When I watched the Grammy’s last month, I wasn’t only rooting for my favorite artists from my couch – I had Twitter open, engaging with my friends, following interesting hash-tags, and engaging in the event in a way that five years ago wasn’t even an option.

Industry people call this the 2nd screen and it’s fast become the way many people engage with TV and the thousands or millions of other viewers and fans across the globe. I don’t want to just sit passively in front of the TV, I want to be involved – but it’s just text, it’s one-way, and like it or not, I’m still not “part” of the show.

I grew up in Hollywood… and I remember seeing throngs of people lining up for the chance to be part of the live studio audience for any number of shows. They wanted to be involved. If they were lucky enough to get in, they still weren’t fully involved in the experience – it was one-way. They might be “on TV” when the camera panned the audience – and that was good enough.

Think about how many people stand outside just to be on the Today Show’s background video feed. But that audience has to be in NYC to participate and it’s still one-way. And to be in a live studio audience, you have to be local, be there in person.

The awesome and creative team at Jimmy Kimmel Live is asking the question: What if you didn’t have to be “local” anymore? What if the one-way text experience became a live, interactive experience? What if you could participate IN the show from anywhere, on any device, via video… be “on TV” from the comfort of your living room?

Well, I’m happy to tell you that the collaboration team at Cisco is partnering with Jimmy Kimmel Live to change that. We’re bringing the 2nd screen to the next level – and building in the opportunity for fans to be in the live studio audience at the same time – to be “part” of the show.

The “Wall of America”, located on the Jimmy Kimmel Live set in Hollywood, and powered by Cisco, will allow viewers in the US to video call from any device for an opportunity to be on the live broadcast. Through Cisco’s Jabber Guest, any participant with a browser and a camera will be able to click a link and have the possibility of joining the live broadcast. The producers will choose viewers to appear on the video wall, extending the live studio experience to viewers at home. Up to 20 different fans can be a part of the video wall simultaneously. Sound too good to be true? Check out the debut of the “Wall of America” on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show:

This isn’t the first time live audience members have been able to connect to a live show; we’ve seen plenty of low quality consumer grade technologies used over the years. The problem is that every time one of those unreliable connections starts to get grainy or drop signal it really loses the audience. This is the first time you will see high quality, professional-grade video being used to connect an audience from the comfort of their own homes… and it’s all being done through Cisco software.

With Cisco technology, Jimmy Kimmel Live is changing the fan experience by elevating fans from watching to being a “part” of the show through true video immersion – “on TV” from anywhere, on any device… And you can catch the Wall of America on Jimmy Kimmel Live regularly throughout the rest of the year.

For those of you who are featured on the show, I’d love to hear about your experience – comment below or send me a tweet: @RowanTrollope.




Rowan Trollope

Senior Vice President and General Manager

IoT and Collaboration Technology Group