs us.

"If you don't like some aspect of an episode, put it up on the comments board!" Jaleel (above) instructs us.

Jaleel White, who was – and remains – adored by millions as uber-nerd Steve Urkel on ABC’s Family Matters, is ditching the airwaves for cyberspace.

Interviewed on TV Talk, Jaleel says it’s the sorry state of the medium that made him a star that drove him to take refuge in digitaldom.

“It was funnier than anything I’d read for TV this season,” he tells host Shaun Daily of the script for his new online sitcom, Road to the Altar, which premiered June 15.

“That’s what people don’t really understand: The material for TV is just getting watered down and watered down.

“I had to take a step back and say, ‘J, where are you getting your laughs from these days?’

“I get my laughs from stuff people forward me, or, quite honestly, cable-channel reality shows. So I realized, just with that combination in itself, that I had to do the project,” the funnyman, 32, continues.

CAPTION: I don't! On set with costars Leyna Webber (left) and Tara Ochs.

I don't! On set with co-stars Leyna Webber (left) and Tara Ochs.

Jaleel also applauds empowering nature of digital media.

“What we did represents the type of comedy that I would like to see more of in the future.

“The world can be our focus group in terms of the Internet. We don’t need four executives standing in the way.”

To hear Jaleel’s full interview, click here.

To watch Road to the Altar, click here.

3 thoughts on “Jaleel White: ‘The World Can Be Our Focus Group in Terms of the Internet’

  1. L.E.

    From a consumer’s perspective sounds like Jaleel is aware of things the industry can now begin to address more fully. The current or remaining tv/ad model is somewhat of a dinosaur. It has to go. The public & I imagine those in the fore of television (actors, directors, producers, etc.) seem to be realizing that it just does not work anymore:

    DVR’s give people the power to bypass ads. It is written that shows that are available on legit sites like Hulu do not really get counted in Nielsen ratings [which are questionable anyway, esp. these days]. And we just learned that advertising sales [poor ones] literally rule over tv viewer ratings. Some kind of gap there. Sadly also there are, naturally, few coveted time slots available – so a series is often aired when an ideal ‘targeted’ demographic is generally not even at home to watch. For instance: why air certain shows on Friday nights when teens or the early twenty-somethings are likely not at home? And these factors do not seem to be diminishing:

    1) Many of us do not buy or want many of the products advertised during our favorite show times anyway.

    2) The internet is growing by the millisecond: There is no slowing down of rogue or torrent sites that allow free viewings and downloads of films & television – both old & new.

    Technology is quickly bypassing the old-school conditions, allowing for the not so ideal outcomes. But actors & various others in the business will have increasingly more choices & more control over their own careers. Early days still and indeed there may be career-casualties in the process – but those who are willing to expand their beliefs about what is possible will be the ones who survive this fulcrum of change. Good for Jaleel White for his willingness to step outside the box and look around at the infinite potential of his options


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