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Fan-ola: NBC Will Make It Worth Your While to Like Its Shows

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Are you excited about NBC’s new fall shows? Really excited? Oh. Well, would a Daryl “Office” bobblehead change your mind? Or a Bob and Jillian Biggest Loser mug?

NBC is busily promoting its “Fan It” social networking program, in which it will pay, er, um, incentivize fans of its shows to promote its programming by participating in online “challenges,” watching videos or talking up its programming on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Among the rewards: a walk-on role in The Event, various tchotchkes from NBC’s returning programming, “guest blogger experiences on NBC.com’s Healthy Lifestyles blog” and a screening of the pilot of new U.S. Marshal drama Chase. So that, you know, you can find out if Chase is actually as good as you were saying it was online in order to get Fan It points.

I suppose I can’t say that this program is bribery, exactly—as opposed to, say, NBC sending me a cash payment to review Chase positively. (NBC and many other networks do often send critics various gewgaws of the kind described above, which I generally donate to Time’s holiday sale of swag items for charity.) Since NBC is offering items related to its own shows as prizes, it would tend to reward only those people who actually did like its shows. (Though I suppose there are conceivably reasons someone might try to win a souvenir of a show he or she hated. For eBay? To impress a crush? Penance?)

If successful, though, it would seem to inflate NBC’s buzz online, since it would have the effect of encouraging people who like NBC’s shows to, well, like them harder. So: yet another thing to look for alongside all those Farmville requests on your Facebook wall.

That said, I am so going for the Duke Silver T-shirt.