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Syfy Courts the Online Community at Annual Digital Press Tour

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Syfy's fifth annual Digital Press Tour last week reinforced what regular attendees of this confab have known for years: That it is one of the most efficient and innovative publicity and promotion events in the business.

One might suggest that press conferences in the digital age that are specifically targeted to Web writers, dedicated bloggers and epic tweeters ought to take place online. But watching attendees continuously interact with Syfy's talent and executives throughout the one-day tour only reinforced the value of in-person contact, especially in a media-driven environment that encourages instant and continuous communication between all participants. The digerati were asked to tweet as often as possible and update their blogs and Web sites throughout each of the day's nine panels, and to further talk with, interview or photograph the talent once each panel concluded. (Many of those tweets can be found at #SyfyTour.) They were also invited to shoot video throughout each panel and immediately upload it to their various online platforms.

The tour included sessions with Being Human stars Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath; Face Off host McKenzie Westmore and judge Ve Neill; Sanctuary stars Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne, and WWE Smackdown wrestlers Wade Barrett and Alicia Fox. There were also panels for Syfy's December miniseries Neverland (a prequel to Peter Pan) with cast members Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel and Charlie Rowe and upcoming one-shot holiday episodes of Eureka, Haven and Warehouse 13 with the stars of those shows, Colin Ferguson, Emily Rose and Eddie McClintock, respectively.

The day also included panels for two upcoming series: A supernatural thriller titled Lost Girl, about a conflicted succubus, and an observational reality show titled Monster Man, which will chronicle the goings-on at a family-run monster movie prop shop in Hollywood. The biggest news of the day was the announcement of a wild new competition series called Total Blackout, which is based on a hit Danish series in which people compete in challenges in complete darkness. (YouTube has some particularly attention-grabbing clips from the Danish show.) Syfy's adaptation is hosted by former Family Matters star Jaleel White, who was also at the tour.

This column continues over at MediaPost.