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Turner Adding 'Postgame' Online Talk Shows

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Turner Broadcasting is adding some digital discussion to its original dramas.

TNT will be adding online “postgame” shows to its upcoming series Falling Skies and Dallas that will give fans a chance to stay engaged and offer advertisers the opportunity to surround viewers.

The Web talk shows—Falling Skies: Second Watch and Dallas Round-Up—will allow viewers to interact with talent and discuss what happened during the episode they just watched. Lowe’s has already signed on as the sponsor of Round-Up.

The concept is modeled on the NBA postgame show TNT Overtime and AMC’s Talking Dead, which follows episodes of The Walking Dead. Turner expects the Web show to be live some weeks.

“I think that’s where television is going,” says David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports at Turner Broadcasting.

“No longer do you have to wait til the next morning for the water cooler,” Levy adds. Instead, Turner is providing an online spot for the fan community to talk about their shows when they end. “Why lose them? I think you’re going to see that in our upfront presentation, about how we’re addressing cross-platform and synch-type apps that allow people to have a two-screen environment during the show and then lead off into a postgame-type show.”

Levy expects sponsors who buy product integrations and branded entertainment with those series to be interested in the postgame shows. “It’s the same with synched apps,” he says. “It gives better reach, and marketers can use different commercials from a digital perspective versus a television perspective.”

Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT/ TBS/ TCM, says the new shows are a reaction to changing viewer behavior. “There has been some really innovative stuff going on that has enhanced the viewers’ experience and helped out our partners in the advertising world,” Wright says.

Wright says Turner considered the risk of encouraging viewers of its popular shows to leave its channel to go online, but he thinks only hard-core superfans of the show will make the move. “You’re not going to take the 6 million people watching Falling Skies and get all 6 million to go watch Falling Skies: Second Watch online,” Wright says. But those viewers are more likely to watch live, which would help the network and its advertisers.

“More and more it’s the sign of a really successful, high-engagement show that people aren’t watching it passively. They are watching it with a second screen open in front of them,” Wright says. “They’re texting, they’re tweeting, they’re in an online forum where they’re talking about the show while it’s going on. We’re just basically taking that conversation and extending it to the post show. And that’s what the format is set up for and will allow for.”