In the next stage a concrete event should be integrated into the television programme, which heralds the transition from collective to individual television experience. I term this event a "ritual". Just as with a classic ritual, it is predetermined by the collective and rules (by the television programme). At the same time however, it is individually experienced and embellished (through interactivity). With TV series, the repetitive nature of rituals also comes into play.
A wide range of things are suitable as rituals in iTV formats.
This is a well-nigh archetypal ritual. It therefore never loses its allure and significance. It unarguably continues to function today.
The ritual is based on identification with the hero. It results in activities such as costume-wearing, writing "fan fiction" and the meeting of like-minded individuals at conventions.
Some of the numerous programmes in this category include the revivals of the Greek heroes in the series "Hercules" and "Xena".
This is also a classic ritual. It offers personal positioning, community, demarcation, initiation and celebration. It can even have a religious function. Its significance with regards to interactive television is thus clear.
Many TV formats have a competition as a central ritual. This has been perfected for example by German entertainer Stefan Raab with his formats "Wok WM" and "Schlag den Raab".
Rituals can focus on playful elements such as roll-playing, riddles or sport.
A good example is the "goal wall shooting" that takes place in the German sports show "Das aktuelle Sportstudio". Although this is a competition, the focus is placed on the action and not on the result.
Many celebrations encompass rituals that focus the conscience on the meaning of the celebration. The dream wedding of Linda de Mol is an example.
Rituals of this type are an attempt to convert the psychological process directly into a TV format. This has been a success in "Zwei bei Kallwass" on Sat 1. The opening sequence presents the idea in the simplest way possible.
Here the critique is aimed at the folly, the strength of naivety and oafishness. This effectively offers extensive scope. It is however difficult to generate a format-filling ritual on this.
With his "Liebling des Monats" (sweetheart of the month) German host Harald Schmidt created a small marginal ritual on the basis of folly in his talk show.
Introduction to interactive television