Daily deal giant Groupon is known for its peculiar sense of humor.There was the time the site "bought" April Fool's Day . The introduction of marketing gimmicks like the creepy virtual discount wheel called "Clicky" can only be attributed to some offbeat sense of what'samusing. And of course, from the beginning, subscribers have beenreading Groupon's trademark absurdist, careful-not-to-offend descriptions for deals arriving in their in-boxes. The fact that there'sa network sitcom in the works featuring Groupon is apparently nojoke, however. Groupon has been enjoying quite a rollercoaster ride lately."Enjoying" probably isn't the right word. |
Afterreporting a loss of $42.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2011,the company's stock price tanked , rapidly dropping 15% in early February, when a share was sellingfor about $20. Since then, amid concerns that Groupon was being poorly run andthat, in the words of CEO Andrew Mason during a meeting in which he apologized for drinking too much beer , the company needed to grow up, Groupon's stock hasplummeted further. It recently dipped below $10, before surging to over $14 a share earlier this week after announcing better-than-expected salesfigures. ( MORE: Groupon's Reward Program, Appropriately Named ‘GrouponRewards,' Rolls Out Nationally ) Groupon can expect even more drama in the months ahead, whenit'll be featured prominently in a new comedy just picked upby CBS.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the network, which once brought viewers theshort-lived William Shatner sitcom inspired by a Twitter feedcalled "$#*! My Dad Says," has given the green light toa new show called "Friend Me." Despite the name, it hasnothing to do with Facebook which, one might surmise, wanted no part of the enterprise butinstead is about two best friends who work for Groupon. In addition to the hamfisted Groupon-Facebook confusion, the showis set in Los Angeles , roughly 2,000 miles away from Groupon's headquarters inChicago. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (the geeky guy who played thememorable "McLovin" in "Superbad") willstar. Earlier, it was reported that Groupon had nothing whatsoever to do with the pilot for"Friend Me," and it's unclear how, if at all, thecompany will be involved going forward.
( MORE: Are Sitcoms Thriving Because the Economy Is So Troubled? ) Based on what we know about "Friend Me," as well asHollywood's recent history taking liberties with real-worldtech company stories (see: "The Social Network"),it's a good bet that the company featured in the new sitcomwill be based on Groupon in extremely loose fashion. In fact, itmight have next to nothing in common with the company. But theprominent use of "Groupon" in the show should generatesome buzz, which CBS and Groupon alike should enjoy. No word yet onwhen "Friend Me" will air. Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME.
Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle . You can also continue the discussion on TIME s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME .
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