When Twentieth Television announced last month that it was developing a new syndicated series based on Yahoo Buzz, the search engine's social news site, the message boards at Web TV network Revision3 began to buzz. That's because the proposed show, a half-hour daily roundup of the most buzzed-about series, sounds an awful lot like Revision3's Diggnation.
Of course, Yahoo Buzz is an awful lot like Digg, the top social news site and the inspiration for Diggnation. With more than 35 million unique visitors a month, according to Compete.com, Digg encourages registered users to recommend, or “digg,” their favorite stories, creating snapshots of what the Digg community considers most newsworthy on the Web at any given time.
On Revision3's Web series, Digg co-founder Kevin Rose and co-host Alex Albrecht riff on the week's top stories while chilling on a couch, often with beers in hand. Twentieth Television says it's too early to comment on its show, though reports have former MTV VJ Ananda Lewis as a possible host.
But Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback isn't crying foul over any possible similarities. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Louderback says. “I wish them a lot of success. Hopefully, that will expand the audience for us, with people asking, 'Who else does this and who does it better?'”
And while Yahoo Buzz is looking to cross over from the Internet to syndicated television, don't look for Diggnation on the airwaves anytime soon. “I don't think you can just take something online and just slap it on television,” Louderback says. “Television would destroy [Diggnation] in many ways. If we were on a network, there are a lot of f-bombs that would have to be dropped.”
Besides, he adds, the idea of someone talking about what happened that day or week isn't exactly a novel one, even when you mix in the social media element. “No one owns that format,” says Louderback, who noted Diggnation's own debt to a certain fictional cable-access program from Saturday Night Live. “[Kevin and Alex] probably wouldn't say it, but the format is kind of like Wayne's World.”
Party on, Diggnation. Party on, Yahoo Buzz.