CBS Eyes Twitter as the Future of TV

Can 140 words or less entertain a TV audience for 30 minutes or more? CBS seems to think so. The network long known as the "Tiffany Network" may now be the "Twitter Network," inking a deal this week for what will be the network's fourth Twitter-based sitcom series.

Can 140 words or less entertain a TV audience for 30 minutes or more? CBS seems to think so. The network long known as the “Tiffany Network” may now be the “Twitter Network,” inking a deal this week for what will be the network’s fourth Twitter-based sitcom series.

The latest, Mother of All Something, is a comedy project under development based on the Twitter feed of Kelly Oxford, a stay-at-home mother of three in Canada.

Oxford began blogging in 1997 on life as a stay-at-home mom, with musings about parenting, current events and pop culture. She then expanded to Twitter where she caught the attention of actress Jessica Alba and other celebs, and attracted the likes of more than 66,000 Twitter followers.

According to online entertainment website, Vulture, the show will be produced by Alba and former Will & Grace writer Jhoni Marchinko, but written by Oxford.

Also in production at CBS are Dear Girls Above Me and Shh… Don’t Tell Steve, both sold to CBS by well-known Tweeter, and actor, Ashton Kutcher.

CBS made headlines earlier this year when $#*! My Dad Says became the first TV show based on a Twitter user’s stream. That show is based on the Twitter feed of a 29-year-old man who lives with his 74-year-old father, played by William Shatner.

After struggling early on in the ratings, $#*! My Dad Says seems to have caught on, improving to often winning its time slot against more critically-acclaimed shows like NBC’s 30 Rock.

Kutcher’s “Shh… Don’t Tell Steve,” is based on an eponymous Twitter account documenting the utterings of the author’s roommate. “Call it ‘Shit my roomate says,'” The Hollywood Reporter suggested when it broke news of the deal in September.

In terms of Twitter rankings, Oxford’s 60,000+ followers puts her directly in between her predecessors.

With just 13,000 followers, @ShhDonTellSteve was not nearly as big as @ShitMyDadSays. When that show’s CBS deal was announced, the tag had 700,000 followers.

Oxford has the extra advantage of being a Hollywood favorite, attracting retweets from the likes of Diablo Cody, Roger Ebert, Dan Harmon and John Mayer.

With Alba and Kutcher and Shatner behind the current projects, it’s hard to tell whether CBS execs see strength in Twitter as a TV commodity, or are just responding to the hard sell of celebrity support.

Either way, stop reading and keep tweeting everyone! You never know when a celeb will see your tweet and make you the next hit CBS show.