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Mark Burnett with Brian Solis: Convergence

Burnett tells Solis, I pitched 'Joe Lieberman's Connecticut, but nobody bit.

The full title of this session was “Convergence of media and the future of unscripted drama on the web.” Brian Solis (author of Engage and creator of the Conversation Prism infographic you’ve used in at least three slide decks so far this year) interviewed Survivor creator Mark Burnett on how networked communication is challenging, supporting and transforming shows like his.

Cartoon: Jeff Probst tells a contestant 'You've been voted off the island. But on the brighter side, you're trending on Twitter.' It was a fascinating conversation, starting with the essential importance of story to both blogging (something Solis speaks about so eloquently that I wonder if he might have the same kind of spec screenplays buried on his hard drive that I do) and shows like Survivor, where Burnett invoked Joseph Campbell and walked us through the show’s imagery of life, death and  rebirth.

From there, the two looked at the way the online backchannel has transformed water-cooler conversations. Those conversations now start during the show itself, and take place everywhere, Burnett said. “The water cooler is now omni-present.”

Cartoon: two people at a water cooler. One asks: 'So, didja see the liveblogging for Survivor last night?'

The conversation ranged over football legend Jimmy Johnson’s appearance on a rescheduled Survivor to the MTV Movie Awards, before they launched into Burnett’s latest project, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. He described Alaska as “epic”, and we became the first audience to see promotional footage from the upcoming show.

Burnett tells Solis, I pitched 'Joe Lieberman's Connecticut, but nobody bit. Then, at the end, Solis announced a surprise: the footage was being released to the world not through the usual channels, but via Steve Garfield’s YouTube channel. (Burnett acknowledged the plan may have initially caused some agita in the executive suites at TLC.)

TLC exec's head exploding. But tastefully. And educationally. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is that very video:


Twitter Turning to Television: Reality TweeVee?


failwhale I’m going to be straight up front and honest with this little gem of news:  I’m a bit terrified.  Rumors are surfacing that Twitter is in talks to develop a television series.  Yes, you heard me right, Twitter wants to be on TV.  In a word, wow.

If all goes according to their perceived plan, Twitter will be pairing up with Brillstein Entertainment and Reveille Entertainment to produce a new television show that, by the sounds of it, will combine their instant and real-time service with reality television.  According to reports:

“…the concept consists of “putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.”

Again, Wow.  So we’re going to have yet another reality television show to keep track of, with yet another social networking method to keep track of it.  Before long we’ll see Survivor contestants tweeting, people on those Real World shows engaged in intense Twitter Battles and the Top Chef’s getting their challenges via Tweets.  Yikes.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is it a good thing that Twitter is going this mainstream, this involved and this “real.”  Will a television series based on this actually work?  I know it’s going to be completely dependent on what actually happens in the upcoming show, but for now it’s just a bit scary that it’s happening at all.  What’s next, “Facebook:  The Movie?”

Time will tell, and we’ll all be waiting to see what goes down.

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