By Josh Kolm
W Network is hoping to tell a story that engages its viewers on a new level with its first foray into original web programming: the interactive reality series #RippleEffect.
The series comes from producer Tony Wood, known for his work on British soap operas Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, as well as reality shows Geordie Shore and The Only Way Is Essex. The project is produced by Wood’s recently launched Buccaneer Media shingle and Cineflix Studios.
#RippleEffect is centred on three women — pre-med student Nina Nogrekar, ice skater Chantal Fry and writer Vicki Hogarth — as they pursue their goals in Toronto while navigating the hurdles of family, love and moving on from their past.
Viewers will be sending their feedback and advice to the women on social media as the show is being filmed, potentially altering the course of the show.
“Not only can you tweet about this show if [for example] you think he’s a terrible boyfriend or what you think she should really tell her sister, we’ll also have the principals participating on those platforms and interacting with the audience,” said John MacDonald, VP, head of women’s and family networks at Corus Entertainment. “As we turn around the next episode a few days later, we can see whether any of those social interactions have influenced what their course of action should be.”
The episodes will run anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes. MacDonald said the length of an episode can depend entirely on the story the producers are trying to tell, adding that working with Wood gives them the luxury of having someone used to delivering compelling drama under a tight deadline.
The first episode of #RippleEffect goes live on June 4 at 8 p.m. on Wnetwork.com/RippleEffect, followed by a post-show online chat show with host Amber Mac and Canadian radio and television personality Josie Dye. The second episode will be available on June 9 at 8 p.m.
The first two episodes of the show were funded in part by the Bell Fund’s TV Development Digital Pilot Fund.
This launch is the latest foray into online original programming from a Canadian network with CTV launching online platform CTV Extend last month.
(From Media in Canada, with files from Barry Walsh)