Google searches for “America’s Got Talent,” starting tonight, will return results pages with ballots to vote for the show’s contestants — the latest effort to drive live TV viewership on the backs of Internet-connected devices.
The concept is not new: Google earlier this year ran a similar execution for Fox’s “American Idol,” allowing viewers to vote for contestants from search pages.
It’s not completely clear how much so-called “second screen” integrations actually lift viewership, but the thinking among TV execs is that it can’t hurt. Still, the approach is no guarantee of success: ABC reality competition “Rising Star,” allegedly revolutionary because it centered on live audience voting through a companion app, has tanked in the ratings.
For “America’s Got Talent,” fans will see a ballot in Google search results on the web or apps starting with Tuesday night’s broadcast and continuing through the rest of the season; voting starts at the end of the show (10:55 p.m. ET) and continues through 12 p.m. ET the following day. On the Wednesday results shows, Google also will let viewers weigh in to save contestants in danger of being voted off via searches for “America’s Got Talent Save” or “Snapple Save” (Snapple is NBC’s sponsor for the “save” portion of the program).
“We are excited to bring viewers more easy and interactive ways to participate in ‘America’s Got Talent,’” said Robert Hayes, EVP of of digital for NBC Entertainment. “By partnering with Google, we hope to give all fans the power to make a difference in the outcome of the show.”
“Talent” viewers also can vote on NBC.com, Facebook and via the show’s smartphone apps. Viewers can vote up to 10 times via the Google vote method per account, using mobile devices, tablets or computers; they must be 13 or older and a resident of the U.S., Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico.
“America’s Got Talent” is produced by FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, while “Idol” is from FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment.