The CW network, which has both obsessive fans and generally mediocre ratings, does boast an impressive slate of teen sci-fi shows these days, including “Supernatural,” “The Tomorrow People,” “Star Crossed” and “The 100.”
In the last several weeks, seemingly out of nowhere, Shatner has been live-tweeting various episodes of each of them.
Why is he doing this exactly? The network doesn’t pay him for his Twitter services. So what’s in it for him?
We asked Shatner himself, and he provided a rather delightful, lengthy e-mail reply. While he may not have a financial stake, as an actor who became famous because of a science fiction show, he is personally invested in the sci-fi genre and is always looking to help build it up.
As for the CW specifically, it all goes back to his friendship with “Supernatural” star Misha Collins. Collins directed an episode of his series for the first time and wrote on Twitter that he was going to live-tweet through the hour when it aired last month.
“Being the ‘older’ actor guy on Twitter, I’m always up for encouraging new actors and starting conversations,” Shatner explained. “I jokingly ‘threatened’ to live tweet along with him and he accepted. Thus my career as a live tweeter was born.”
Things only picked up from there: After he did it for “Supernatural,” some actors from freshman drama “The Tomorrow People” started contacting Shatner, and asked if he would be up for live-tweeting their show.
“Being the ham that I am I agreed,” Shatner wrote. “BUT, this time I had a price.” In other words, the “Tomorrow People” cast members had to provide Shatner with a signed item for his upcoming charity event, the Priceline.com Hollywood Charity Horse Show silent auction; signed celebrity items are big sellers. The actors agreed, and Shatner got ready to tweet.
Then, on the Monday that Shatner planned to live-tweet “The Tomorrow People,” he watched its lead-in, “Star Crossed” — a few cast members from that show had been tweeting him as well, so he figured, why not? He jumped in to share his thoughts during both shows.
As it happens, the CW saw its best Monday night ratings in more than a year, and the New York Post credited him for the spike. Shatner loved it.
He continued to tweet the following week as well, and got even more into it once he started catching up on the plotlines.
It didn’t stop there, as even more shows wanted in on the action: “‘The 100’ asked me to Live Tweet and of course I agreed (one can’t show favoritism.)” Shatner noted. “And yes, they are sending a signed item for my auction as well.”
Really, it’s a win-win-win. The shows get free publicity, Shatner joins the elite club of Famous Live-Tweeters, and money is raised for charity. Of course, other CW fandoms (such as “Beauty and the Beast,” which is on the bubble for being renewed for a third season) are lobbying for Shatner to join in.
We’ll see if Shatner expands his live-tweeting empire. With his “Star Trek” legacy, he’s just happy that there’s entertaining sci-fi on TV.
“The CW network seems to be the last bastion of Science Fiction shows on broadcast television so I am obviously very interested in ensuring the genre on TV stays alive,” Shatner said.
And, he added: “If you’re a network exec and in the market for a Live Tweeter – Call me! ;-)”