Turner Broadcasting, one of our corporate partners here at the Convergence Culture Consortium, made news this week by teaming up with MySpace for a new contest. Anyone who watches TBS know that they are proud of knowing funny, so the network is teaming up with MySpace to create a contest, The Sierra Mist Stand Up or Sit Down Comedy Challenge, for amateur comedians to post videos of their comedy work through MySpace, with the network's users then being able to vote on the finalists, who will appear on a TBS special set to air on Nov. 17. The winer of the contest will not only receive a $50,000 prize but also a developmental contract with TBS.
Daisy Whitney with TelevisionWeek point out that these types of user-generated contests have also taken place with Comedy Central (a network of another of our partners, MTVN), SoapNet, and the Sci Fi Network. Recently, The Colbert Report garnered some attention for its Green Screen Challenge, organized through fan site Colbert Nation, featuring Colbert doing some Star Wars style maneuvers on a green screen and asking viewers to use the footage for various fan videos, which included a variety of stunning examples he then showed on-the-air.
In the realm of talent recruitment for these programs, back in August, plans from HarperCollins were announced for a fan fiction writing contest in which a book would be communally written by fans and then published by the company. There was also an effort for fans to communally create a script of an episode of The L Word. And, back in February, I wrote about the WWE recruiting performers through its Web site.
These type of contests demonstrate the growing understanding by producers that users may make a great talent pool to recruit from. Should it be any surprise that these companies, then, like Netflix, are embracing the wisdom of the crowd?