For 46 weeks, the Tabloid Baby team has contributed exclusive TV news and commentary to the popular television fan site, Tvgasm. And for 46 weeks, TVgasm’s core readers have hated us! (Typical comment: “I think you're a useless piece of crap, TB.” —Tabby LavaLamp)
Now, Tabloid Baby and TVgasm have parted ways.
“We were planning to do a solid 52 weeks— make it a year and then make an exit-- but the budget ran out before we could!" says Tabloid Baby editor Burt Kearns.
Tabloid Baby had been hired to give TVgasm a news presence after the TV recap site was bought last fall by Bunim Murray Productions, producers of MTV’s Real World and similar reality shows. Bunim Murray had hoped to expand the site into a major, interactive media site, but after the company's digital content chief left earlier this year, plans went into remission.
“It was never exactly the perfect fit," says Kearns.
"TVgasm attracts an audience of geeks and lonely housewives who think TV stars are their friends. It’s cute, naïve, unpolished and non-jaded, and they go for this thing called ‘snarkiness.’ Tabloid Baby isn't cute. We're jaded. Not naïve. And for some reason, that word 'snarky' makes us think of Mo Rocca!
"But it was fun. With TVgasm, we played it like we do on TV. Three or four television stories a day that we thought were important or interesting. And we did it differently than sites like TV Tattle or Defamer, which simply link to story sources. We broke news, did interviews, and added commentary and context. We also threw in a lot of curves, like history, satire and sidebar links. It was time-consuming, but it brought in a lot of new readers.
"But that original fan base kept up the attack. They accused us of being part of a corporate takeover. They only wanted recaps. They said we were mean! They’d get offended if we wrote that Kirstie Alley was fat or that Rachel Dratch was homely. Then they all retreated to the site forums, where the housewives and shut-ins flirt with the high school boys."
In an ironic twist, the first TVGasm news story in the post-Tabloid Baby era is a gossip item on a non-television subject— and pays tribute to the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ, of which Tabloid Baby is a leading critic.
It is cute, though.
"It’s funny, we got word (that Tabloid Baby had been cancelled) last week, days after we'd ventured into the forums to invite the crowd to take a look at what they’d been missing on the Newsgasm side. It turned into a hilarious argument. The geeks went on the attack, started playing mischief with our posts— it was chaos until the site moderator stepped in and foolishly, I think, appeased the group by announcing that ("pot stirrer") Tabloid Baby was leaving.
"Then, whoever had been fucking with us erased the thread and locked us out of the site before we could say goodbye and thank our real fans-- or fan!”
That’s the punchline. On Friday, NBC Universal sent us a copy of the deluxe seven-disc Heroes Season 1 DVD set. We’d intended to give it away as a parting gift.
So if you want the Heroes collection, email us here, with your answer to the question:
"What was the worst thing about Tabloid Baby’s work at TVGasm?”
We’ll post the answers and announce a winner.