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Tuning in to TV: ‘The Voice’ rolls out Facebook voting app

- - Sunday, April 1, 2012

NBC's talent show "The Voice" is jumping on Facebook's timeline app bandwagon to give fans another way to vote for their favorite contestants.

The new application allows viewers to cast votes for "Voice" singers and connect with friends and others watching the show, NBC and Facebook said Friday. Voting on live performances begins Monday, the Associated Press reports.

The Facebook app for "The Voice" is intended to create "a fully social online voting experience," said Vivi Zigler, president of NBC Universal Digital Entertainment.

"We have been working very closely with Facebook to really build a social voting app that takes advantage of every whiz-bang, bell and whistle that Facebook has built for timeline," Ms. Zigler said.

Besides serving as a ballot box and a bridge between viewers, the "Voice" app will lead users to new content, including performance videos and blogs, NBC said.

In January, when Facebook unveiled about 60 new apps that let people share the smallest details of their lives on their profile, now known as their timeline, the company said it expected developers to create thousands more.

Dubbed "frictionless sharing" by Facebook, the apps allow a user's activity to be automatically shared through Facebook - although people can limit who's able to see this activity when they sign up for the apps.

Nearly 3,000 apps have been launched in two months for websites ranging from the Onion to Nike to foodie site Foodily, Facebook said.

Making use of a timeline app for voting is innovative, said Justin Osofsky, director of platform partnerships at Facebook.

"The Voice," which features Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as coaches, has seen a sharp increase in viewership in its second season and is drawing the young adult viewers prized by advertisers.

It's also gaining ground on TV's top competition shows, Fox's "American Idol" and ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Those programs have seen their total viewership drop by double-digit percentages compared with last season, while "The Voice" is up by double digits.

Andy Rooney's desk headed to Newseum

Andy Rooney's typewriter, bookshelves and the handmade walnut desk where he delivered commentaries for "60 Minutes" on CBS are being donated to the Newseum in the District, according to the Associated Press.

The museum about journalism and the First Amendment announced Thursday that Rooney's family had donated the items from his seventh-floor Manhattan office. He had moved into the space in 1985 and delivered his closing thoughts there for Sunday night television for decades.

Rooney died last year at the age of 92. He had spent 60 years at CBS, including more than 30 years talking about the oddities of life for the popular TV newsmagazine.

Curators at the Newseum don't have immediate plans to display the office pieces, but the museum said it's honored to accept them as pieces of broadcast news history.

Mary Mary gospel duo unveil WEtv reality show

If you thought a Mary Mary reality show would focus on gospel songs and Bible study, think again.

There's plenty of raised voices, hurt feelings and snide comments on the gospel duo's self-titled WEtv series, which debuted last week. While the craziness doesn't rise to the level of an episode of "Basketball Wives," Erica and Tina Campbell told the Associated Press it's enough to show people that despite their Christian faith, they're far from perfect people.

"There is a great level of dysfunction," said Erica, who is an executive producer of "Mary Mary" with Tina. "We're real sisters. We're black sisters with egos and strong personalities. But what we do know is that our mission and message is much bigger than that."

The hourlong, 10-episode series delves into the personal lives of the Grammy-winners as they seek to balance their own households as mothers and wives while promoting their music. Their upcoming album, "Go Get It," is expected to be released in May.

"I think people have a misconception of what a Christian is," Tina said. "I don't know, some think we buy Christian soap or go to like Christian restaurants. Everybody thinks we're so spiritual, but that's not the case. We're gospel artists, but we make mistakes. We're normal people who praise God and everybody will get to see that on the show."

Erica was a mother of two and pregnant at the time the show was filmed; her husband Warryn is Mary Mary's producer, and they recently had a daughter. Tina has four children with her husband Teddy, a drummer for the Ricky Minor Band, which plays nightly on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

The show also includes Mary Mary's parents (who have been married to each and divorced from each other three times); a sister Alana, who is engaged; another sister Goo Goo, who is the duo's stylist and feels like she's underpaid; and their manager, Mitchell Solarek.

On one episode, friction arises when Erica brings her family to Atlanta for their Thanksgiving concert, leaving Tina feeling lonely and left out. Later in the season, the sisters argue about how to move forward as a group, leading them to seek counseling to resolve their issues.

Initially, Erica wasn't ready for the cameras to follow her on daily basis. She worried about how she would be judged when the camera caught her talking about her sister, but she eventually understood that it would be beneficial to viewers to see the good and bad of their lives.

"With the show, we live out our faith as opposed to telling you," Erica said. "In church, you hear someone preaching and telling you how to live. On the show, you'll see how it looks to live it out. The Scripture says to forgive, but what happens when you are really mad? Those are things we will work through."

The duo hopes viewers won't put them on a pedestal and expect them to live a perfect life.

"Don't put me up higher than what I'm supposed to be because I'm going to let you down," Tina said. "I'm not perfect. I don't have all the answers. ... It's not always a storybook life. It's OK to fall and get back up. It's OK to get back up and repent. It's OK to work hard and get it right."