You’ll be surprised at what Chuck season 5 (Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez) , Supernatural season 7 (Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalacki) and Fringe season 4 (Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv) have in common. According to Banyan Branch, a leading full-service social media agency, these are the top three TV shows receiving buzz online, especially when it comes to social media. Do TV fans matter more than ever? Damn right they do. And the results will surprise even the most loyal of TV watchers.

chuck season 5 nbc

CHUCK -- Season:5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Joshua Gomez as Morgan Grimes, Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker, Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Adam Baldwin as John Casey -- Photo by: Mitchell Haaseth

Update: This piece has been linked to by THE Zachary Levi on his twitter account! Hollah. That’s some hot nerd on nerd support! (What? I’m a total nerd. Did you seriously not know that?!) For those who might care, you can follow us on Twitter @SSScoop and you can follow me @ThisJessicaRae – I will always follow back unless you’re a weird porn site. And then it’s like, eh, 50/50. You can follow Zac on @ZacharyLevi, and someone should uh, totally tell his PR people that we are very willing and able to interview him about his champion status for the ongoing nerdolution! View our nerd machine coverage!

Chuck has such “low” ratings for NBC that this is the final half season of the series (and it doesn’t even return until October!), and Fringe has had to fight to stay on the air as well. But what does it mean when the tiny bit of fans you have are super devoted? Banyan Branch notes, “For TV broadcasters, the ultimate goal is to get viewers watching their television sets – yet, the most successful also shows understand the need to captivate its audience on Facebook, Twitter and their website. With social media becoming a vital tool in building excitement and ultimately viewership, the 2011 Fall TV season is poised to be the more impacted by social media than ever before.” Should TV executives be researching this type of material before they decide which shows to give the axe? Absolutely.

Fan favorite Glee (Lea Michele, Mark Salling, Kurt Colfer, Dianna Agron, Cory Monteith) is having a surprising downturn in popularity for season 3, and new shows such as The Playboy Club (Amber Heard, Eddie Cibrian) and Charlie’s Angels (Minka Kelly) are not being welcomed with much excitement. (To be fair, bloggers have mentioned that these shows are awful.)

Fall TV 2011 Surprises:

  • The top three shows currently receiving buzz online are Chuck, Supernatural and Fringe
  • Newcomers and returning favorites such as Glee, The Playboy Club and Charlie’s Angels have generated almost *no* online excitement
  • Even more surprising, online chatter for Glee, a show that has received an extraordinary of media attention during its first two seasons, has been fairly negative and conversation has pointed to the failure of the show’s promotion during the NFL games.

Additional takeaways:

  • Banyan Branch’s research indicates that the top three shows are using a variety of media outlets and their own Twitter properties for promotion, with popular sites like E!, Entertainment Weekly and People sharing exclusive content, season trailers and sneak peeks with Twitter followers.
  • Supernatural is exploring GetGlue, a service similar to FourSquare, but instead of checking into physical locations, you check in to TV shows you’re watching, books you’re reading or music you’re listening to. (GetGlue seems very popular with people on Twitter.)
  • Social viewing parties are emerging. Unofficial viewing parties are held via Twitter simply by fans using a pre-designated hashtag to have conversations with each other (Editor’s note: Such as #TVD but more specific like #TVDS3 for The Vampire Diaries season 3 conversations.)
  • A shift is occurring in how fans communicate with shows as they start to get access to some of their favorite characters on their favorite television shows—this communication is a privilege they’re coveting! For TV shows, it’s a great way to identify influencers and build relationships, opening the door for turning a loyal fan into a brand advocate. As shows compete to stay on the air, regular engagement with fans on Twitter is an essential way to keep the buzz going. (Editor’s Note: I am more excited when I get to tweet with a TV show star than when I’m conducting an official interview with one on the phone. This is because on Twitter they aren’t scheduled to talk with me.)