April Fools Day Prank 2014
The tale of how Misha - a master prankster - got punked!
On April Fool's Day 2014, an article appeared on TV Fanatic by Laura Prudom, quoting from a press release that SuperSleepy had been picked up by Hulu. SuperSleepy was a TV series conceived of in twitter conversations between Supernatural Writer Robbie Thompson and Sleepy Hollow Actor Orlando Jones in 2013. The press release read :
- BURBANK, Calif. (April 1, 2014) — An unlikely pairing will come to life on popular streaming website Hulu as Supernatural star Misha Collins and Sleepy Hollow fan favorite Orlando Jones join forces in a unique and unexpected limited series.
- After lengthy negotiations, the OTT (over-the-top) streaming video subscription service, Sleepy Hollow producer 20th Century Fox TV, and Supernatural producer Warner Brothers Television, have reached a licensing agreement for a spinoff from the two acclaimed drama series.
- The untitled spinoff series, codenamed SuperSleepy, has been in the works for months.
- It centers on two of the breakout supporting characters from the respective series, Sleepy Hollow's Captain Frank Irving (Jones), the by-the-book police captain who was last seen confessing to a murder he did not commit, and Supernatural's Castiel, an angel who fell from heaven and works alongside the Winchester Brothers to protect humanity from the battle between heaven and hell.
- Conceived by Supernatural writer/producer Robbie Thompson - along with actors Jones and Collins, who inspired the idea through a series of humorous tweets about the proposed series - the spinoff will be a standalone 13 episode series that will focus on the relationship between the two characters after Collins' character appears in Sleepy Hollow while Jones' Captain Irving is in an asylum under heavy sedation.
Misha and Orlando both tweeted about the series, although Misha later confirmed it was an April Fools Day joke. As it turned out, Misha himself had been pranked by CW Head of Publicity Suzanne Gomez, as he revealed on his Facebook page which you can read below:
How my April Fools' prank went horribly wrong...
I can over think things. Lately I’ve been a bit anxious: Do I have a job next year or don't I? So when Orlando Jones [@theorlandojones] called me last week and asked if I wanted to join in his April Fools’ prank, stating that he and I would be starring in a new double-spinoff series—an amalgamation of Supernatural and Sleepy Hallow called SuperSleepy—I gave him a qualified "yes." I said, "it's a great idea, but let me make sure the network isn’t going to be pissed at me, because I know they are getting pestered by fans about whether I have a future on Supernatural and I want to make sure I’m not pissing any network brass off." (We were on the phone at the time, but I could tell Orlando rolled his eyes.) I then ran his idea by the VP of Publicity at the CW, Suzanne Gomez (@chico6) who told me that as long as we didn't mention any executive's names in our faux press release, I should be okay.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing: LAME! Checking with bosses before an April Fools’ prank?! I’m not proud of it, but that’s what I did.
We launched the scheme with the help of an online TV journalist, Laura Prudom [@LauInLA], who was willing to compromise her journalistic integrity for the sake of a good prank. Laura published the story on TVFanatic.com as a real news piece on April 1st. Orlando and I also played it off as a legit news story on our Twitter feeds as did Robbie Thomson [@rthompson1138], the Supernatural writer who may or may not have coined the term “SuperSleepy.”
Orlando penned a genius faux press release, which we Laura posted in full with a little commentary. We launched the prank at 5pm EST, by which time everyone was already on-guard regarding the first of April. So it met with something of a fizzle, sadly. 9 out of 10 posts I saw on twitter said, “I’d love to watch the new series, if it wasn’t April Fools’!” Oh, well. We had fun. We’ll get you next time.
Then I got an email. From Roman Browne. Before you read it, you should know that “Mark Pedowitz” is the President of the CW Network. This is the email:
Mark Pedowitz has expressed some concern and would like to speak with you in regards to the press release you put out earlier today. I have him calling in from NY in about 15-mins. Are you available to speak with him then?
Please confirm, thanks.
Roman Browne Office of Mark Pedowitz President, The CW Network 3300 W Olive Ave, 3rd Floor Burbank, CA 91505
It was instantly clear to me what the call was about. I’m going to get fired. Mark has never called me before. At least there will be some finality here. At least I’ll know that it’s over.
I immediately got online, opened my twitter and retweeted myself (something I didn’t previously know was possible) with the added comment, “April Fools’!’” With one swift click of the mouse flushing the whole prank and along with it, my prank-mates Orlando and Laura down the toilet. I had to. It was a preemptive apology to my boss’s boss, Mr. Pedowitz. When I talked to him I wanted to be able to say, “I already put that one to rest. Sorry about that. Let me know how I can make it right.”
My wife and I were just starting to put the kids to sleep but I said, “honey, I’ve need a few minutes. The president of the network is calling to fire me for that that stupid April Fools’ tweet.” “Okay,” She said, kicking into triage mode, “I’ll handle them!” I then called Mark’s assistant, Roman Browne. The phone rang, and he picked up, “Mark Pedowitz office,” the voice said. “Hi.” I said, “This is misha collins [lowercase intentional] I just got an email from you?” “Misha,” Roman said, “Please hold for Mark Pedowitz.” Oh my God! I waited. At this point, I’m standing in the yard so the call wouldn’t be interrupted by screaming children. My heart’s pounding in my chest. A woman’s voice came on: “Misha?” Me: “Yes?” “Hi, it’s Suzanne…. April Fools’!”
This is why I don’t trust VPs of Publicity. They trick me and make me look stupid. My self-loathing was only counterbalanced by my empathetic glee at Suzanne’s treachery. She got me good.