Thursday, August 02, 2007

On The USA Network, Characters and Social Networking

Cable’s USA Network, which received 12 Emmy nominations, is making a credible attempt – along with FX and Bravo -- at becoming “The Fifth Network,” a position of prestige that is wide-open as a result of the exit of the critically-acclaimed series The Soprano’s and, to a lesser degree, Deadwood, from HBO’s formerly roster. A USA spokesperson emailed Webnewser, “USA launched six scripted originals this summer, which is a first for any network. Our originals relate fun, relatable characters in interesting situations – ‘high concept characters with jobs.’”

Online, USA is equally as ambitious, seeking to integrate the cable channel’s successful character-driven formula into a social networking online destination.’s “Show us Your Character” campaign in its first incarnation last year was intriguing, though less effective than USA’s offline efforts. However, as an NBC spokesperson put it in an email to Webnewser, they are still in the game:

“The site is not only the place where USA brings its fictional characters to life, but where USA can fulfill its brand promise to celebrate the equally important characters at home - its fans. Show Us Your Character was USA's first step in creating fan and affinity communities by allowing users to upload pictures, videos and profiles. USA is in the process of creating more robust communities by integrating Web 2.0 social networking tools and allowing its fans to not only interact with one another, but to become content generators for the site overall. USA's long-term strategy is to become more than an amalgamation of site verticals, but an entertainment destination of its own.”

USA Network’s character-driven approach is sure to be bolstered by Dick Wolfe’s “Law and Order,” a heavily character-driven program. “We are thrilled to be part of such an incredible brand with L&O now a first run original to USA. This is a perfect addition to our Characters Welcome roster and will most certainly be an added bonus to our Fall line up.”

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