Twitter and BuzzFeed are joining forces to produce “#What2Watch,” a new Twitter-based show made in Britain and dedicated to reviewing the latest content on television. The joint project, unveiled at the Edinburgh Television Festival on Thursday, will be a live, weekly 40-minute show and is set to launch later this year.
“Our audiences are really passionate people who love TV,” said Dara Nasr, managing director of Twitter in the U.K. “And they’re not just loving watching it; they’re talking about it, engaging with other people who are talking about it…and having that moment of community….It’s the perfect show for us.”
“#What2Watch” follows another Twitter-BuzzFeed collaboration, the live-on-Twitter morning talk show “AM to DM by BuzzFeed News.” The new show was born of a gripe that Scott Bryan, a television editor at BuzzFeed U.K., posted on Twitter earlier this year, noting that movie-review shows are common but TV-review shows are not, despite the explosion in television content over the past several years. Shows like “Gogglebox” demonstrate that conversations about television can be popular viewing in their own right.
Bryan will host “#What2Watch” with Dionne Grant, BuzzFeed U.K.’s social media editor. They plan to talk about the week’s best and worst TV, and interview talent.
“When you watch TV, you’re also on Twitter,” Grant said, referring to the large number of people who watch television and tweet at the same time, often in conversation with other viewers. The new show is aimed at helping people “know what to watch and when to watch it….That’s what we’re trying to do: discover shows with you.”
The show will eventually be supported by advertising, probably by broadcasters and streaming companies eager to capitalize on an audience of TV fans and to steer them to other shows, Nasr said. But he said that would not undermine the editorial independence of the show’s presenters and their opinions.
“I would actually say, good luck trying to tell us what to say on the program,” said Janine Gibson, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed U.K. and a former senior editor at the Guardian newspaper.
Gibson said that discrete blocks of each episode of “#What2Watch” would be broken out to become separate, view-able segments on their own, which could then spawn further conversations based on those segments’ themes.
BuzzFeed is already producing for Hulu, Twitter and other platforms. “Despite not being really a production company…we’re producing for all of the platforms,” Gibson said. “I’d love to do something about politics. But I think we’ll get our feet wet on telly first.”