The Entertainment Democracy: Viewers Are Making Creative Decisions

What if fans had voted that Mick Jagger should have fronted The Beatles? Would that be a good entertainment business decision? That's what some entertainment enterprises are being built around.

Entertainment creative decisions--whether TV, movies or music--are all about whether or not viewers are inclined to watch and listen.

For CBS' "Rock Star: Supernova," this worked as well.  Viewers, for the most part, vote to keep certain singers around. But the band---Tommy Lee, Gilby Clark, and Jason Newsted--ultimately had the final say. One would believe that--in the later rounds and especially with the winner--that  the decision would be theirs alone, dismissing whatever popularity a singer had.

Not so.  Tommy Lee said that the band has to respect what fans want and that Lukas Rossi, the Canadian singer, touted consistently high numbers throughout the summer contest. Therefore, he won.



Other reality-contest shows also leave it up to the fans, though in some shows judges sift through early-round contestants. Both "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," for example, do this.

All this, of course, makes sense. You give the public what it wants; viewers feel vindicated and pleased. More importantly, they come back to the show.

Think about what this would do if viewers could vote on whether Lorelai Gilmore should in fact marry Luke on the "Gilmore Girls" or whether Dr. Gregory House should again date Dr. Allison Cameron on "House"?  Maybe those shows would get higher ratings. Of course, this would wreck havoc with writing and plot direction. 

Have viewers indeed helped out Supernova by giving them who they want? Time will tell.

But Supernova has a bigger issue to tackle now--that of its name. An Orange County, Calif-based band with the same name has sued the group. As a result, a federal judge has issued an injunction barring the band formed in the show from using its name after the reality series concludes.

What should Messrs. Lee, Clarke, and Newsted do? Take direction from what has already been done to get where they are. Have viewers vote on a band name because, obviously, success in entertainment comes from a democratic solution.

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