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‘Sharknado’ doesn’t have the same bite in ratings as on Twitter

By Meredith Blake and Joe Flint

Los Angeles Times

LAST UPDATED: 12:32 p.m. HST, Jul 12, 2013

NEW YORK » “Sharknado,” Syfy’s latest shlocky made-for-TV guilty pleasure, hit social media Thursday night like, well, a swirling cyclone of bloodthirsty fish.

The latest offering from the minds who brought us “Dinoshark,” “Sharktopus” and “Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus,” “Sharknado” also benefited from the presence of at least two past-their-prime actors, starlet-turned-party-girl Tara Reid and “Beverly Hills 90210’s” resident bro, Ian Zeiring. And, well, it’s the summer and there isn’t much else on.

The combination of an absurd yet self-evident premise, a clumsy portmanteau title, visual effects that would leave Ed Wood embarrassed, and D-list stars proved to be the perfect storm for Twitter snarking, with seemingly everyone — or at least seemingly everyone related somehow to the media industry — weighing in on the campy spectacle.

“Lost” writer Damon Lindelof live-tweeted the movie, at one point joking, “I am going to write the Sharknado sequel and I am going to do it before Shaknado is over.” NBC’s Chuck Todd observed, “I follow about a thousand folks. Every one of them tweeting about SharkNado.”

A brief glance at Twitter metrics (via the website Topsy) reveal just what a viral sensation “Sharknado” was Thursday night, seeming to arise from nowhere at precisely 9 p.m. EDT. (It remains to be seen whether social media buzz translates into actual ratings. The preliminary Nielsen report indicates that in this case, it didn’t, but more will be known later today when firmer numbers are released.)

The film’s director, Anthony Ferrante, even remarked on the social media frenzy: “i have never been part of something this crazy ... the whole world is watching my insane little movie and talking about it.”

At one point, Mia Farrow, one of the most prolific celebrity tweeters around, posted a picture of her with writer Philip Roth, saying they were watching the movie together. Alas, it appears she was joking: As several Twitter uses pointed out, Farrow posted the same picture a few weeks back; she has since deleted the tweet.

But even if America’s greatest living novelist wasn’t actually watching the summer’s most ridiculous (and ridiculously enjoyable) B movie, it hardly matters. The mere possibility that he might be, and the fact that so many people fell for Farrow’s sarcastic tweet, shows just what a giant inside joke the movie was Thursday night.

Almost 1.4 million people tuned into Syfy Thursday night to watch “Sharknado.”

While the numbers for the movie are solid, it is another example that Twitter activity doesn’t always correlate with TV ratings.

However, all the tweets and free publicity from news outlets looking to generate traffic by writing about “Sharknado” will likely mean the movie will continue to get decent ratings when Syfy repeats it.

“Sharknado” wasn’t just for kids. The median age for “Sharknado” viewers was 46.8, according to Nielsen.

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