It was almost inevitable – with an influx of A-listers to the service and following a successful and well-publicised appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone – the ‘Twitter three’ – have partnered with Reveille productions and Brillstein Entertainment Partners to “develop an unscripted series based on the site, which invites 140-character postings from members around the world.”
Specific details are scarce but the show plans to harness Twitter to put competitors on the trail of celebrities in an interactive format. “We’ve found a compelling way to bring the immediacy of Twitter to life on TV,” Brillstein’s Jon Liebman states.
Think The Amazing Race meets Celebrity Big Brother and you might be fairly close to the mark. One assumes a treasure hunt format, where entrants on Twitter use the network to search for A-listers, who race around the world leaving clues and puzzles while staying in the very best hotels. No word on whether this show will be pre-recorded or live, although if it’s the former the public nature of the Twitter stream means we’ll be able to figure out the outcome before each episode airs.
Of course, this isn’t the first time traditional media has utilized modern technology in a ‘manhunt’ kind of format. The Running Man, Battle Royale, The Condemned, Series 7: The Contenders and the Manhunt video game all embraced the concept.
Astute readers will have noticed another common theme between these projects – that of extreme violence towards the participants. It remains to be seen whether the Twitter TV show will feature chainsaws and crossbows, but we can hope. The Running Man is set in the year 2017, which isn’t all that far off. Stranger things have happened, and perhaps The Amazing Race meets Gladiators is the ratings-winner we’ve yet to see.
While the odds of this show being a success are probably fairly remote – and Leo Laporte is already considering the legal ramifications now that Twitter is potentially encroaching on his TWiT.tv trademark (think Apple vs. Apple) – the concept is potentially of interest. Most reality shows, it’s fair to say, are at-best extremely light-weight entertainment; at worst, lowest-common denominator television that insults our senses and intelligence. But there’s always a chance the Twitter three might be on to something here.
Or maybe not. So here’s my question: if you were making this show, roughly along the lines that have been outlined above (i.e., tracking celebrities using Twitter), what would you like to see? How would you do it?