SpeidiShow: a netprov
the SpeidiShow Players
Citation: Witting, Rob, Mark Marino and the SpeidiShow Players. “SpeidiShow: a netprov.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 11, 2015. doi:10.20415/hyp/011.g08
Abstract: SpeidiShow was a collaborative netprov that centered on an imaginary reality show, featuring actual reality TV celebs, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag (collectively known by their tabloid moniker "Speidi") with their full cooperation. SpeidiShow makes a statement on the nature of reality entertainment, which is largely a recapitulation of those timeless verses of that timeless, nautical hymn: Life is but a dream... Tweeted with a memorable hashtag.
SpeidiShow was a collaborative netprov that centered on an imaginary reality show, featuring actual reality TV celebs, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag (collectively known by their tabloid moniker "Speidi") with their full cooperation. We were fascinated by the contemporary phenomenon of "live tweeting" — using social media while watching television to critique, lampoon, banter and bash a show, its stars, and other fans. We asked: what if we live-tweeted an imaginary show, thereby creating it?
During October 2013, SpeidiShow emerged, a reality show of shows complete with official-looking website, which took on a new genre each week. Show themes for the 7 episodes included: "Speidi, My Relationship is Sinking" in which the duo, noted for their own rocky past, offered love advice, the ecological documentary adventure "Who Stole the Bees?" (Putin, as it turns out), "Don't Throw a Fitspiration," a satire of celebrity fitness culture, and "Celebrity Haunted House" on Halloween in which Gertrude Stein wrecked havoc in a battle of deceased divas.
An exploration of the unreality behind Reality TV as well as the epiphenomenon of fan culture, SpeidiShow was as real as fans wanted it to be. The show also had a life on blogs and in tabloids, which found themselves scratching their airbrushed heads at the metafictional netprov. The real life Spencer and Heidi, deeply aware of the ironic artistry behind their corporation-crafted public personae, enjoyed the chance to be more in control of their narratives and to look at their industry from the empowering perspective of satire.
Like all great network programming, SpeidiShow followed the arc of the over-hyped coming attraction, the event-of-the-season launch, mishaps and scandals, personality crises with the talent, and the inevitable threat to move the show to Liechtenstein and replace one of the leads (swapping Spencer Pratt with British Reality TV Star Spencer Matthews) followed by violent and yet strangely satisfying premature cancellation.
Throughout the course of the show, Spencer and Heidi’s accounts would document their involvement with their weekly challenges as well as their own marital challenges, such as their quest to conceive of an Aura Baby — the fruit of the merger of their auras. Spencer and Heidi explained some of the theory behind the show to the ELO 2014 conference in Milwaukee.
SpeidiShow makes a statement on the nature of reality entertainment, which is largely a recapitulation of those timeless verses of that timeless, nautical hymn: Life is but a dream... Tweeted with a memorable hashtag.
(scroll to Oct 31, 2013 and before)
Supreme Executive Producer: Colin Tags-Helter
Executive Producers: Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag
Creators: Mark C. Marino, Rob Wittig
Players: Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, Cathy Podeszwa, Jean Sramek, Joellyn Rock, Betsy Boyd, Skye McIlvaine-Jones, Davin Heckman, Jeff T. Johnson, Claire Donato, Ian Clarkson, Sarah-Anne Joulie, Chloe Smith, and the rest of Twitter.
Logo Design: Rick Valicenti, 3st.
Production Design: Rob Wittig, Matt Olin.
Coverage of SpeidiShow in the Press
MTV saw the SpeidiShow and reported it with a straight face:
"The third episode aired last night, and the inseparable blondes live-catered a wedding for a VERY trusting couple."
Buzzfeed caught the SpeidiShow:
"Netprov basically extends what 'reality stars' do all the time — only it allows the fans to help tell the story," Pratt told BuzzFeed."
Huffington Post posted it:
"Which is why their brilliant — and successful — experiment is so infuriating."
"But in a move that seems to be part-hoax, part-next generation twitter ish, Spencer and Heidi have teamed up with Mark C. Marino and Rob Wittig to create a reality show that sees the duo acting out different reality show formats (think Say Yes To The Dress or House Hunters), all dictated by fans on Twitter."
InTouch got it:
"Spencer and Heidi explained that their revolutionary new form of entertainment takes on an interactive format rather than a traditional series, using a new technique called 'netprov' — which combines improvisational theater with live tweeting."
MTV looked again:
"'SpeidiShow is just as real as [people's] image of us,' Spencer told Us. 'People have tried little Twitter tricks, but this is bigger. It's a whole interactive world — the show, the backstory, the on and offscreen drama, made out of a huge online collaborative improv game.'"
UsWeekly talked with us, too:
"Montag tells Us. 'Now fans can help us create new versions of Speidi.'"
New York Magazine's The Cut came to play:
"Aura Babies are the New Celebrity Babies...You must never ask if a woman is with an Aura Baby, though Montag has promised that Pratt will carry this couple's Aura Baby to term."
- Gontcharova, Natalie. "Speidi's New Web Show Sees the Reality TV Couple Attempting Actual Jobs." Remote Control, MTV Shows Blog. 10/04/2103. Accessed: 02/11/2014. Web. http://remotecontrol.mtv.com/2013/10/04/the-hills-spencer-heidi-speidi-show/
- Tanzer, Miles. "How Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag Fooled Everyone With Their Latest Reality Show; Speidi's back with a new series — the only catch is it doesn't exist." Buzzfeed Entertainment. 10/10/13. Accessed: 02/11/2014. Web. http://www.buzzfeed.com/mylestanzer/how-spencer-pratt-and-heidi-montag-fooled-everyone-with-thei#.twOqWwGP8
- Huffpost Staff. "Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt Out-Clever Us All; Also, Humanity Might Be Coming To An End." Huffington Post. 10/10/2013. Accessed: 02/11/2014. Web. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/10/heidi-montag-spencer-pratt-speidishow_n_4079678.html
- Kanoff, Emily. "Spencer And Heidi Pratt Are Back With a New Show — Or Are They?" OK! 10/11/2013. Accessed: 02/11/2015. Web. http://okmagazine.com/get-scoop/spencer-and-heidi-pratt-are-back-with-a-new-show-or-are-they/
- Sitzer, Carly. "Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag Mix It Up On New Experimental "Show" 'Speidishow.'" InTouch. 10/13/2013. Accessed: 02/11/2015. Web. http://www.intouchweekly.com/posts/spencer-pratt-and-heidi-montag-mix-it-up-on-new-experimental-show-speidishow-27052
- Editor. "Speidi Back To Their Old Shenanigans, Confess To Web Show Hoax." Remote Control; MTV Shows Blog. 10/16/2013. Accessed: 02/11/2105. Web. http://remotecontrol.mtv.com/2013/10/16/speidi-show-hoax/
- Mcrady, Rachel. "Exclusive: Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt Explain Their "SpeidiShow" Prank." Us Weekly. 10/14/2013. Accessed: 02/11/2015. Web. http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/heidi-montag-spencer-pratt-explain-their-speidishow-prank-20131410
- Lange, Maggie. "Aura Babies Are the New Celebrity Babies." New York Magazine; The Cut. 10/15/2013. Accessed: 02/11/2015. Web. http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/10/aura-babies-are-the-new-celebrity-babies.html