CBS‘ Hawaii Five-0 will be making some TV history on Monday, January 14 when it will become the first primetime drama to allow viewers to choose the ending of an episode in real time. In the episode, the Hawaii Five-0 team investigates the death of an O’ahu State University professor. His boss, his teaching assistant and a student who he busted for cheating are all viable suspects. After each suspect’s motives are revealed, viewers will be able to choose the culprit, any of whom could have committed the crime.
Fans will be able to vote on CBS.com or Twitter during both the East and West coast broadcasts. The votes will be tallied immediately and the most popular ending will become part of each broadcast. All three endings will be available at CBS.com later that evening. “I’ve always felt the most fun aspect of watching a mystery is trying to figure out whodunit,” said Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter Lenkov. “Now the Hawaii Five-0 viewers will actually get the chance to tell us who they think committed the crime and we will listen.”
TV networks have experimented with interactive storytelling, but their attempts have largely been limited to the development stage. One of the highest-profile such projects was comedy heavyweight Chuck Lorre’s 2001 Fox pilot Nathan’s Choice, an interactive comedy starring JD Walsh as a college grad that allowed viewers to vote and decide the outcome of Nathan’s decisions week-to-week.