lonelygirl15 was an interactive web-based video series which began in June 2006 and ran through to August 1, 2008. Developed under the working title The Children of Anchor Cove, (by the creators of what later became EQAL) the show gained worldwide media attention when it was outed as fictional in September 2006.
Lonelygirl15 focused on the life of a fictional teenage girl named Bree, whose YouTube username was the eponymous "lonelygirl15". However, the show did not initially reveal its fictional nature to its audience. After the fictional status of the show was revealed in September 2006, it gradually evolved into a multi-character series including both character videoblogs and action sequences, with a complex story universe involving "trait positive girls" who are sought by an evil organization called "The Order".
Lonelygirl15 first came to international attention ostensibly as a "real" video blogger who had achieved massive popularity on YouTube. The show was eventually proved as a hoax by suspicious viewers who identified the actress playing Bree as 19-year old American-New Zealand actress Jessica Rose.
The three creators of Lonelygirl15 were Mesh Flinders, a screenwriter and filmmaker from Marin County, California, Miles Beckett, a surgical residency dropout turned filmmaker, and Greg Goodfried, a former attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, LLP.
The series began on June 16, 2006, and was slated to run through August 1, 2008. New videos appeared, eventually at a clip of four to five a week, first on YouTube and lg15.com, and later on MySpace. As of July 2008, the series had more than 110 million combined views.
Lonelygirl15 has generated a number of spin-off shows. Its first, the British-based KateModern, ran from July 2007 through June 2008 on Bebo, and took place in the same fictional universe.
Along with Amanda Goodfried, an attorney who worked with Creative Arts Agency (CAA), the creators of lonelygirl15 created LG15 Studios to produce original interactive content online. LG15 Studios became EQAL in April 2008, with receipt of $5 million in venture capital to expand their offerings.
The Lonelygirl15 finale took place on August 1, 2008, and included a teaser for EQAL's next spinoff, LG15: The Resistance, which ran through December 2008.
Since 2009, EQAL has aired two more spinoff series which are produced by contest winners, including LG15: The Last, which started airing in January 2009, and LG15: Outbreak, which began in January 2010.
A Polish Lonelygirl15 spin-off under title N1ckola started in January 2009.
It has also been announced a new series will take place in Italy with a partnership between EQAL and CBS. Also, a Japanese series will take place with a partnership between EQAL and Shinto Tsushin.
After the hoax was discoveredJessica Rose participated in a United Nations campaign in 2006, to fight poverty through an online anti-poverty video. Rose portrayed the lonelygirl15 character as she sat by herself in her bedroom talking to the camera. The subject matter in the video focused on poverty relief, which breaks from the regular subject matter of the show. The video was posted on an alternate account, separate from the main channel.
On November 20, 2006, lonelygirl15.com announced that the spin-off OpAphid was the official Alternate Reality Game of lonelygirl15. OpAphid began in late September with what many speculated was a well-produced fan effort, and this announcement merges its characters OpAphid, Tachyon, and 10033/Brother, into the series storyline and continuity. In early February 2007, it was revealed that Glenn Rubenstein was the original Puppet Master behind the OpAphid Alternate Reality Game and also the creator of its characters, OpAphid, Tachyon, and Brother. Due to internal issues between the Creators and Glenn, OpAphid is no longer the official ARG.
A 2006 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent was "inspired" by the lonelygirl15 phenomenon. The episode "Weeping Willow" featured a blogger named weepingwillow17, played by Michelle Trachtenberg (who starred in Buffy as the character Dawn Summers). Willow and her boyfriend were kidnapped by men in black who demanded her fans donate money to a website to save their lives. The investigators did not know if Willow was real or fake. Various other video bloggers were also seen decrying weepingwillow as a fake, just like many did on YouTube. The site on the episode was named YouLenz.