Spoiler Alert! TVline.com’s Quest To Sell Exclusiveness Through Television’s Major Storylines

Spoiler Alert: The following article contains major spoilers on this past Sunday’s The Good Wife episode. Please read at your own risk.

Nothing is worse than having your much anticipated sunday show ruined for you by social media, in this case, the same websites and online magazines that cover entertainment articles. I am referring to the most damaging of all: TVline.com. While a usually good, well-received TV news and articles source, the breaking of a major spoiler through Twitter in order to sell viewers on exclusive TV interviews has got me thinking twice about what I choose to see on my Twitter Timeline.

The Good Wife had a major death this past sunday, when one of the regular characters suddenly killed amidst a murder trial. Now, The Good Wife has never had a major death in it’s entire five-season run, its a series that excels at carefully threading through plotlines and carving out specific details for each and every aspect of the show, making this death more than meaningful; it was devastating, even going in the episode as spoiled as can be.

Social media has changed the outlook on how we interact with Television. Yes, we can share our thoughts, theories, view an episode as many times as your heart desires but it could be a double edged knife when it comes to this situation. My main gripe here is for TVline.com to spoil such an integral plotpoint for the sake of exclusivity. Tweeting “[SPOILER ALERT] our thoughts on the shocking The Good Wife death” followed by another tweet that reads “Josh Charles Explains his exit from the show” with a link to an “exclusive” interview is the same thing as telling it’s 48,000 followers that Will has died on The Good Wife, less than 24 hours from the episode’s live-airing and before most of those followers could check out the episode.

This is 2014, where live-viewing numbers are relative to the DVR, online and downloadable offerings of the show.  Is there no consideration for fans in different countries or, taking into account that Sunday night is Television’s prime at its finest, to possibly understand that not all of it readers have had a chance to check out the show yet?  A link to the interview with the all-known “Spoiler Alert” tag next to a photo of the main character laying on his deathbed is a bit counter-productive, wouldn’t you say, TV Line?

TVLine's Spoiler exclusive articles

TVLine’s Spoiler exclusive articles

I am well aware that social media, specially Twitter, can outright destroy an episode for a viewer, while film critics and their studio-made facebook and twitter profiles are very careful to not release spoilery information as to not hurt their film sales.  We have all grown accustomed to staying off twitter, or Zap2’s comment section for that matter, for exactly these reasons, but I do not support this line of deception in order to sell an exclusive interview.

There are standardized and acceptable times in which it would be acceptable to release this information. TV shows come out on Amazon or Itunes within 24 hours, films are sold online/on DVDs about three months after their cinematographic debut. I think websites such as IGN, Film School Rejects or even Alan Sepinwall’s own blog are more understanding of fans and thoughtful at the time to write out a review or opinion piece.

Bonus: Zap2It is no example, either:

TV Guide couldn’t help itself either 

It is a tough virtual world out there. We don’t exactly make it easy to love one another when it comes to expressing our thoughts, feelings and opinions. I expect professionalism from the so-called journalists that operate TV Line. Shock, cheap thrills and misguided wording of an article’s title adds little to no value to your content.  I have opted to remove them from my Twitter feed, for the sake of enjoying every minute of a television series as it was meant to be watched. I expect as much respect for a series’ content as a film’s content. I hope that when these sorts of cheap tactics affect download sales more structured timeframes can be put in place to make the overall TV viewing experience as pleasurable as we all know it can be.


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