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This Just In: MSM Discovers Online TV Communities July 8, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

A fun — if pretty late to the party (the “Rescue Me” story is played) — story in the Times today about online TV communities and fan-creator interaction. What this has to do with YouTube, MySpace, iTunes, and broadband is beyond me. Maybe the reporter, or her editor, is trying to get her link-count up.

    “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.

    “The Internet is going to turn television into the equivalent of AM radio,” he predicted. “People will be talking about their shows and watching their shows in the same place.”

Last I checked, the InterWeb was a teensy bit more fragmented than cable teevee. And doesn’t Duff know his cliches? The Internet is like CB radio, not AM radio. His metaphor doesn’t even work — nobody does anything but talk or listen to talk on AM radio. Other than 1010 WINS and some Spanish-language programming, does anyone actually listen to (non-talk) shows or sports on AM anymore? I thought that went out with transistor radios at the beach…

Duff is not clueless. Maybe semi-clued. Heck, he writes a blog Hollywood-pat-on-the-back-happy online journal. (But he writes it for TV Guide.)

He’s no Rob Thomas.

    …Rob Thomas, the creator and executive producer of “Veronica Mars” and one of the few such “show runners” to post openly on the Web site’s forums, said in an interview that Television Without Pity functioned “as a big focus group.”

    “They’re very intense fans,” he added, “the really devoted ones.”

    But, Mr. Thomas added ruefully, as viewer response to “Veronica Mars” became more critical in the show’s second season, the experience of reading the site was “like being in a room with a thousand ex-girlfriends,” he said.

    “The new shine wore off,” he added.

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