August 26, 2008 / 11:22 PM / 12 years ago

Fans atwitter over shutdown of "Mad Men" feed

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Cable network AMC has angered online fans of its critically acclaimed drama “Mad Men” by asking social networking site Twitter to shut down feeds inspired by the show.

The fan-penned feeds consist of brief text-message-length posts in the voices of “Mad Men” characters. Users can subscribe to the daily musings of virtual Don Draper, Peggy Olson and other employees of fictional advertising agency Sterling Cooper.

Twitter’s presentation doesn’t make clear whether the feeds are endorsed by the network, and AMC didn’t appreciate that some of the characters promoted products other than the show (including Twitter itself). The network complained, and Twitter yanked some of the feeds, causing the surviving “characters” to start frantically Twittering about getting “fired.”

“It seems very quiet in the office today,” noted boss Bertram Cooper.

“I worked hard. I did my job. But the boys at Twitter are just as churlish as the boys at Sterling Cooper. Such a pity they’re so petty,” Olson wrote on a newly registered account after her first feed was suspended.

The shutdown resulted in bloggers and Twitter fans criticizing AMC: “Its legal maneuvering may go down as the single worst use (misuse?) of social media,” Adrants.com wrote.

Many Twitter accounts are fans pretending to be fictional characters, so the “Mad Men” flap could set a precedent for Twitter users. Although anybody can legally pretend to be any made-up character, Twitter could be in violation of AMC’s trademark if its presentation successfully confuses readers as to whether the feeds are endorsed by the network.

Still, sources said that AMC still is looking into the matter and noted that some executives at the network recognize the value of the feeds. The show has dropped sharply in the ratings since its second-season premiere. And Don Draper certainly would approve of his product getting free advertising.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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