Creators of ROBOT CHICKEN Seth Green and Matthew Senreich to Launch Online Reality Experiment CONTROLTV

     September 1, 2010


The guys responsible for the Emmy award-winning Robot Chicken are setting their sights on reality television.  Per THR, creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich are preparing to launch an “online reality experiment in which viewers decide every major decision a person makes for six weeks.”  The experiment, known as ControlTV, will begin this fall on the DBG Video Network and will consist of a twenty-something man being told what to do (i.e. what to eat, wear, who to date, etc.) in real-time by online users.

For more info on ControlTV and for why I’m interested in seeing how audiences respond to the series, hit the jump.

seth_green_matthew_senreich_01From the report, Green and Senreich’s show is partnering with Ford and Sprint Nextel who will act as embedded sponsors within the show (apparently the protagonist will drive a 2011 Ford Fiesta and use a Sprint phone).  According to Green:

“ControlTV places the audience in complete control of a show for the first time ever, and we are eager to learn what they will decide for our protagonist,” Green said. “We are thrilled to partner with DBG, Ford and Sprint on this groundbreaking new form of entertainment.”

From Co-producer Richard Saperstein (former president of Dimension Films):

“This show combines the voyeuristic pleasure of reality TV with the experience of control we get from video games,” Saperstein said. “Plus, it’s all going to play out in real time. The concept takes interactivity to a whole new level, and we think it will be highly addictive.”

The phenomenon of reality television and its ability to truly captivate an audience is a topic that not only interests me but also drives my graduate studies. To that end, Peter Weir’s The Truman Show is one of my all-time favorite films.  With these two things in mind, I’ll be paying close attention to how people react to ControlTV and whether or not it is able to stand out amidst the plethora of reality programming available.  When Weir’s film was released in 1998, Truman’s arc as a child who was literally born to entertain the rest of us was something that audiences would only accept under the confines of fiction.  Twelve years later, and perhaps with ControlTV as its most recent proof, it seems less like fiction and more like an inevitability as creators constantly strive for relevancy via “groundbreaking” forms of entertainment.

For now, at least the protagonist in Green and Senreich’s ControlTV knows he’s being watched.