Not sure whether you should get that brow lift? You can solicit the advice of Nip/Tuck fans.
In an effort to keep the hit plastic-surgery show’s viewers engaged, FX has launched some offbeat features on its Website, including an area where users can upload pictures and let fellow viewers weigh in on whether they should go under the knife. A "social-podcasting" section allows fans to simulate "talking" to the show’s actors and creators.
With distinctively irreverent Nip/Tuck in its fourth season, FX beefed up its site to keep savvy fans engaged with both the program and each other. "It’s essential to provide people with more-meaningful experiences," says FX Executive VP of Marketing Stephanie Gibbons. "We feel like if we don’t keep moving forward, we’re going to lose them."
Through eight new episodes, the show is up 3% over last year in total viewers to an average 3.98 million, and 5% in the 18-49 demo to 2.84 million.
To participate in the social-podcasting feature, viewers enter personal information online, including a phone number, and then receive a call designed to appear to be from the Nip/Tuck doctors. Caller ID displays an area code in Miami, where Nip/Tuck is set, and the name "McNamara/Troy," its fictional plastic-surgery practice. FX compiles fan questions, includes the actors’ responses, and offers the result as a podcast on FXnetworks.com and iTunes. Another podcast lets viewers sound off on the show.
Since the podcasts’ launch on Sept. 29, FX has received 180,000 fan requests for weekly show updates and 2,000 requests for the podcasts on iTunes. Traffic to the show’s site is "healthier" than last year, with 5 million page views over the past month, says Gibbons.
Another feature, "Skin Deep," invites viewers to upload their pictures and let other visitors vote on whether they should get plastic surgery. FX has so far received 2,100 photos to the section, which it is labeling a "social consultation."
"Miami Mashup" lets fans use technology from Google maps and Web company Ning to chart and discuss hot spots visited on the show.
FX is planning more social-interaction features for its upcoming originals. The Website for new celebrity-magazine–set program Dirt, for example, will likely offer social videocasting, where fans can submit video questions to be answered by the actors.
Says Gibbons. "We keep getting closer and closer to the physical nature of community fancasts."