'Saving Hope', 'Continuum', 'Cedar Cove' Stars Part of New TV Ratings/Twitter Trend


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Earlier this afternoon, actor Michael Shanks tweeted, "On an airplane tonight so no #savinghope livetweeting for me. But that shouldn't stop you #CTV #10pm #darkness #whippedcream." This enticing message to his fans and those on Twitter who might be intrigued by Shanks' current TV series, 'Saving Hope', is a sign of the current times, and now even the infamous Neilsen company says it is having an impact on ratings. It announced this week that it now has statistical evidence that there is definitely a connection between TV viewership and Twitter activity.

Reportedly, Shanks (best known as Dr. Daniel Jackson in 'Stargate SG-1') only finally joined Twitter in the first place when convinced he needed to have his presence felt in order to promote the show, which is now in its second season on Canadian TV. The first season, sans the final two episodes, also aired in America on NBC. This season, the actor has taken to Twitter almost weekly to share his thoughts as the Tuesday night drama airs. Co-star Erica Durance also joins in when she cans. This also supports the idea that Twitter has power with traditional TV watching.

In its Twitter Causation Study, Neilsen noted that the ratings of a show impacted the amount of Twitter activity related to that show by 48 percent. Conversely, in 29 percent of the 221 episodes studied, the number of real time tweets, those occurring as a primetime show was being broadcast, significantly increased the ratings of those shows.

Shanks' wife, Lexa Doig ('Andromeda'), is part of the ensemble cast for the science fiction show, 'Continuum' that has just been renewed for a third season. Doig tends to tweet quite a bit and in the past, almost the entire cast has been online to tweet during the weekly telecasts. They are often around during both the eastern and western timezone broadcasts.

Hallmark has also gone to Twitter to help promote its new show, 'Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove.' Star Andie MacDowell was on hand during the pilot broadcast while co-star Dylan Neal tweeted during last week's first regular episode. Another co-star, Teryl Rothery, is another big Twitter-er who actively promotes the show.

Stars like Shanks who take time out of their personal lives to spend go online and respond to fans while their TV shows air are clearly leading the way to a new tomorrow where fan interaction during live broadcasting is common place and definitely affects the success of a program. There is now little doubt this investment of time pays off for performers in their careers.