Lifetime Changes Include Online Boost

    February 27, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A Lexington, KY, high school received the reality show treatment from the Lifetime cable channel, which devoted web development forum hosting, and other new technology to supplement the upcoming reality series “Cheerleader Nation.”

Paul Laurence Dunbar high school in Lexington served as the starting point for Lifetime’s “Cheerleader Nation.” Lifetime approached the school and coach Donna Martin in April 2005 about doing the show, and met with an excited response from the team and the parents.

Viewers will have to wait until March 12th for the series debut to follow the “real-life mother-daughter drama of blood, sweat, and cheers,” but Lifetime has made several online features available to promote the series.

The “Cheerleader Nation” website utilizes Flash to deliver the content, which includes profiles of cheerleaders and parents. Lifetime also developed a message forum to pick up comments from its users; some of those users are not happy about the series replacing another show, “Strong Medicine.” But Lifetime is trying to reach a younger audience along with its existing demographic.

The real technology twists come later. Lifetime plans to have video diaries, podcasts, and wireless content available beginning with the start of the series. There should be quite a bit of content available, as Lifetime followed the squad all the way to the National High School Cheerleading Championship.

I asked Coach Martin via email what she hoped the greatest benefit would be from this coverage:

“People will recognize what a great activity Cheerleading can be, how hard we work, what a great school we have at Dunbar, and how any great athletic program needs the involvement of the parents and the school administration as well as the Coaches and Athletes.”

(WebProNews publisher Rich Ord contributed to this article.)

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.