Film and TV folks seem to be building on their experiences in the social networking spaces. After early experiments like Anchorman and Apprentice 2 on Friendster last season (Anchorman - bad, Apprentice - so-so), Nip Tuck on MySpace is doing pretty well for itself. This is because the FX guys seem to have got the underlying mechanics of social networking more astutely than, say, the NBC folks did for Friendster. Then, it was a site - friendster.apprentice.com where users could view candidate profiles, and share their opinions about them with their friends. Simple, but a complete underutilization of the power of the medium. With Nip Tuck, the guys at FX have a better model. They've created a MySpace.com profile page for The Carver, the show's serial rapist whose identity will be revealed on the episode airing on December 20. As a MediaWeek article about this initiative reports:
A link on the home page sends users to a message board for the series, where fans debate the identity of The Carver, drawing on a slew of real or imagined clues seeded throughout season three and on the MySpace site itself.
While some limit their comments to a guess--the popular vote would seem to implicate plastic surgeon Quentin Costas--many fans build up their hypotheses like seasoned litigators, deconstructing pertinent bits of dialogue, examining clips from the show and, in one case, using voice recognition software in an attempt to identify the man--or woman--behind the mask.
The FX guys are thinking transmedia - creating a complex multi=layered narrative and personality for The Carver, seeding clues about The Carver in a variety of places, avoiding advertising on Carver's profile page, and making the initiative predominantly about content and community, although as the MediaWeek article points out, MySpace does belong to FX's media parent, New Corp, which recently paid good money to acquire it. Still, according to me, its an example of transmedia and viral marketing well done... (The Carver's profile page has over 61,000 'friends') and a template that future experiments in this space can build upon.