Bravo Planning "Virtual Viewing Party" for "Real Housewives" Finale

--"Social Media Event" to Use Twitter, Facebook Connect, Live Mobile and Online Chat

Cable channel, Bravo, has announced plans to hold a live "virtual viewing party" for the May 5th finale of its reality series, "The Real Housewives of New York City" (10:00PM ET/PT). During the show's broadcast, viewers will be invited to voice their opinions through Twitter, Facebook Connect and live mobile chat, and also to interact with one another through Facebook Connect. In addition, they will have the chance to interact with the show's eponymous stars: two "real housewives" (Bethenny Frankel from New York City and Tamra Barney from Orange County) will Twitter comments during the finale and will answer viewer questions live via mobile and online chats, Bravo says. In addition, the channel promises, viewers will be able to access "exclusive behind-the-scenes content" from the "Real Housewives" mobile fan club.

Bravo claims that the planned "social media event" marks the first time that a programmer has "created a live viewing party by bringing the series off the TV screen and directly into the viewers' homes." The channel also plans to stream the finale live on both coasts. "The 'Real Housewives' franchise has been lightning in a bottle for Bravo, and we wanted to capitalize on our fans' passion for these series and create a social media watercooler event that gives viewers many different layers of engagement and interactivity," Lisa Hsia, SVP of Bravo Digital Media (and winner of a 2008 [itvt] Award for Leadership in Interactive and Multiplatform Television), said in a prepared statement. "This is the first time ever that a network has done a live event on every platform available to its audience, and we've left no stone unturned in bringing our dedicated fans everything we can offer to make their viewing experience as hands-on and interactive as possible."

North America