Yesterday, as Brian Stetler exposed in the New York Times, ABC had to remove some problematic language from the website for their new sitcom airing tonight, In the Motherhood. Turns out that the interactivity that worked for the webseries -- asking viewers to send in their real life stories to be the basis for fictional storylines -- was not going to work for the network series. The Writers Guild was up in arms that user generated content would drive the show, and thus the show's "writers" wouldn't be compensated according to union rules and regulations.
While ABC is right to avoid getting into yet another sticky situation with the litigious Writer's Guild, they shouldn't abandon the principle that made this project valuable in the first place -- listening to real stories from real mothers.
Tonight, unbeknownst to the powers that be at ABC, groups of mothers will be buzzing on multi-media platforms, such as twittermoms, hosting an online viewing (and of course, tweeting party). So while ABC won't be accepting their story ideas, at the very least they should tune in and listen because moms want to be a part of the experience. As my friend Kimberley Clayton Blaine of www.TheGoToMom.com said to me:
"Moms are excitingly sitting with their laptops ready to twitter the night away because it's just one more opportunity to connect to other moms. Moms need moms. Moms are an isolated bread, and with social networks like twittermoms.com, we can now easily communicate, support and gossip with each other, it's quite thrilling."
It would be unfortunate if ABC wasn't watching the mothers who they want to be watching their show.