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December 29, 2010 / tommoradpour

2011 Social TV Mash-Up – 3 Shows I’d Love To… Play!

With all the talk of television being dead, and mobile-taking-over-social-taking-over-the-web like some sort of high-tech turducken, fact is that a majority of people still prefer to stay spectators, a majority of their time. Only 12% of Facebook users update their status daily, 2% of users create 60% of all tweets, and less than 2% of American adults actually use location-based services; meanwhile, even at its lowest since 2002, the American Idol season 9 finale still captured 24.2 million viewers.

Scale vs Depth. 1, 9, 90… and all that jazz.

But those views don’t need to stay opposed. I think 2011 will be the year it all comes together in truly integrated experiences. After all, Twitter is already credited with being TV’s best line of defense against TiVos and other delayed viewing services: nothing beats live play-by-play Sunday football comments, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians is not quite the same if you don’t keep one eye on the show, and another on the tweets.


The most successful properties in 2011 will embrace both the reach and entertaining value of television, and deeper digital experiences. If anything, my bet is that we’ll see show integrating some of the fastest rising digital concepts of 2010: motion tracking, social gaming, location based services. Digital engagement will make shows more involving for fans, TV will drive mass awareness and adoption of the technologies, both will drive new revenue streams. Win-win.

Inspired by this thought, here’s 3 mash-up ideas for trans-media shows I’d love to watch… and play… in 2011!


Nike+ is the grand-dad of motion-enabled digital. It’s awesome because it made the loneliest sport, running, social. Take recent progress in handheld motion detection, add the launch of two motion controlled gaming consoles, and you have the perfect storm for motion-enabled entertainment. Like Nike +’d running, I think lots of shows could be +’d in 2011.

The Biggest Loser is an obvious first choice. The show has already stretched into a game for Wii and Xbox Kinect, with the extra option of playing yourself thin alone, or with a supporting group on friends on Facebook. Awesome. I think the only piece missing is the chance to get on the TV show if you reach a key milestone in the game… but I guess playing the game successfully at home would disqualify you ever entering from the TV show (quite a good thing.)

So how about… Dancing With The Stars+? I’ve never watched the show, but wouldn’t it be awesome to enjoy it through your XBOX with Kinect, and dance off with the show’s participants, in real time from your living room ball room? Or why not motion-capture every move of the TV show’s contestants, and package them as weekly content upgrades for the owners of the game?


In 2010,Simon Fuller’s company 19 Entertainment tried to combine Reality TV and Social Media into one neat package with If I Can Dream. Mind you, Fuller created American Idol, one of the most popular entertainment formats in the world; he knows his TV. His concept was solid – take five star wanabees carefully casted for their raw talent, lovable faces, and credible chances of ‘making it’; put them into a house outfitted with 56 HD cameras; produce a weekly TV show, and make the full 56 streams available online; then create a social competition where the most engaged fans can audition to get on the show as visitors, or as the next houseguests.

Where it it fell on its sword, is on the lack of a network TV slot for scale awareness and watercooler-chatter-worth. You see, the show was only distributed on Hulu, and ended rather abruptly after the “airing” of 32 episodes. But I think the principle is poised to succeed in 2011.

A personal fantasy of mine, I’d love to see the If I Can Dream set up re-created in a real-life office environment. If I Can Work would let an audience see what happens in a corporate environment from the inside, controlling hundreds of cameras placed in every office room, every cubicle, every meeting room. I would envision the show as a mix of Dilbert and The Apprentice – with the good, the bad and the ugly played out in broad daylight. But it would not stop there – with every office task, would come the option for the audience to pitch in their opinion through tweets or votes, or propose work of their own, or compete in a game that lands them a real job. A social game putting recruitment, crowdsourced content and consumer research on steroids.

Maybe someone gets fired every week, but maybe not ;-).


No need to tell you that World of Warcraft is one of the most addictive MMORPG games ever created, with millions more subscribed users than Foursquare, Gowalla and all other location based services combined. MasterChef is one of the most engaging TV properties today, a mirror image of American Idol for food-lovers, promising to take amateur chefs to pro-levels culinary fame, with all the performing challenges, weekly elimination, and charismatic jury you’d expect.

Put all this in a shaker, and you get World of MasterChef, the ultimate foody social game. Play as a chef of a critic, and get “quests” to either cook particular meals or go taste and rate them. Real-world restaurant chefs would enter by putting the challenge items on their menu as “specials”. Critic-players would check-in the restaurants and then rate the contestants on their iPhones. Guilds could be formed to switch tips, recipes and organise meet-ups. Participation would earn everyone experience points, letting participants gain ranks up to the desired “MasterChef” status. The best players get on the TV show’s next season… as either chefs or food critics.


What’s yours?



Leave a Comment
  1. Dane Findley / Dec 29 2010 22:20

    Yes, what ever happened to the “interactive television” that I heard about 15 years ago — I thought by now I’d be playing along with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy in my living room as they were being broadcast. If 2011 is the year this happens, I’m all for it!

  2. Cristian Gonzales / Dec 29 2010 23:23

    I can’t believe you’ve never watched ‘Dancing With The Stars’.

    You missed out on a special season this past year…it was magic to see Jennifer Grey dancing again.

  3. Allie / Dec 30 2010 16:06

    Love the idea! Adding to the list with another interactive idea: incorporating holograms (think cisco’s telecommuting holograms)

    There seems to be a fascination with our ‘stuff.’ American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, even Antique Roadshow. What if… there was a live version of these shows where experts evaluate our stuff via hologram and written description? Viewers would take a picture of item with webcam on show’s internet site, which would then be sent via hologram to the pawn shop/tv show for evaluation. (There would of course have to be monitoring for appropriateness)

    Here’s to ‘new’ tv in 2011!

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