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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

@midnight with Chris Hardwick

Entered in Twitter


With @midnight, we didn't just want to make a TV show about the internet. We wanted, specifically and deliberately, to bring the internet's own intrinsic behaviors to TV. The DNA of @midnight is not just re-playing YouTube clips, scrolling tweets in the lower third, or hoping bits go viral. By now, this just seems almost mandatory for any talk show. We embark on a different path: Every night, we put three of the world's best comedians on a stage and invite the audience to crack the best jokes right along with them using all the tools the internet provides. Our digital audience is as important as our linear and we cultivate these relationships seriously.

Strategy and Execution

@midnight is bolstered and fed by our audience, a phenomenon we refer to as our boomerang effect. We often throw prompts and challenges to our fans, who in turn create and submit content back to us, which we then incorporate into new gameplay that then engages our all-star panel of comedians. It makes the synchronous experience of the show feel as if there is no line between audience and panel. It's all part of the same conversation. This season, with the network's support, we doubled down on social and created a dedicated content team to cultivate the a-synchronous experience our show. Our @midnight digital pod creates roughly 30 pieces of unique content a week exclusively for our digital outlets - animations, gifs, memes and Vines.

Most notably our in-show marquee segment "HASHTAG WARS" trends globally on Twitter every shownight. But we strove this year to experiment on other social platforms. As Vine as a platform continued its rapid growth, we held an online contest to find the best Viner who wanted to create exclusive content of our account. Hundreds of entries were whittled down to five. These semi-finalist's vines were shown in an episode. Our then winning Vinetern was flown to LA, had his content featured online and made a triumphant maybe even more than 6-second cameo on-stage in the show.

Instagram has a very different aesthetic from Vine. That didn't stop us from launching the most ambitious a-synchronous experiments in the history of short-form storytelling: Plot Twistagram. Our digital pod created and produced a teaser native to the platform, inviting our followers to pitch what should happen next. That night, we got hundreds of pitches in the comments and picked our favorite, giving ourselves 24 hours to produce EXACTLY what our fan had pitched. Every week, for 12 weeks, we selected our favorite pitch from hundreds of submissions and shot additional 15-second story beats.


From the earliest development of the show, we wanted to shine the spotlight on those internet comedians who might never make it onto a TV show. This year figured out a way to cast one of the funniest to be on our panel. Our social TV experience reached its apex with our #PointsMe campaign. Using the hastag #PointsMe, we encouraged fans to tag their favorite jokes or comedy content - literally anything and everything - random musings on Twitter, Instagram selfies, Vine pranks, Tumblr memes and even straight up Youtube vids. This was a massive undertaking that created a unified message across disparate platforms. We developed an automated, internal tracking system and shared our favorite content with our audience in nearly real time. After few weeks and tens of thousands of Internet jokes, we winnowed it down to a finalist, Chris Cubas from Austin, TX. This part-time stand-up and full-time bartender had a nice local following but soon found himself on the LA @midnight stage, competing against Tom Lennon and Steve Agee.


Video for @midnight with Chris Hardwick

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Comedy Central, Funny or Die, Serious Business, Aloha Productions, Nerdist Industries, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Lennon/ Garant Productions


Entry Credits