Today’s edition of Rocketboom will be filed under the, “no really, we can keep a show going without the star who put us on the map.” Andrew Baron, what possibly could have pushed you to place yourself in such a PR nighmare?
The news is everywhere! Techcrunch reported that Congdon was fired, Valleywag dedicated a dozen entries to the subject. Donna Bogatin from Digital Micro-Markets Blog summarized it this way, “From Rocketboom to UnBoomed: Web 2.0 partnership fizzles out.” Office Pirates posted an incredibly hilarious report on Amanda’s replacement . Transparent Agenda captured it best with this clever comic…
BusinessWeek is also reporting that the split appears to be a classic case of creative differences “exacerbated by business pressures.” This underlying tension was heightened by the fact that Rocketboom was still trying to get on its feet financially. Though the show is produced for an unbelievable $20 a day, not including labor costs or salaries. This spring, Rocketboom made news when it sold a week’s worth of ads through eBay (EBAY ) for $40,000 (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/10/06, “What’s Rocketboom Worth? $40,000?”).
Congdon’s long-stated desire to move to Los Angeles, where she planned to pursue her acting career while working on Rocketboom, brought their differences to a head, according to the pair. The timing of this move and discussions over Congdon’s involvement with the show were something the two couldn’t resolve—even after mediated discussions.
Now, the fate of Rocketboom is very much up in space. Congdon and Baron worked together from the start on the show, filming it initially in Baron’s Upper West Side apartment. Baron hired Congdon, a New York actress who appeared as a coat-check girl on NBC’s popular show The Restaurant in 2004, to be the host, after finding her through Craigslist.com. But she soon began writing and producing, and now owns 49% of the show.
According to the Rocketboom homepage, “Amanda Congdon has decided to move to L.A. to pursue opportunities that have arisen for her in Hollywood. Andrew Baron, the founder and creator of Rocketboom, will stay with the company in New York and will continue to produce and direct the show. We are in the daunting process of recruiting a replacement for Amanda.”
Amanda’s response was long and heartfelt, “I am disheartened by Andrew Baron’s decision to spread misinformation. He knows I cannot move to LA without a job…but insists on spinning things this way to shore up his assertion that I am “walking away” from Rocketboom. I did not walk away. I did not accept Andrew’s idea of “partnership.”
She ended the series of never-ending comments with, “I’m closing comments on this post. I’m exhausted. Think I’ll head to the beach :)” – acknowledging that she needed a tan.
The CEO of Weblogs wrote a public offer to hire Amanda as the news was breaking. This was one of many. According to Congdon, the offers are rolling in, although she is still evaluating her options. Congdon says she will hire a lawyer to figure out how to resolve the ownership issue.
Perhaps Rocketboom was only the launch pad for Ms. Amanda Congdon’s real rocketship ride. I’m sure there will be more to report as the days go by.
For PR 2.0, this is Brian Solis, signing off.
Drama: Amanda Congdon and Andrew Baron
Comedy: Office Pirates and Transparent Agenda