The power of We Media:

TV is interactive, minus images, on the Web

Many “Rescue Me” viewers weren’t happy, and they weren’t being quiet about it.

The June 20 episode of the series, on FX, concluded with a violent sex scene between the main character, played by Denis Leary, and his estranged wife. Bloggers and other online fans protested, saying that the scene depicted and appeared to endorse rape.

So the executive producer of “Rescue Me,” Peter Tolan, who had written the episode with Mr. Leary, resorted to an increasingly popular site for television writers who want to defend their editorial choices. Mr. Tolan went to the Internet.

In a June 21 posting on the discussion boards of the Web site Televisionwithoutpity.com Mr. Tolan tried to appease “Rescue Me” fans. “Welcome to writing a television drama,” he wrote at the end of his lengthy first message. “We’re trying to do something different,” he explained. “Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we don’t.”

His readers might have retorted, “Welcome to the Internet.” Mr. Tolan is not the first television writer to defend his choices online, nor even the first to communicate via Television Without Pity.

But his attempt to reach out to his show’s viewers reflects a growing awareness among television writers of their shows’ online communities, as well as of a variety of ways to engage them.

Read more by Maria Aspan of the New York Times on this Herald Tribune site. The TV network or media house that comprehensively and actively focusses on offering viewers a voice will win this race. Why not publish your TV guide for next week or two weeks time up on the ‘net and have viewers critiques instead of paying an ‘expert’? The readers can rank and rate them, pushing those with high rankings to the top. We each look for different flavours in both our movies and our reviews. You might like highbrow discourses on the influence of Cinema Nera in Scorcese’s work. I might like the fart jokes. If the viewer finds an amateur critic that continually writes well they can put them on a faves list and see what they recommend each week. In fact, why not hand your programming over to your viewers? They can vote what movies are shown each week. It’s going that way anyway, what with podcasting and time shifting and formshifting and whateverelseshifting. Is someone already doing this in Australia – something a whirlpool.net.au but for TV, an Aussie TVwithoutPity?? Probably not, I can imagine a lot of “professionals” going on strike! See what I mean about the media barons having it stacked against them?

Even if you are not a TV station, you should still remember; if you don’t own the community, they will still chat somewhere else. You no longer can control your image/brand. And ‘media’ alerts don’t tell you what is being said on blogs, they just regurgitate your press releases. Do you want to know what the press is saying to an uninterested audience, or what recent customers are saying to red hot leads and your market demographics?? Give them a voice because they are already yelling…

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