Turner Adding 'Postgame' Online Talk Shows

TNT adding shows to upcoming ‘Falling Skies,’ ‘Dallas,’ to allow fans to interact with talent and discuss episodes 5/14/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Turner Broadcasting is adding some digital
discussion to its original dramas.

TNT will be adding online “postgame”
shows to its upcoming series Falling Skies
and Dallas that will give fans a chance to stay
engaged and offer advertisers the opportunity
to surround viewers.

The Web talk shows—Falling Skies: Second
and Dallas Round-Up—will allow
viewers to interact with talent and discuss
what happened during the episode they just
watched. Lowe’s has already signed on as
the sponsor of Round-Up.

The concept is modeled on the NBA postgame
show TNT Overtime and AMC’s Talking
, which follows episodes of The Walking
. Turner expects the Web show to be live
some weeks.

“I think that’s where television is going,”
says David Levy, president of sales, distribution
and sports at Turner Broadcasting.

“No longer do you have to wait til the next
morning for the water cooler,” Levy adds.
Instead, Turner is providing an online spot
for the fan community to talk about their
shows when they end. “Why lose them? I
think you’re going to see that in our upfront
presentation, about how we’re addressing
cross-platform and synch-type apps that
allow people to have a two-screen environment
during the show and then lead off into a
postgame-type show.”

Levy expects sponsors who buy product
integrations and branded entertainment
with those series to be interested in
the postgame shows. “It’s the same with
synched apps,” he says. “It gives better
reach, and marketers can use different commercials
from a digital perspective versus a
television perspective.”

Michael Wright, president, head of programming
for TNT/ TBS/ TCM, says the new
shows are a reaction to changing viewer
behavior. “There has been some really
innovative stuff going on that has enhanced
the viewers’ experience and helped out
our partners in the advertising world,”
Wright says.

Wright says Turner considered the risk of
encouraging viewers of its popular shows to
leave its channel to go online, but he thinks
only hard-core superfans of the show will
make the move. “You’re not going to take
the 6 million people watching Falling Skies
and get all 6 million to go watch Falling Skies:
Second Watch
online,” Wright says. But those
viewers are more likely to watch live, which
would help the network and its advertisers.

“More and more it’s the sign of a really
successful, high-engagement show that
people aren’t watching it passively. They are
watching it with a second screen open in
front of them,” Wright says. “They’re texting,
they’re tweeting, they’re in an online forum
where they’re talking about the show while
it’s going on. We’re just basically taking that
conversation and extending it to the post
show. And that’s what the format is set up for
and will allow for.”