Brad Bell (producer)

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Brad Bell
Brad Bell Cheeks Husbands Creator.jpg
Bell in 2012
Born Bradley C. Bell
(1985-10-04) October 4, 1985 (age 31)
Dallas, Texas, United States
Other names Cheeks
Occupation Producer, writer, actor, musician
Years active 2006–present

Bradley C. "Brad" Bell (born October 4, 1985) is an American television producer and screenwriter, actor, musician, and comic book author. He is best known as co-creator and showrunner of the acclaimed web series Husbands, in which he also stars. He has also released three electronic EPs, and penned the comic book series Husbands: The Comic, based on his web series.

Early life[edit]

Brad Bell was born in Dallas, Texas. Early on, Bell identified as an artist, spending his childhood convinced that the road to success would start in Los Angeles.[1] Upon moving to Hollywood, Bell studied film at Los Angeles City College and later became a graduate of The Second City Training Center.[2]


Early work[edit]

In 2008, he started his own YouTube channel, on behalf of which Bell created the "sugar coated satirical persona" named 'Cheeks'.[3] As Cheeks, Bell wrote and performed critical commentary on celebrities, pop culture and politics. A fanbase was rapidly growing and Bell's reputation began to take form.[1] As a satirist, Bell follows a philosophy described by organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize, "first make people laugh, and then make them think".[4][5]

One journalist writes of Bell's persona, "under all the glitter and glitz, Cheeks is an incisive, intelligent talent who couches his social criticism in showbiz flair, because he knows what works".[6] Though Cheeks' signature style of exuberance led some to deride it as a stereotype, Bell counters, "[If] you're not going to watch me long enough to figure out that there's more to me than my fabulousness, you're of the exact same mentality as the people you're worried are going to judge you based on my behavior".[7]


Bell caught the attention of television writer Jane Espenson when she discovered his pointed dissection of Carrie Prejean's public response to a question of marriage equality, during the 2009 Miss USA pageant.[8] Speaking to Out in August 2012, Espenson said, "I was curious – who was this person who had at his age accumulated writing skills that had taken me 20 years?"[9] The two developed a friendship that eventually resulted in creating the newlywed sitcom Husbands.[10] The first season of Husbands was shot in August 2011, and premiered to critical praise,[11] including The New Yorker's first ever review of an online series, in which Bell was hailed as "the standout, a confident flibbertigibbet who regards himself as a modern Blanche DuBois".[12]

The "crackling cultural commentary" of Bell's early YouTube work echoed in Husbands,[9] lauded by Time magazine as a "much more complex and interesting story about changing mores and the conflict between individuals and social causes than, say, the pilot of NBC's The New Normal".[13]

Espenson–a frequent collaborator of Joss Whedon–noted, "Brad has the showrunner gene", and said that Bell's work as an executive producer on Husbands reminded her of the famed Avengers director,[14] adding, "If there is a Joss Whedon among us, it's Brad Bell".[15] Whedon himself has been a "fan of [Brad]", since Bell's performance in The Golden Guys, an adaptation of The Golden Girls with young men in the leads, hosted at Whedon's residence during a private party.[16]

The series was expanded in the form of a six-issue digital comic book series called Husbands: The Comic, published by Dark Horse Comics.[17][18] Bell's work on Husbands inspired Jane Espenson to include the Buffyverse's first gay male slayer in season nine of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[19]

Bell wrote an article in The Huffington Post about unoriginal aspects of storytelling, saying "Maybe instead of avoiding the cliché, we can somehow reinvent the wheel", to which he concludes, "Husbands, both as a sitcom and as a comic book, embraces clichés, stereotypes and tropes to make a point: Most old ideas are only as meaningless or as negative as their context. Few of these notions are intrinsically detrimental, as the judgements we attach to them exist only in our minds".[20]

Television paradigm[edit]

Bell originated the concept that the word "television" is better suited for the Internet than traditional broadcast media, and was invited to speak at Google on August 17, 2012, to elaborate on his observation:

Television is a hybrid word, Greek and Latin. 'Tele' meaning far and then 'vision' meaning, well obviously, vision...So, when you think of NBC, the 'far vision' is L.A. to New York...On the other hand, you upload something to YouTube and within minutes... Tokyo.

In addition to this linguistic examination, Bell pointed out that television is defined as a telecommunication medium. He goes on to say, "As anyone who's ever been in a relationship knows, communication is a two-way street". Because communication requires both parties to interact with each other, Bell reasons that the Internet better fulfills the criteria for television than a broadcast platform. He sums this idea up by concluding, "the Internet is more television than television".[21][22]

Bell elaborated more on the issue:

Oddly though, the standards by which people define television isn't the platform. They just think it is. For example, Orange Is the New Black is a television show, right? I would say yes. But, by platform specifications, it's a web series. Why? Because it's delivered via the Internet, either on your computer, tablet or set-top boxes and smart TVs. Cable and broadcast (which have actually both been the same platform for years, digital) is a different platform than the one delivering Netflix or YouTube. [...] The term web-series is irrelevant, because the platforms are irrelevant. It's all television now. It's just a matter of professional television versus amateur hour. The Internet is not "the future of television." Neither are the two slowly merging. That's already happened. It's only the perception of the public that lags behind.[23]

Other work[edit]

Bell's work in music started in 2008, co-writing and performing the title track for horror short film Side Effect.[24] This success was followed by the release of three EPs; The Boy From Venus (2008),[25][26] Glambition (2009)[27][28] and T.C.M.C. (2010),[29][30] along with a collection of ringtones, 2009's Put a Ringtone on It.[31] Bell has also worked as consulting producer for VH1's Pop-Up Video.[32]

Television credits[edit]

Series Episode number Title Credit Original air date
Husbands 1.1 "Waking Up in Vegas" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 13, 2011
1.2 "We Can't Be Married" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 15, 2011
1.3 "Being Britney!" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 20, 2011
1.4 "A Decent Proposal" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 22, 2011
1.5 "IDEHTW" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 27, 2011
1.6 "Haley, The Life Coach" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 29, 2011
1.7 "Normal People" Writer (with Jane Espenson) October 4, 2011
1.8 "This Together Thing" Writer (with Jane Espenson) October 6, 2011
1.9 "Instant Love" Writer (with Jane Espenson) October 11, 2011
1.10 "Return of the Zebra" Writer (with Jane Espenson) October 13, 2011
1.11 "Winky Face" Writer (with Jane Espenson) October 18, 2011
2.1 "Appropriate Is Not the Word" Writer (with Jane Espenson) August 15, 2012
2.2 "The Straightening" Writer (with Jane Espenson) August 29, 2012
2.3 "A Better Movie of What We're Like" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 12, 2012
3.1 "I Do Over – Part 1" Writer (with Jane Espenson) August 15, 2013
3.2 "I Do Over – Part 2" Writer (with Jane Espenson) August 22, 2013
3.3 "I Do Over – Part 3" Writer (with Jane Espenson) August 29, 2013
3.4 "I Dream of Cleaning – Part 1" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 19, 2013
3.5 "I Dream of Cleaning – Part 2" Writer (with Jane Espenson) September 26, 2013
3.6 "I Dream of Cleaning – Part 3" Writer (with Jane Espenson) October 3, 2013

Production credits[edit]

Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Producer Writer Actor
2006 Why Can't I Be You? No No Yes Himself Episode: "#1.6"
2008 Side Effect Yes No No N/A Associate producer
2009 Lushes No No Yes Basil Short film
2010 Front Men Yes No Yes Cheeks Executive producer
2011 Torchwood: Miracle Day No No Yes Nurse Chris Episode: "The Categories of Life"
2011–2013 Husbands Yes Yes Yes Cheeks Co-creator, 20 episodes as writer and executive producer
2012 Pop-Up Video Yes No No N/A Consulting producer
2014 Spring Cleaning No Yes No N/A Short film


Year Award Award category Title of work Result Ref.
2012 Indie Soap Awards Best Actor (Comedy) Husbands Nominated [33]
Best Writing (Comedy) Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson) Nominated
Webby Awards Best Writing Nominated [34]
2013 International Academy of Web Television Best Writing (Comedy) Nominated [35]
Streamy Awards Best Male Performance: Comedy Husbands Nominated [36][37]
Personality of the Year Nominated
Indie Soap Awards Best Actor (Comedy) Husbands Won [38]
Best Writing (Comedy) Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson) Won
2014 Writers Guild of America Awards Short Form New Media – Original Husbands episodes "I Do Over Part 1–2" (shared with Jane Espenson) Nominated [39]
International Academy of Web Television Best Male Performance in a Comedy Husbands Won [40]
Best Writing (Comedy) Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson) Won
Best Ensemble Performance Husbands (shared with Sean Hemeon) Won
Indie Series Awards Best Writing – Comedy Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson) Nominated [41]
Best Lead Actor – Comedy Husbands Won
Streamy Awards Writing Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson) Nominated [42]


  1. ^ a b Don't Know "Cheeks?" Let Brad Bell Tell You All About Him!,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  2. ^ Brad Bell,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  3. ^ Web Series Knockouts From 'ElfQuest' to Jane Austen,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  4. ^ About The Ig® Nobel Prizes,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  5. ^ Husbands: Behind the Scenes EP 4,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  6. ^ Jane Espenson and Cheeks Discuss Writing Husbands,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  7. ^ Exclusive Interview: Brad "Cheeks" Bell chats HUSBANDS THE SERIES,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  8. ^ Jane Espenson's Web Series Husbands at Meltdown's Nerdist Panel: Taking the Gay Sitcom to Another Universe,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  9. ^ a b Meet Brad Bell & Sean Hemeon, America's freshest comedy duo.,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  10. ^ The Starter Marriage,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  11. ^ PRESS,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  12. ^ Warming Trend,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  13. ^ Husbands: Do You Take These Men? We Do!,, August 16, 2012, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  14. ^ Jane Espenson's 'Husbands' To Feature Whedonverse Favorites,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  15. ^ Five by Five w/ Jane Espenson Ep. 11,, retrieved October 24, 2012 
  16. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (July 15, 2012), Comic-Con 2012: Joss Whedon Starring in Jane Espenson Series 'Husbands' (Exclusive),, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  17. ^ EXCLUSIVE: 'Husbands' Comic Art Revealed,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  18. ^ 'Husbands' Becomes A Comic – Exclusive Photo,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  19. ^ Portwood, Jerry (September 10, 2012), EXCLUSIVE: Buffyverse Gets Its First Gay Male Slayer,, retrieved September 11, 2012 
  20. ^ Bell, Brad (December 13, 2012), You're Just Like a Million Others, Snowflake,, retrieved December 16, 2012 
  21. ^ Brad Bell and Jane Espenson – Inventing Television,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  22. ^ Brad Bell and Jane Espenson – Inventing Television: How Husbands Fully Realizes the Promise,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  23. ^ Lewis, Tim (April 3, 2014). "Creating in the Digital Age: A Q&A with Brad Bell". Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  24. ^ Side Effect – Credit List (PDF),, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  25. ^ The Boy From Venus by Cheeks,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  26. ^ The Boy From Venus (Single),, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  27. ^ MORE ABOUT CHEEKS,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  28. ^ Glambition (CD),, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  29. ^ T.C.M.C. (CD),, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  30. ^ T.C.M.C. (EP),, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  31. ^ Put a Ringtone on It,, retrieved October 25, 2012 
  32. ^ "High Profile "Husbands" Renews Its Vows". Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  33. ^ "NOMINATIONS: 3rd Annual Indie Soap Awards". Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  34. ^ "16th Annual Webby Awards Nominees". Archived from the original on April 12, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  35. ^ "International Academy of Web Television Announces Nominees for the 2nd Annual IAWTV Awards". Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  36. ^ "3rd Annual Nominees". Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  37. ^ Ng, Philiana. "Streamy Awards Unveils Audience Choice Nominees and Presenters". Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  38. ^ "WINNERS: 4th Annual Indie Soap Awards". Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  39. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (December 5, 2013). "Writers Guild Awards: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange is the New Black' Among TV Nominations". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  40. ^ "IAWTV ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS NOMINATIONS". December 13, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  41. ^ Newcomb, Roger (April 3, 2014). "5th Annual Indie Series Awards: Complete List of Winners". Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  42. ^ "4th Annual Streamy Awards Nominees". Retrieved August 19, 2014. 

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