Why just watch when you can write the script?

Interactive shows like NBC.com’s ‘Heroes: Destiny’ aim to shift the behavior model from TV- viewing passive couch potato to phone- and Web-interaction hero

Co-produced by Sprint Nextel, media shop Mindshare and NBC, the new micro-series “Heroes: Destiny” — a spin-off of the networks hit “Heroes” TV show that played on three screens — plays exclusively online at NBC.com and on Sprint phones. But that's not all that's new about the four-episode show.

It also changes some our favorite TV stereotyped behavior: the passive consumer hypnotized by the pretty pictures playing on the boob tube screen. In the typical TV-watching picture, the most macho role is operating the remote control. The rest is all slack posture and glazed eyes.

On the other hand, computer and mobile phone owners watch TV-type content too. And what are they called? Users. They push buttons. They order things up. They make things happen.

So how did the “Heroes: Destiny” producers change that? First, they invited viewers of the first “Heroes” — more than a million people — to participate in the “Create Your Hero” project, developed in conjunction with “Heroes” creator Tim Kring as a partnership between Mindshare Entertainment and NBC Universal Creative Partnerships & Innovation.

Appealing to the inner screenwriter in all of us, each week viewers were asked to select the characteristics of a new hero for the show, including gender, name, special powers, personality and physical features in an ongoing revision process that ultimately produced two viable heroes: Audrey and Santiago. Then viewers voted. Peruvian car mechanic Santiago, a 23 year-old only child who lives with his mom, won. Talk about calling the shots.

“For the first time ever, Sprint and NBC gave ‘Heroes’ fans a hand in the creative process,” said Bill Morgan, Sprint senior vice president, corporate marketing. “And with the ability to vote and ultimately watch the new micro-series exclusively on mobile with their Sprint phones, we are demonstrating even more ways that our technology allows people to interact and be entertained.”

For more information, visit www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20081110006527&newsLang=en.

You can see “Heroes: Destiny” at www.nbc.com/heroesdestiny.

Have comments or questions about this article? Visit our Forum and start a discussion at http://community.broadcastengineering.com/forums/.