Interesting Article in the NYT last week about the emerging interaction btw mainstream television and its internet fans.
Here's an excerpt referring to a recent exchange btw the exec producer of "Rescue Me" and the fans on Television Without Pity:
That type of controversy might have been easier for writers and producers like Mr. Tolan to ignore in the past. Internet fans — and occasional writer interaction with them — have existed since the birth of the Internet, although until recently they were mostly confined to science-fiction or cult series, like 'Star Trek' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'
But in the age of widespread broadband access, iTunes video and video sites like Youtube.com, television viewers are migrating en masse to the Internet, looking not only to watch their favorite shows online but also for ways to discuss and engage with those shows.
As a result, the blogs, communities like livejournal.com and message boards devoted to television shows are becoming more popular — and mainstream — forums for viewer discussion and feedback. And the people behind the shows have taken note. 'As fractured as the media market has become, the Internet has become a great means of rising above the noise,' said James Duff, the creator and executive producer of 'The Closer' on TNT.
Television property owners need to be thinking about entertainment that leverages these fans - podcasts, video diaries, message boards - all that's great, but we need to have a strategy to deliver actual entertainment through this medium.
Lost does a good job of that, 24 has done some, but the real opportunity right now is with reality programming. I think this particular genre is reaching a oversaturation point, b/c it's so much cheaper to produce than other television programming.
But if you can intermix what's on tv with what's online in a way that allows internet viewers a more complete and insider view of what's going on, you could really have something interesting and attractive to viewers. The reality programming, at least the doc style stuff, promises to reveal what's behind the curtain in a given person's life - be they a celebrity, bounty hunter or a custom motorcycle designer. With good internet programming, the same show can reveal what's behind the curtain in making a reality program, giving audiences a bigger stake in the action and much more content to consume.
Just a thought.