In “Flexible Microcasting: Gender, Generation, and Television-Internet Convergence,” Lisa Parks discusses the notion of “Television 2.0… which introduces the necessity of institutional reorganization and shifts in the format of programming as well” (Parks 134). As a means of adapting to this ‘reorganizing’ of television in an internet-crazed era, Parks offers the idea of “flexible microcasting,” which combines television and internet technologies to produce programming that is “carefully tailored to the viewer’s preferences, tastes, and desires” (Parks 135).
Like the target of Who Wants to Be a Millionare?, television networks are once again attempting to pursue the mass audience through a revamping of familiar television platforms. At the start of the new year, Fox debuted World’s Funniest Fails. In a sense, this show may be viewed as a revamp of America’s Funniest Home Videos in that it showcases “epic fail” clips in front of a live audience. However, the platform has been modified to cater to today’s technology. Throughout World’s Funniest Fails, hosted by Terry Crews, a panel of comedians view and comment on each clip. As these comedians later choose their own favorite clip, and Crews is responsible for choosing the “Fail of the Week,” this show also attempts to tap into some sort of game element.
Through its production, the show operates on the very notion of “flexible microcasting,” in that its basic formula relies on the blending of Internet content and televisual commentary. It was originally inspired by a YouTube channel, FailArmy, which is extremely interactive with viewer comments. Rather than accepting viewer submissions like America’s Funniest Home Videos, World’s Funniest Fails instead showcases viral videos, and thus relies on active Internet participation and viewership to structure each show. Therefore, this show “blends fantasies of private address and public participation”. Part of the its interest stems from curiosity as viewers tune in to see and hear what their favorite comedian thinks about the same clip that overtook their newsfeed that week. Thus, although the show itself is not great – by any means – it offers an interesting perspective on how networks are still reliant on old platforms, such as the game show format, whilst attempting to relevantly operate in this postbroadcasting era.