iChannel’s #FAQMP allows voters to put MPs in the hot seat

iChannel's new interview program incorporates social media into its production, allowing viewers to choose potential guests.

Some members of parliament just don’t want to be voted on.

Ironically, that was one of the obstacles to putting together #FAQMP, a new iChannel show where the audience gets to decide which MP will be interviewed each week by the show’s co-producer and host, Karyn Pugliese (pictured).

The web and TV series premiering Monday night embraces social media into the production process by casting MPs who are picked from a five-person block by voters each week online. Viewers also send in questions that Pugliese poses to the federal politicians.

“There is a small group of MPs out there who said, ‘We don’t want to be voted on,’” Pugliese tells Playback, about the difficulties of the pre-production process  in such a format, where MPs are asked to keep their schedule open even though they may not be interviewed. “I find that very interesting; ‘But you’re an MP…this is kind of what you do for a living,’” she laughs.

Other politicians, however, have embraced the format by getting in on the social media promotion themselves, for instance by tweeting to their follower to go and vote for them on the show’s website.

The program is financed solely by the political affairs channel, which is owned by Stornoway Communication. The company’s president and CEO Martha Fusca “wanted to see something that would really harness social media and would be interactive, because she feels that that’s a place where she would like to see iChannel going,” Pugliese says.

Four episodes have been taped so far, the first of which will feature Dean Del Mastro, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and MP for Peterborough, Ontario. Upcoming interviewees, for which viewers were asked to send in questions on the show’s site last week, include the Liberals’ rising star Justin Trudeau and Tory immigration minister Jason Kenney. Some have won their interview with as many as 1,000 online votes, says Pugliese.

Viewers can watch the show as it’s streamed online and they can take part in a live chat with the series production team. Videos and photos can be uploaded on the #FAQMP Web site, and politicos can also interact with the series on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Photo: KarynPugliese.com