Well, the prize for most ambitious internet tie-in at this week’s television upfronts goes to the CW. During that network’s presentation to advertisers this morning, Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff announced that its pole position, “The O.C. meets Manhattan” pilot, Gossip Girl, will launch with a multimedia website featuring just about every type of social media you can click a mouse at. Fans can write blogs, edit video clips and songs into their own music videos a la Jumpcut, create profile pages on a Gossip Girl-themed social networking site, click to order the clothing worn on the show, and (sigh, of course) walk around a 3-d massively multiplayer online world a la Second Life.
I like that they are trying all of these features out. But here’s my problem: As with just about every TV internet extension out there, they’ll all be next to worthless if the show doesn’t attract a seriously rabid following. TV programmers are still putting the internet in the “icing on the cake” category. National Bingo Night, I predict, will turn its TV viewers into web visitors more successfully than anything we’ve seen yet. But what I really want to see is an internet extension strategy for a television program that actually attracts new viewers and brings them from the web to the TV. Let me know if you think you see one.
Also, at the end of this whole thing I think I’m going to hand out an award for this season’s most so-stupid-it’s-great reality show title. So far it’s a toss-up between the ABC show about obese people who walk across America to get in shape (Fat March), and the CW show Farmer Wants a Wife. Stay tuned, Fox is this afternoon.