Television Without Pity Sold – to NBC Universal

If you were on the website Television Without on Monday, and went on The Real Housewives of Orange County thread, you found all the posts wiped out on the advice of lawyers.

Now we know why.

It turned out NBC Universal, the owner of the pop-culture focused cable net, acquired the website on Tuesday under the Bravo name. (Real Housewives airs on Bravo.) The popular site, known for its snarky recaps of hot-for-the moment TV shows (including Grey’s Anatomy and Project Runway), and its message boards, will add new shows, podcasts, video content, and blogs, among other things.

This marks the second time this year that a big media name has acquired a TV fan site. Last year, TV Guide acquired Jump The Shark.

Analysis: TWoP is one of many sites where TV fans get recaps of shows and post on their message boards. It is also believed that many who work in the entertainment industry visit and post on the site as well. While the site has its fans, it also has its detractors.

Many feel the site recaps are too smarky and smug. And many complain about the heavy-handed moderation on the board, with a few complaining about being banned from the site if you voice a dissenting opinion about a program.

This situation partly led to the downfall of the original Radio-Info website, where many posters complained about heavy-handed moderation, especially when it came to posting negative remarks about hip-hop and rap music. When the site was taken over by new ownership, they fired the moderators, in which some say the site has greatly improved.

Not from me, though. Radio-Info has increasingly been leaning to the right and has become a forum to bash black and Hispanic formats. (One note: The TV and new generation media boards are fine. It’s some of the radio forums that are the problem.) The new moderators have done nothing about it, leading me to assume they have the same feelings as the posters. That’s why you don’t see Radio-Info listed as a media “friend” on this site.

Big media is increasingly getting into the online website business. While they say nothing will change, except for “improvements”, you can’t help but feel that those “improvements” will make things worse. One could wonder if it will be an “anything goes” atmosphere like at Time Warner-owned, where racial hate messages are prominently displayed.

I’m not all for heavy-handed moderating. But when someone steps over the line with offensive comments based on race, gender, and the like, it should be dealt with swiftly. And that’s not happening on these big media websites.

Does anyone think that big media cares about offensive messages on their websites? The hotter the discussion (aka flame wars), the more people visit. The more people who visit, the more money the website can make. It’s just as simple as that.

After all, do we really need another website, blog, or message board like that? Big media does. That’s a warning to all you TWoP fans out there. Your good site may very well go down the tubes. Look what happened to Radio-Info.