×

‘Sharknado’ Takes Social Media By Storm

Writers, producers, actors gleefully take aim at cheesy Syfy disaster pic

It was raining sharks on Thursday night for TV’s intelligensia.

The Syfy telepic “Sharknado” caught fire in social media, particularly after it began unspooling on the East Coast at 10 p.m. ET. The hashtag-friendly title and utterly ridiculous premise — Los Angeles is ravaged by a tornado of sharks — made it an irresistible target for Twitter commentary for a host of prominent showrunners, producers, actors and industry execs.

On Thursday night, “Sharknado” was the top-trending term on Twitter for hours, and tweets with that hashtag were arriving at the rate of dozens per second during the East and West coast runs of the so-bad-it’s-good telepic starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid.

Given the explosion of second-screen interest in the pic, bizzers will be closely eyeing the ratings on Friday to see if it had more traction that the average fantastical Syfy made-for, and whether the West Coast airing saw a bump from the storm of interest the title generated on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

Showrunners such as Damon Lindelof and Shawn Ryan took delight in live-tweeting the movie. But the commentary on Sharknado extended to such unexpected quarters as NBC News’ Chuck Todd and actress Mia Farrow.

As Todd noted, it was impossible to miss “Sharknado” on Twitter on Thursday night, a deluge that undoubtedly drove tune-in for Syfy.

Syfy execs were not immediately available for comment Thursday night. It’s likely that even the biggest “Sharknado” supporters at the NBCUniversal cabler were surprised by the depth of the reaction that the summer guilty pleasure hit with viewers. Certainly “Sharknado” writer Thunder Levin didn’t see it coming.

“It’s very exciting, and the magnitude of the response is a bit overwhelming,” Levin told Variety. “The response from other screenwriters has been surprising.  I honestly didn’t see that coming.  I actually traded tweets with Damon Lindelof tonight. Though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who I am.”

The “Sharknado” concept was the brainchild of execs at The Asylum, the shingle that produced the pic for Syfy (not to be confused with Asylum Entertainment, a different entity). Levin wrote and directed a pic for Asylum last year, “American Warships,” and they asked the hyphenate to pitch them ideas for a prospective telepic called “Shark Storm.”

Levin passed at the time but was persuaded when the Asylum partners — Paul Bales, David Latt and David Rimawi — came back to him a month later with a title and a concept he couldn’t refuse, although Levin did pass on the chance to direct “Sharknado.”

The storm stirred up by “Sharknado” is a vivid demonstration of the power of second-screen activity to help traditional networks market their wares and turn projects with the right kind of sizzle into programming events that resonate long after the initial telecast ends.

But “Sharknado” is also an example of how unpredictable the social media hive effect can be. The attention to “Sharknado” gained  steam through as more and more people shared their live-snarking on social media. No amount of advance marketing and strategizing on Syfy’s part could have unleashed such a torrent if viewers weren’t genuinely compelled to the screen by a pic that didn’t take itself too seriously (The key art tagline is: “Enough Said!”).

Here’s a sampling of Hollywood’s reaction:

https://twitter.com/DamonLindelof/status/355503102490714113

https://twitter.com/MiaFarrow/status/355518822020685824

More TV

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content