TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.


Trial and Error

September 2008 Archives

Web Video Twitter Addicts

September 30, 2008 10:18 AM

No one, it seems, can resist the allure of Twitter. Certainly not Web producers, and certainly not their characters.

In fact, in the Sept. 29 installment of NBC.com’s Rosario Dawson vehicle “Gemini Division,” a Twitter backstory converged with the actual episode.

Here’s what I mean.

About a month ago, the show introduced two characters, M&M and Walken, via Twitter before they were set to appear on the series.

Those characters then lived their lives via Twitter “revealing their dysfunctional relationship and a storyline that would slowly converge with the series arc,” said the show’s executive producer Brent Friedman

The producers developed a following for each character when they started using the terms "gemini division" in their Twitter messages.

Now the Twitter-shared storyline has officially synched up with the actual on-air, or on-Web, storyline.

Even though the two stories have officially intersected, Mr. Friedman said he plans to continue the Twitter story a bit longer because it runs parallel to the series.

I’d embed the episode if I could, but “Gemini Division” doesn’t permit embeds. Still, I do think this is a cool way to integrate new media into the storytelling.

What do you think?

Emmy Fans Turned to Internet, Yahoo TV Stats Show

September 29, 2008 10:54 AM

Yahoo TV set traffic records for its Emmy coverage online, a sign that consumers increasingly are relying on the Web for news about the television business.

On Sept. 22, the day after the Emmys, Yahoo TV attracted 4.6 million unique visitors and 103 million page views, both records for that section of the site, Yahoo said.

“Generating 100 million page views in a day means that we are filling a big need for this content, that we understand what resonates with the TV viewing audience and are able to program and package to that in a compelling and timely way,” said Sibyl Goldman, VP of Yahoo Entertainment.”

With Emmy ratings down this year, the Yahoo TV data could be a sign that consumers are getting their Emmy fix from the Internet.

Apple Pies for Everyone!

September 26, 2008 10:00 AM

How big is the $700 billion financial bailout being proposed? One reporter says it’s enough money to buy 2,000 apple pies from McDonald’s for every American.


That was Jon Stewart’s reaction too on “The Daily Show” earlier this week. So check out this clip, especially for the punchline. I won’t give it away, but it has to do with tacos.

Making 'New Media Minute' Look Its Best

September 25, 2008 9:09 AM

Which version of "New Media Minute" looks better? Flickr or Blip?

The Internet is rife with video upload technologies, so as an experiment we uploaded this week’s episode of the "New Media Minute" to Flickr as well as to the show’s regular service, blip.tv. I know which one I think looks better. But I want your opinion!

Here is the Flickr version.


And here is the Blip one.

Showtime Gets Creative With Yahoo 'Dexter' Promos

September 24, 2008 10:37 AM

Showtime’s “Dexter” has made its mark not just by showing the other side of serial killers (who knew there was another side?), but also by harnessing online media in interesting ways to promote the show.

Last year, Showtime sifted through search term data to better understand how online consumers searched for information about the show and then tweaked its marketing accordingly.

Now, to promote “Dexter’s” Sunday season premiere, the network will launch an innovative online campaign on Yahoo starting Thursday.

As part of the marketing push, the network has created a cool semi-takeover ad for the Yahoo home page that slathers images of faux magazine covers featuring “Dexter” characters. You can see a preview here.

From that page you’ll then be able to click through to a “Dexterized” Yahoo page with advertorial content.

“Dexter” also will take over Yahoo Mail, so watch for a pool of blood when you log on.

In a nutshell, the Yahoo campaign is the online variation of Showtime’s major print tactic of having “Dexter” mimic the cover of many iconic magazines, which is out now. The creative agency behind the campaign is Mammoth Advertising and the media buy is by Initiative.

Bill O'Reilly Gets a Lesson in the Law

September 23, 2008 9:29 AM

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly schools colleague Bill O’Reilly when she explains the law behind hacking into emails and then posting those e-mails on a Web site. Because, as she says, the Web sites that posted Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s hacked e-mails will not face criminal charges or a successful civil suit. But Mr. O’Reilly is pretty darn adamant that the sites are wrong, wrong, wrong and even tries to convince his colleague.

Stay tuned for the argument between Ms. Kelly and Mr. O’Reilly—co-workers, they are co-workers, people!—over whether publishing stolen letters is against the law.

Thanks to Jonah Peretti at BuzzFeed who alerted me to this clip. It’s been rising in popularity since it landed on YouTube on Sept. 18 and now counts more than 100,000 views.

Web Series Goes Inside the VFX on 'Dark Knight'

September 22, 2008 7:00 AM

This is the final entry in my weeklong review of five Web shows suggested via Twitter and Facebook.

Today’s installment looks at “FXGuide.”

FXGuideTV is a mostly weekly nonfiction Web series produced by the Emmy-nominated Mike Seymour.

The show is designed to educate viewers on the business and the how-to of visual effects. Episodes have covered the latest developments and industry conferences, cutting-edge tools for production and behind-the-scenes on the making of visual effects for Hollywood blockbusters.

Episode 34 covers visual effects for mega-blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The show, which is chockfull of information, should appeal to visual artists and new-media producers alike who want to learn the business and the craft.

Web Shows: Green and Growing

September 19, 2008 7:00 AM

I’m on to the fourth day of my Web show reviews. Today I am looking at the ICN.tv show “We Grow Together.”

This latest show from Independent Comedy Network has a simple premise: Its hosts cover gardening with deadpan humor. The show has been described by TubeFilter News as “a Home and Garden show on acid.”

After watching the first episode, I’d second that assessment. With that in mind, I’d say the show most appeals to gardening aficionados, especially those who like their hoeing tips delivered with a little bit of spice.

This One Is for Dog Lovers

September 18, 2008 7:00 AM

We’re on to day three of my weeklong series of Web show reviews, based on suggestions submitted via Facebook and Twitter. Today I’m reviewing “Dog Files.”

“Dog Files,” as you can probably glean, is about dogs. The show is a nonfiction Web series that covers adoption, health and anything else you want to know about canines. Since it’s about pooches, it obviously appeals to people who like dogs.

The show has developed a strong reputation as a high-quality, hi-def Web show that embraces the best practices for Web production.

My one criticism is the show needs to release episodes more regularly. New installments come out once a month, but I’d like to see a weekly release schedule.

Bellying Up to Online 'Bar'

September 17, 2008 1:13 PM

My week of Web show reviews (submitted by Twitter/Facebook friends) continues!

Today I’m reviewing the first episode of “Two Guys Drinking at a Bar.”

I have to confess I have watched all the episodes of this show and I like that they are short. (Is the message getting through that I have a teensy attention span for online video?)

I’ve always enjoyed the punchline in this episode, when one of the stars says he had a dream about the girls in “High School Musical.” “Those girls are like 16 years old,” his buddy points out. “But in the dream so am I.” This show appeals to connoisseurs of one-liners, because that’s what the show is.

More Online Series Reviews

September 16, 2008 12:20 PM

Here is the third set of my Twitter Web show reviews.

The five shows being reviewed are “Scotty Iseri You Can Do Anything!,” “Two Guys Drinking at a Bar,” “Dog Files,” “We Grow Together” and “FXGuide.” I’ll post my reviews of each over the next five days, starting with “Scotty Iseri You Can do Anything!”

“Scotty Iseri You Can Do Anything!”
What’s not to like about a video blog that sends up the nightmare of cubicle existence? In a deep, throaty voice, the titular character croons about his new office job. The video was entertaining enough and short, clocking it at less than two minutes. The first episode held my interest; I’d tune into others. Fans of Rhett & Link might enjoy this video blog.

Tomorrow I’ll review “Two Guys Drinking at a Bar.”

Crackle Keeps 'Em Laughing With New Shows

September 15, 2008 12:05 PM

He made his bed before he became a movie star, he can make it after. That’s what Michael Stahl David of “Cloverfield” fame says in the premiere episode of “Michael Stahl David: Behind the Star,” a Web series that premiered on Crackle.com today.

The show is among a handful of new and returning Web series that Crackle launched today on its comedy channel. The others include “Dating Brad Garrett,” “The Groundlings,” “Gaytown,” “My Long Distance Relationship” and “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show.”

New episodes of these shows will premiere once a week.

Most of them were relatively easy to find on Crackle, but I often feel as if there is just something slightly off about many online video destinations that focus on shows. Like TheWB.com, navigation on Crackle is not 100% intuitive yet. What I mean is that you often have to click on more than one link, or conduct more than one search, and even then the options for shows are not always immediately clear.

Fey as Palin—Best Impersonation Ever

September 15, 2008 11:36 AM

And I thought Christina Aguilera was good when she did her impersonation of Samantha from “Sex and the City” on “Saturday Night Live” four years ago. But she has nothing on Tina Fey.

So in case you missed Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin on “SNL” this weekend, here you go.

Not 1 but 3 Winners in 'Click' Book Giveaway

September 12, 2008 10:01 AM

We don’t just have a winner—we have three!

On Wednesday I invited TelevisionWeek readers, Facebook friends and Twitter followers to submit their best five-word sentence on Internet searches in order to receive a free copy of Bill Tancer’s new book, “Click.”

I had been planning to give away my extra hardcover copy to only one winner. But when Bill checked out the entries, he offered up two additional copies, signed no less, because we enjoyed the submissions so much.

So I have decided—sort of by fiat, but hey, it’s my blog—to award two first-prize winners and an honorable mention. The honorable mention winner will receive my copy, while the first-prize recipients will receive the signed copies from the author.

The first-prize winners are the wordsmiths behind these statements:

Old girlfriends and boyfriends today

Your fingertips do the stalking

And the honorable mention goes to:

Never get bored ever again

You know who you are, so now you need to email me at DaisyWhitney at gmail with your mailing addresses!

And thanks for playing.

Survey Says: Viewers Most Eager for ‘Heroes’

September 11, 2008 3:35 PM

Since market research has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, I decided that anyone can really be a market researcher.

Like me!

So yesterday I conducted a survey on Twitter/Facebook asking which television shows people were most looking forward to watching this fall season.

“Heroes” generated the most responses, followed by “Lost.” Other shows cited were “House,” “Entourage” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

So there you go.

On another note, I will announce the winner of the “Click” book giveaway tomorrow.

'Click' Here to Enter Book Giveaway Contest

September 10, 2008 7:30 AM

In January, we named Hitwise research guru Bill Tancer to our 12 to Watch list at TelevisionWeek. The list looks at the 12 people we think will make news in the TV business in 2008.

A quote from that article is now on the book jacket of Mr. Tancer’s book “Click,” released this month by Hyperion.

I happen to have an extra hardcover copy of the book, and I love to share books and pass them along. In this case, I thought it would be fun to run a contest, with the prize being this free copy of the book.

The book is all about what we search for online. So I’m going to give away a hardcover copy of the book to whoever comes up with the most interesting and clever, as determined by me, five-word statement about Internet searches. That’s it. Those are my only guidelines.

Go ahead and submit your five-word statements about Internet searches in the comments section of this blog. I’ll pick the winner and then you can e-mail me your mailing address for the book.

Oh, and if you want to enter another “Click” contest, click here.

Why Is Jessica Rose Not on TV?

September 9, 2008 12:00 PM

Yes, Jessica Rose is the star of the new Web show “Sorority Forever,” but even if she weren’t you can’t really take your eyes off of her.

The actress who broke out of the pack when she played Bree in the first installment of “LonelyGirl15” is back online, headlining TheWb.com’s original Web show “Sorority Forever,” which launched Monday.

I watched the first two episodes today, and it’s abundantly clear to me that Jessica Rose has star potential. She has charisma, she has the “it” factor, she will be a big breakout star in traditional media, too. OK, I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. Still, watch this episode and tell me if you agree or disagree.

Oh and memo to TheWB.com: Could you maybe not run so many annoying ads and promos in front of and after every single solitary piece of video on your site? We get the point. You show episodes of “Friends,” “Buffy,” etc. Enough. Now back off a little bit.

Have You Overdosed on the Internet Yet?

September 9, 2008 11:01 AM

So I’m going to get around to writing about “Sorority Forever,” but in the meantime this video from Rhett & Link on overdosing on the Internet—blogs, RSS, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook—really touched me. You know, like it hit me right there in my digital heart.

Looking for a Few Good Book Trailers

September 8, 2008 8:17 AM

I don’t think it’s a secret that I like books. You know, the actual paper thingmajigs with words and covers and all? Call me a Luddite, but I’d pretty much always choose a book over video—even if that video comes from my beloved Apple TV or iPod.

But my job, after all, is covering video. So I like to look for opportunities to bring the things I love into the Web video world. Which means … it’s time to talk about book trailers!

I have become particularly interested in how publishers use Web video to promote their books; for example, Robin Cook’s recent novel “Foreign Body” came with a prequel in the form of a Web series. But authors are leading this charge and developing book trailers for their works as well.

I’ve come across a few good ones, but would like to find more. So consider this post my call to action! If you know of a good book trailer, let me know. Post it in the comments section or e-mail me.

In the meantime, here are two that pretty much rock. The first is for Scott Sigler’s recently released novel “The Infected.”

And the second one is for Courtney Summers' debut novel, “Cracked Up to Be,” due out in December.

Oh and I guess now is the part where I get to say I read an advance copy of the book and, yeah, it’s mind-blowingly good.

Round Two of Daisy's Web Series Reviews

September 5, 2008 8:19 AM

For my latest installment of Web show reviews, again, I accepted the first five submissions of Web series sent to me via Twitter. Those shows are “Amtrekker,” “Commercial Dudes,” “Jake and Amir,” “Mr. Deity” and “Out of Darkness.”

“Amtrekker” is a video blog produced by Brett Rounsaville, who left his home and his job to travel the country and complete 100 cool things on a list, such as driving a race car, walking to the top of the Empire State Building or hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In this video, Mr. Rounsaville makes his way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and chronicles the journey along with the friends who make the trek with him. This feel-good show reminds you how incredibly awesome it would be to ditch work and do all the things you’re going to wish you had done at the end of your life. The videos are a little long, but I’m going to check out more of them from the comfort of my living room using Apple TV.

“Mr. Deity” on Crackle has been one of the best regarded Web series since its launch two years ago. In this episode Mr. Deity—who’s God, but if he were a studio executive—debates the war on terror with President George W. Bush. “The whole world is going to be behind you, so this will be a cakewalk,” Mr. Deity advises. This is not the best episode of the series, but “Mr. Deity” is a strong comedic show.

“Out of Darkness” is produced by Web production shop Prelude 2 Cinema. I enjoyed the look and feel of the titles and credits in this dramatic police/sci-fi series, but the episode was too short to glean any sense of storyline. But I did catch a faint whiff of girl-on-girl undertones if you’re into that.

“Jake and Amir,” created by Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld, is a series about two guys who are “BFFs” or not, as the joke goes. The video submitted to me is a short sketch of the title characters talking to each other in adjacent bathroom stalls. I am so not a fan of bathroom humor that it would be unfair for me to review this show based on this one episode. I checked out a few others and concluded that the show is among the Web video series that might appeal to young men.

Bathroom from Amir on Vimeo.

“Commercial Dudes” is a new series from the sketch comedy group Studio 8 about two men who like to watch TV commercials. In the first episode released last month, the characters watch an ad about a butt saying provolone (huh?). I’m not really sure I get this show at all, so tell me what you think!

Vote for the Top Web Video Creators

September 3, 2008 1:15 PM

Thanks for all your submissions for top web video creators. We’ve narrowed down the submissions and are now putting the top 15 out there for a vote. We’ve placed them in two groups. The first group consists of six creators who lean toward Hollywood; the second group includes nine creators who lean toward the indie side. We will profile the top five to ten web video creators in a feature article in the Sept. 15 edition of TVWeek. We are focusing on creators of scripted content, which is why you won’t find excellent shows such as “Epic Fu” and “Alive in Baghdad” on this list. The final creators profiled will be determined both by votes and on input from TVWeek’s editorial staff.

Can Cindy Beat Michelle This Week?

September 2, 2008 9:50 AM

Michelle Obama was the big winner at last week’s Democratic National Convention. At least in the viral video sweepstakes. Online video measurement service Visible Measures said the speech from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s wife generated more views than those from Hillary and Bill Clinton combined. The measurement firm just focused on the supporting cast at the convention last week, not on Mr. Obama or his vice-presidential pick Joe Biden.

As of Aug. 29, Ms. Obama’s speech had been viewed more than 1.2 million times online, Visible Measures said. Hillary Clinton’s speech had been viewed more than 580,000 times and Bill Clinton’s more than 520,000 times as of Aug. 29.

This week Visible Measures will start tracking viral views of clips from the Republican National Convention, which has kicked off. My bet is the buzz surrounding Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin will push her past both Ms. Obama and any speeches by Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican candidate John McCain.