Think cable networks are not giving you what you want. Here’s your chance to do something about it. CurrentTV is taking interactivity to entertainment with Creation Studios’ Bar Karma, sort of a Quantum Leap meets Cheers meets X-Files kind of show. Users can weigh in at every part of the story development process and even figure out where product plugs should fit into the plotline. (Yes, you too can give your two cents on how the all-new 2011 Mazda2 should fold into the episode “The Author and his Radical Manifesto.”)
Crowd sourcing creative projects is not exactly new. The crowd-sourced Johnny Cash music video, incorporating fans’ drawings, is a Grammy contender. Wikipedia-style approaches to everything from academic papers to business reports are transforming the idea of authorship, according to Crowdsourcing author Jeff Howe. But thus far, Bar Karma is the first to fully try it with syndicated television.
We’ll find out whether this venture is a gimmick or a revolution when Bar Karma airs in February. Perhaps its just a promotional ploy: get users to have the illusion of participation and they just might get committed to the program. But there is something powerful here in all this synergy and transparency. Maybe something truly artful can be created out in the open instead of smoky rooms, even if that art turns out to be a smoky room itself.