Social Media Is Now Allowing Us To Impact Television Shows In Real Time

Business Insider

If you've been frustrated with season 2 of "Homeland," or have ever been upset with any television series outcome ever, you may have thought you could do a better job writing the episode.  

At the least, you wished you could weigh in on shaping the end of the show you invested so much of your personal time toward. 

Well, now you can – sort of.  

For the first time ever, CBS will allow viewers to choose between three different possible endings to a live broadcast of one of its most popular shows.  

The network announced "Hawaii FIVE-0" fans will be able to choose the culprit in an upcoming episode.  

Monday January 14, audiences will be able to vote on CBS.com or by tweeting one of three hashtags (#theBoss, #theTA, or #theStudent) to choose the final outcome of the show. 

Votes will be accumulated in real time and the most popular ending will be broadcast live at the end of the episode. 

CBS will hold two separate votes for viewers on both the East and West coasts so it's very possible for two different versions of the episode to air.  

After the broadcasts, all three endings will be available to view on CBS.com. 

The event in its entirety brings to mind nostalgic choose-your-own-ending books

The idea in itself isn't new.  

With audiences choosing the outcome in reality competition shows – American Idol," "Dancing with the Stars" – one would imagine we would have seen this sooner.  

If you think back more than 20 years, we have.  

CNN asked viewers to choose the news they wanted to hear in a segment of its "Newsnight" show in 1990 by dialing a 900 number

Before that, in 1988, Fox asked audiences to call in and vote on the identity of Jack the Ripper in a 100th-anniversary special.  

If this ends up being a success, it's likely we could see even more Twitter integration in the future. 

Maybe it didn't catch on as much in the late '80s or early '90s; however, two decades later, it certainly has the potential.  

With more people heading online to stream shows or record them to watch at a later date, and the amount of people glued to social media sites Facebook and Twitter, social media integration gives audiences a reason to watch in real time. 

Many shows have been adding second screen apps to enhance the viewing experience ("Breaking Bad," "The Walking Dead"), so it was only a matter of time until one of the big networks tapped into Twitter's potential. 

The special episode of "Hawaii FIVE-0" will air January 14 at 10 p.m.  

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