July 20, 2023
San Francisco-based startup Fable has raised the curtain on its research involving “AI Showrunner” technology, an app it’s calling SHOW-1. As part of an ongoing project dubbed “The Simulation,” Fable is proffering demonstration footage of how SHOW-1 can generate episodes of the animated television show “South Park,” inserting anyone as the star. Fable claims its Showrunner system generates more than just scripts and dialogue, but can animate, add vocal performances and edit full episodes based on something as basic as a two-sentence prompt.
“People said AI can’t tell a story. Well, it can,” Fable CEO Edward Saatchi is quoted saying on VentureBeat.
In tweeting about the availability of a research piece on Generative TV & Showrunner Agents, Fable was careful to note “we used ‘South Park’ for research only — we won’t be releasing ability to make your own ‘South Park’ episodes — not our IP!”
Fable has, however, “released AI episodes of ‘South Park’ as an example of the technology’s power,” according to VentureBeat, which cites an episode in which Saatchi inserted himself as the pursuer in “a ‘Fatal Attraction’-style affair with Cartman.” (No word on what Paramount Global has to say about that or “South Park,” both of which it controls.)
“This paper is just the beginning — imagine a world where fans can put themselves in their favorite shows, create new episodes and compete to create the best episodes ever made or a world where creators can use the AI Showrunner to make their own original shows,” Saatchi told VentureBeat.
Saatchi says SHOW-1 isn’t being released commercially (yet), though the company does offer what it calls “pro grade motion tools” at fable.app. and notes the company is not in talks with the creators of “South Park,” who made a little history themselves by admitting they used ChatGPT to “help” write an episode called “Deep Learning” that parodies artificial intelligence.
Saatchi says in VentureBeat that Fable is in talks with “several” other studios “as well as creators to make original IP” and “will be announcing several original IP simulations with attached AI TV shows later this year — a space exploration sci-fi simulation, a satire of Silicon Valley simulation and a detective simulation.”
VentureBeat reports that Fable “originally started as a division of Oculus under Facebook (now Meta)” and made virtual reality films that won a couple of Emmys and a Peabody Award. The company officially launched in December 2021, at which point it had raised $22 million in funding.
AI Put Me in a ‘South Park’ Episode, Engadget, 7/18/23
Maybe Showing Off an AI-Generated Fake TV Episode During a Writers’ Strike Is a Bad Idea, TechCrunch, 7/18/23
New Showrunner AI: The Sum of All Hollywood’s Fears, Forbes, 7/18/23