In a television first, a network prime time show will have the ending of an upcoming episode decided by the viewing audience while it airs. An event that’s possible solely because of the communication opportunities technologies like Twitter and social media provide, CBS’ Monday night drama Hawaii Five-0 will have fans vote for one of three possible endings using hashtags and online polling for an episode scheduled to air January 14. Hit the jump to learn more.
CBS is making a major push to spread the word that for the first time ever, fans will be able to choose the ending of a live television show. The network is hoping viewers will head to Twitter while Hawaii Five-0 airs and tweet one of three hashtags to choose that show’s killer, and consequently, how the episode ends. A summary of how the night will play out is below, and you can head over to Hawaii Five-0’s website for full details and a preview of the episode:
“The mystery begins on H#50 when the team must investigate the death of an O’ahu State professor. His Boss, his Teaching Assistant and a Student who he busted for cheating are all viable suspects.
To vote, after each of the suspect’s motives is revealed, viewers will be directed to CBS.com or Twitter to select either #theBoss, #theTA or #theStudent as the culprit, any of whom could have committed the crime. The votes will be tallied immediately and the most popular ending will become part of the broadcast. Separate voting will occur for East/Central and Pacific Time zone broadcasts. The three different endings will all be available at CBS.com after the broadcasts.”
Hawaii Five-0’s producers reference the “whodunit” nature of the show as providing the perfect format to employ this event. I’m also reminded of the old “choose your own adventure” books I read as a kid that offered a similar type of audience empowerment over the direction of the story. While I think there’s something to be said about the quality of a story that can seemingly have three different endings and still work, as a breezy network television procedural, Hawaii Five-0 seems like a good fit for this, and committed fans should be excited.
Hawaii Five-0 airs Mondays at 10:00 PM ET on CBS.