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iVillage Heads to Windy City


Looks like the successful run of iVillage Live at Islands of Adventure is coming to an end, a victim of its own success.

Seems the producers want to move the show to Chicago, where it will get “edgier,” which is TV-prodicer-speak for “more sex.” Seems the show felt reluctant to talk about naughty topics in a setting filled with kids from a theme park. Many people would probably ask, “So what’s wrong with that?”

But ratings are ratings and NBC obviously thinks they can raise theirs with a move. From the Sentinel:

“It’s got nothing to do with the show doing well or not doing well. The show is doing well. It’s all part of taking the show to the next level,” said Steve Schwaid, senior vice president of the NBC Stations Group, which produced the show. …

The show will continue to be produced before live audiences at the iVillage Live amphitheater at Islands of Adventure through June. Shows will be taped in July, and the show will go into summer hiatus in August. When it returns in September, it will do so from Chicago.

The show always was hyped as a new type of hybrid — TV talk show, Internet community and theme-park attraction. And at the start officials from both Universal Parks & Resorts and NBC vowed long commitments to their experiment.

Though the theme-park-attraction part of the mix drew strong, loyal followings, the hybrid apparently was too awkward a mix for the other two aspects. From the start, producers acknowledged that sexier topics popular on the Web site would be taboo in front of a theme-park crowd.

“The folks at Universal have been absolutely wonderful. We were looking at plans to continue Year 2 there. But as we looked at the show itself, and we looked at some of the research and content, when we talked with viewers, they said they wanted the show a little bit edgier,” Schwaid said.

Officials at Universal, which is partly owned by NBC, offered no regrets.

“We were thrilled for the opportunity to host iVillage Live at Universal Orlando and to be a part of the successful launch,” said spokesman Tom Schroder. “We wish them well.”

It is undetermined who among the hosts or crew will follow the show to Chicago, Schwaid said.

It also is undetermined what will be done next with the amphitheater, Schroder said.

Well, if iVillage Live was such a success, it would seem the answer is obvious — another TV show-theme park attraction hybrid, maybe one that doesn’t yearn to be sexy. Something along the lines of Double Dare, where kids could get slimed would be ideal. Imagine the publicity for Universal!




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