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When Social Media Meets TV, Are the Results Worth Watching? 106

Posted by timothy
from the officer-ben-sherman-hadn't-always-worn-a-tutu dept.
blackbearnh writes "Forums and chat groups are letting fans organize and discuss their favorite shows with increasing ease, but what happens when the writers and producers of TV shows start paying attention? An article in today's Christian Science Monitor takes a look at how the production staff of recent shows has interacted with their fan base, and how the fans are having an increasing influence on not only the popularity, but also the plot and characters."
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When Social Media Meets TV, Are the Results Worth Watching?

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  • Lost (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mws1066 (1057218) on Thursday March 22, 2012 @08:39AM (#39439757)
    When Lost was about to end, the various forums were abuzz with lots of ending ideas that all were about a hundred times better than the actual ending. Kinda wish they'd listened to fans in that case.
  • Re:Snakes on a Plane (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday March 22, 2012 @08:49AM (#39439887)

    It doesn't have to be so negative as that, though.

    For instance, I've wondered for the last 10 years or so what the fuck the people that cancelled Firefly were thinking. Ditto with the show Jericho [] from a few years ago. Both shows had massive outpourings of fan support but got cancelled anyway (Firefly was sabotaged from the outset, in my opinion).

    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone that didn't wonder what the hell goes on in these meetings where TV and Movie execs come up with their shit. More and more it seems like the good shows get axed, the good movie concepts end up in development hell, and only the crap ends up on both the Big Screen and the small one. Probably why I barely watch TV these days and haven't been to a movie in years...

  • Re:Bad idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday March 22, 2012 @09:18AM (#39440167)

    Several years ago I worked on a little movie called "The Alamo" with Billy Bob Thornton. After a few months we had an amazing cut, about three hours long- it was an epic, complex movie that didn't pull any punches about Texas history and gave complex renderings of all the historical characters.

    They scheduled a test screening in Austin so they could get a read on what people in Texas would make of it, and one of Harry Knowles's little minions from Ain't it Cool managed to plant himself in the audience an provide Harry with all the material he needed in order to write a scathing hit piece that accused the filmmakers of historical fraud, besmearching the honor of all Texans and being stupid Hollywood types looking down our noses at racist cracker hillbillies. (I don't think he ever actually saw the long cut of the film, I suspect that he was simply angry that he wasn't invited and didn't receive the emoluments to which he'd become accustomed.)

    Long story short, within a week of Harry's post, the plug was pulled on all efforts to finalize the film and post production was shut down for three months while the studio recut the movie, leaving it the bland, inoffensive and rather lame thing you can buy today on Amazon. Forums just make filmmaking more political, and politics generally ruins art.

  • Re:Snakes on a Plane (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dhalka226 (559740) on Thursday March 22, 2012 @09:26AM (#39440271)

    Maybe, but it's certainly not clear.

    Serenity, for example, did not even break even based on worldwide box office receipts. (It was very, very close -- but still under.) It went into the black with the DVD sales, but that is still a lackluster performance.

    Assuming that the TV series performed similarly--hovering around the break even mark--it's a pretty easy decision to cancel it. Ordinarily I am fine with things breaking even: For a business, as an example, breaking even means you paid all your vendors, all your employees and all your expenses; it's dangerous territory in that there is no room for expansion or regression, but a lot of good can be done by "only" breaking even.

    But it's not quite the same with a TV show, because it's not just about the show itself. Rather, one has to factor in the opportunity cost of taking up the extremely finite set of (valuable) time slots that the show takes. Making $10MM on a show sounds good unless you're told you could be making $30MM by airing some other show instead.

    Would it have done better? Yes. Would it have done better enough to avoid cancellation? It's an open question, certainly not "pretty obvious" one way or another. $39MM at the box office is a poor showing.

    Before anybody has a fit, I actually liked Firefly and Serenity, I simply realize that my liking something doesn't mean large numbers of other people like it. In my fact liking a show typically serves as a death knell. (Sorry folks.)

  • Re:Snakes on a Plane (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Thursday March 22, 2012 @09:38AM (#39440375)

    Actually, now that I think about it, Star Trek almost suffered the same fate. They tried to cancel that show after every season, it wasn't the moneymaker that The Powers That Be wanted, and look at the franchise today. Four subsequent TV series, Eleven Feature Films (with a twelfth on the way), countless's a billion dollar franchise today.

    I truly believe if they would have stuck with the show it would have been just as successful, but everything's instant gratification these days. If a show doesn't capture enormous ratings and millions of dollars in ad revenue from the start, it's doomed. They gave Firefly, what, 3 whole months? Star Trek: The Next Generation's first season was a flaming pile of shit and that show lasted 7 fucking years and spawned four feature films...I wonder how their early ratings compared to Firefly's?

  • Re:Snakes on a Plane (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 22, 2012 @11:47AM (#39442101) Homepage Journal

    And I've seen "Snooki" t-shirts.


"Don't think; let the machine do it for you!" -- E. C. Berkeley