Photo Courtesy of Nickelodeon
Now in its fourth season, “iCarly” stars Miranda Cosgrove as a tech-savvy teen who hosts her own weekly webisode show. Everything on the show is a little over-the-top and the laugh track pops up at many non-LOL moments to remind the audience. Carly and her best friend Sam film the show in the loft where Carly lives with her brother.
Kids can contribute material through iCarly.com. Viewers are regularly reminded to log on and check out blogs and videos on iCarly.com. Fans can also send in story ideas, comments, and UGC videos, some of which will be used on air. The show itself is full of harmless banter, fluff comedy, and some occasional talk about tween/teen issues.
Carly lives in Seattle, Washington with her twenty-six year old brother/guardian Spencer. Carly and Spencer’s mother is apparently MIA, but their father is a U.S. Air Force officer (“Col. Steven Shay”), stationed on a submarine. They talk about “dad,” but he never appears on the show.
The idea of allowing kid viewers to submit story ideas or videos for possible inclusion makes the show popular with Web-savvy tweens. “Technology has become an integral part of kids’ social lives, so shows that portray social kids have to include things like cell phones, iPods and computers,” wrote Carey Bryson in the About.com Guide to Kids’ Movies & TV.
Alessandra Hickson recently interviewed Matthew Evans, senior vice president of Nick Digital, Nickelodeon Kids’& Family Group about iCarly’s winning formula on integrated media. Her post on NYU LiveWire included these insightful quotes. According to Evans, the show “is less about technology and more about being relevant to what our audience is interested in and doing.”
“Facebook, text messages, and twitter are all the rage right now, but whether or not future kids shows will incorporate tech depends upon their significance in the future. “Today, that means incorporating technology,” continues Evans, “The more you can be relevant to your audience and engage them across platforms, the better chance you have for ratings,” adds Evans.”
Tweens and young teens are clearly responding to the integration of webisodes, blogs and texts that make them feel like they are part of iCarly. Miley Cyrus’ ‘Hannah Montana’ may get more press coverage, but the Nickelodeon show starring Miranda Cosgrove has more tween viewers.