There are many groundbreaking aspects to the success of the hit show “Scandal.” For one, there’s the titillating behind-the-scenes glimpses into the high-octane world of politics:
Also, the lead character of the show, Olivia Pope, is a D.C. “fixer” and based on a real-life crisis manager named Judy Smith (whose services, interestingly enough, were recently utilized in the General David Petraeus scandal). Smith is well-known in D.C. circles.
Then there’s the rare sight of the show’s lead star, Kerry Washington: an African-American actress leading a prime-time drama.
Additionally, Washington’s character is involved in a torrid romantic affair with a married White male character…who just happens to be the President of the United States. Yeah, there’s that. Oh, and he’s Republican! Oh, and in real life, Washington is a passionate supporter of President Obama’s and sits on his administration’s Arts and Humanities Committee. Of course, gossip rags could not resist exploiting the parallels between Washington’s real-life role and her role on the show!
But perhaps the biggest story regarding the success of “Scandal” is how the show used social media to build its audience and brand, raising the bar for the marriage of TV shows and social media engagement in the process. It’s hard to think of a current prime-time show that engages its audience better through social media–Twitter specifically– than “Scandal.”
From the start, actress Kerry Washington followed the social media strategy advice of Allison Peters, and began engaging viewers of the show on Twitter with “live Tweets.”
Noted for getting Kerry Washington to take the leap on Twitter along with fellow cast mates, Allison’s genius has changed the game and is causing a few waves in the casting and television development industry. Actors for future shows are being assessed by their social engagement activity and are encouraged to be ready and available to speak to fans when it comes to promoting and discussing their involvement in a series….Platforms such as Vizify, Tweetreach, and Crowdbooster were recommended as the best ways to gauge if, when, and how best to jump into conversation mode online…
At first, I didn’t think much of Washington’s Tweets. It seemed like the logical choice for a show trying to get off the ground. But as the ratings began to show “Scandal” finding its footing each week, the #ScandalABC Tweets and Scandal-related Trending Topics took on a different feel. Soon it seemed like the nation was having a “water-cooler” moment about the show each week. Watching “Scandal” grow from a plucky and saucy hopeful to the most talked about show in prime-time–complete with national media coverage:
was fascinating to watch.
Basically, “Scandal” utilized the real-time advantage of Twitter to have a giant viewing party each week as the show aired. The show boasts strong chemistry between the two romantic leads, provocative and unconventional plot-lines, and an intoxicating brew of personal and political soapiness. It all makes for a potent mix that keeps viewers off-kilter and stunned. The shock and awe floods onto Twitter timelines each week, drenching the Trending Topics and piquing the curiosity of onlookers. And thus, “Scandal” became the most talked about show in prime-time and scored a season finale that broke records!
Who knows how long “Scandal” can keep up the fervid pace. One thing for sure is, Twitter will be waiting with baited breath for the start of Season 3. Meanwhile, I’ll be catching up this summer by watching Season 1 and 2 on Netflix. I won’t be alone.