User Generated Content Goes Prime Time

    August 14, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The CW – the other network you probably don’t watch – is giving us a new reason to check them out this fall. Not that it’s original, just that it’s primetime and that means something, right?

From the description, it sounds a bit like VH1’s "Web Junk" show, just with a bigger budget and more hosts. But that show’s addictive so maybe this one will be too.

The title of the show, "Online Nation," brings to mind more nefarious, melodramatic things – Fast Food Nation pops up first, and another reality show called "Kid Nation" to air on another network – but the premise simple and irresistible if done right.

(Most importantly to television networks these days is that it’s cheap. Hence the artificially reinforced reality show mania propelled by not having to pay actors. And what’s cheaper than user-generated content?)

But it’s also part America’s Funniest Home Video, as users can upload content directly for a chance to be featured. But the crew also scours the Web for what’s popular and/or viral that week.

It seems just a matter of time, as more and more television networks scoop up the free content out there to broadcast and make money from, that users wise up and demand some sort of licensing rights along with their content. How much time it takes for that to happen is another story. Right now, 15 minutes is payment enough.

What’s nice about the show is that it will be Web 2.0 on the TV screen, like they’ve done on MTV’s TRL (omg, Justin is sooooo hot), Online Nation will have an interactive reactive element with viewers seeing the online discussion on the air (heavily monitored and edited we assume).

Online Nation has some familiar names behind it – if not the names then the other shows the names have produced – like David Hurwitz of "Fear Factor" and Paul Cockerill of "Trigger Happy TV" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Well, Fear Factor was cool, anyway, until it devolved into "What-Will-They-Eat-TV." Online Nation premieres Sunday, September 23, at 7:30 ET.

You can check out a preview at The CW’s website