Breaking if not quite surprising news: Major TV networks have all but abandoned the old-school PR model, replacing it with the instant gratification of social media.
All this report really tells us is that big TV-related announcements now almost always hit Twitter before “the media” gets wind of them and writes the appropriate follow-up stories. But this development is something of a sea change.
Here are a few examples of TV personalities “leaking” news about their shows via Twitter before the release of official network announcements:
I wanted you guys to be the first to know that FOX have confirmed that @thexfactorusa will be back next year for it’s third season.
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) October 22, 2012
Best way to start a Monday? Getting picked up for your back nine episodes. Thwick. #Arrow
— Stephen Amell (@amellywood) October 22, 2012
Bad news for people who don’t like Raising Hope.Fox just ordered 2 more episodes!Meaning: 24 madcap Chance adventures airing this year!
— Lucas Neff (@RealLucasNeff) October 19, 2012
Variety calls Cowell’s tweet “a calculated decision to…break the news first to the loyal fans who matter most”. We see this as an effective PR strategy: If we know anything about the all-important “die-hard fan” demographic, they’d rather get breaking news from actors and producers than faceless industry flacks (apologies to all faceless industry flacks, who perform a crucial and invaluable service).
Still, there’s always the risk that stars tweet news that isn’t supposed to be public or make defamatory statements about their employers.
CBS knows PUT me on unpaid leave an has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doc said u needed a reduced schedule due to celiac
— Jennifer Esposito (@JennifersWayJE) October 21, 2012
What do we think? Should networks keep their stars on a shorter leash? Or should they encourage talent to act as their own publicists? Is there a better way to pump up a show’s audience?