Posted January 4, 2013 2:42 pm by with 1 comment

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Kapu (Forbidden)Interactive TV is something we’ve been talking about long before tablets and smartphones arrived in the home. My first marketing gig was with a company working on a remote control that allowed viewers to bookmark content related to the show they were watching. It was a multi-step, cumbersome process but at the time, it was the ultimate in TV interaction.

We have come so far, so fast.

On January 14, CBS will make TV history with the first, truly interactive episode of Hawaii Five-O. A college professor is found murdered and there are three suspects; his boss, his teaching assistant and a student who he busted for cheating. Which one did it? Depends on who the viewers pick.

During the show, viewers will be prompted to go to either or Twitter to cast their vote. On Twitter, they’ll use one of three hashtags to make their choice. During the last commercial break, CBS will tally up the votes and then air the ending that was the most popular.

hawaii fiveo you choose
There will be separate voting for both the East Coast and West Coast airing so potentially viewers across the country will see different results. All three endings will be available on after the show  – just to prove they did film all three!

CBS has been a big supporter of Twitter. Their weekly press releases include pre-written Cheat Tweets like this:

CHEAT TWEET: Hey Trekkies! Maybe we should retitle the series HAWAII FIVE-OH MY! @GeorgeTakei guest stars as Chin’s Uncle! 12/17 10PM ET/PT

They also recently released a new iPad app called CBS Connect that fans can use to join live chats with the stars or follow show chatter through several social media feeds. They have a similar app for Windows 8.

The irony here is that CBS is often maligned for being the old folks network. Their average viewer is in the mid to late 50’s. The median age for an NCIS fan is 60. (NCIS is also the most watched primetime TV series, so CBS isn’t complaining.) Still, CBS is charging ahead, using mobile and social media in new and exciting ways.

Want to be a part of this groundbreaking mobile / social event? Tune in to Hawaii Five-O on January 14 at 10:00 on CBS.


  • AL

    How is this new and exciting? I remember Portuguese television doing this in the early 90’s (so I guess it also happened in the US), voting by telephone, obviously, but it’s exactly the same principle. Maybe I’m just being an old curmudgeon, but this feels tired and the complete opposite of engaging – I don’t want to choose the ending, I want to feel surprised without knowing they have 3 formulaic endings that they can interchange with no problem at all. This sounds like ‘lazy’ innovation, am I missing something here?