Jeff Perry: Kerry Washington Was The Real Mastermind Behind The Explosive Twitter Presence Of 'Scandal'
Every Thursday evening, Twitter explodes with commentary and live play-by-plays from “Scandal” fans who can’t get enough of the hit ABC drama. With cast members and producers regularly chiming into the conversation and promoted hashtags airing during episode previews, Twitter has become a key aspect of the “Scandal”-watching experience.
As it turns out, we have the star of the show, Kerry Washington herself, to thank for the show's impressive Twitter reach.
Her co-star Jeff Perry, who plays the witty and manipulative Cyrus Beene, told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that Washington predicted social media’s impact in building a cult following for the show four years ago. He explained:
Right from the very beginning, Kerry, from her work on President Obama’s campaigns and her artistic career, she was just already sold. … And the truth that would come out is that she said to Shonda [Rhimes], ‘Look, we’re just starting on this adventure. I can tell from the structure of this show and where things are going, I really and completely believe this, we’ve gotta create a relationship with the fans. And Twitter will be the way to do it.'
But Washington didn’t take credit for the idea. Instead, she asked showrunner Shonda Rhimes to push the vision.
“So Kerry said, ‘Shonda, will you pretend that it’s your idea, so they don’t think that I’m Ms. Bossypants?’ And Shonda said, ‘Yes, of course I will,’” Perry told host Alyona Minkovski.
And just like that, Rhimes took the idea to the cast and producers.
“Shonda said, ‘We’re doing this, you guys. It’ll be great. And here we go,’” Perry said.
Promoting a Twitter presence should have been a no-brainer, he said. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show had a ratings boost when it finally hit its Twitter stride.
Perry added that though “water-cooler shows” and live television viewing is virtually “non-existent” these days, “Scandal” has a dedicated fanbase, intense plot twists and countless OMG moments that make it prime for excellent Twitter banter.
“That’s exactly the kind of show ... where you can actually get live viewing, and enjoyable live viewing, because people don't want to be hours or days behind where the plot is going,” he said.
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with “Scandal” star Jeff Perry here.
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