‘Eureka’ Producer Reveals The Impact Of Angry Twitter Fans

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 9:48 am,

For Bruce Miller, the executive producer of Syfy’s hit series Eureka, fans easy access to him hasn’t always been the string of continuous complements and fanatical praise that many would think. With social media providing direct access for fans to get in touch with the creative forces behind the series they love, it can quickly become a double-edge sword.

When something controversial occurs on their favorite television series, fans are now able to direct their ire towards those directly involved with production. While many may think that the flurry of messages combined with the faceless senders, hiding behind Internet avatars, may quell any type of negative impact to the recipients, that’s not the case – not by any means.

Speaking with Miller following the Eureka panel at Comic-Con, the famed producer expressed the joy of finally working on a television series that has “the most loyal, but also the nicest, fans.” Continuing, Miller explains: “I’ve been on lots of shows; I was on ‘ER’ for a while, I was on ‘Medium’, I was on ‘Everwood’ – and you work on shows that have tons of fans, but everything you do, they hate. They get so mad at you for everything.”

Explaining how Eureka is different, Miller says, “Here, they love you, and they love what we’re doing.”

When we asked Miller to further explain how negative comments from fans on Twitter and other social media avenues impact him and everyone else working on a show, Miller conveys a wonderfully honest sentiment that many angry, fanatical Twitterers (you know who you are) should keep in mind:

We have such affection for the show when we’re writing it. To have people come and beat up on it, or to beat up on the characters as people – or the actors as people – you feel very protective over a show.

The actors who are on our show – and the writers – we are incredibly close. Those actors are incredibly close – we’ve worked together for a long time. They’re a great group of people and a great group of actors – and when people are piling up on them, it’s like they’re piling up on your family.

fargo eureka Eureka Producer Reveals The Impact Of Angry Twitter FansDon’t even think about messing with Fargo.

And, also, you often want to say, ‘If we would have done the other thing, you would have been mad, as well – you wanted them together; you didn’t want them together.’

I love television; I’m a huge fan of television – and, so, I just write stuff that I think is cool, and what I’d want to see. Beyond that, it’s hard to… Only when you’re here [at Comic-Con] can they actually hit you with a stick. Beyond that, they just write mean emails. But they [Eureka fans] don’t, and that’s the great thing about them.

You can view Bruce Miller’s feelings in their entirety below (I encourage you to do so, as Miller’s inflections further convey what he’s saying):

Even though Bruce Miller’s statement pertains to his past and present experience with certain series, this notion can certainly be applied throughout the television world. Bones creator Hart Hanson and House executive producer Greg Yaitanes are just a few of the many faces behind popular television series that are continuously confronted with what Miller so happily escaped from.

While there’s something to be said about being able present the people behind your favorite television show with both praise and criticism, one should keep in mind the manners that everyone employs (hopefully) when going to a restaurant: if you’re not enjoying your food, you politely tell the waiter. It’s uncouth to barge into the kitchen and yell at the chef – especially if it’s your favorite restaurant.

Even if the proverbial kitchen door is open in this television metaphor, perhaps one should take pause and decide how to best present their feelings before entering.

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Eureka airs Mondays @8pm on Syfy

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

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TAGS: Comic-Con 2014, eureka

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  1. I don’t know if I am biased or not, but there is an intangible quality to Eureka that almost precludes the very thought of being angry or hostile with its creators!

    I’ve watched the show as regularly as possible (where I live, the scheduling seems to have been erratic), and this is quite honestly one of those very few television series where I’ve never found a single character to hate, nor an episode outline to complain about. This series is simply purely… charming. Is there any other way to describe it?

    It’s the cute cuddly puppy of the sci-fi TV universe! What is there to hate?

    • I know exactly what you mean about it having an intangible quality to it. I’ve tried to describe it to people who have not seen to show before but it’s hard to do.

  2. Perhaps if the writers of a show didn’t write garbage, the fans wouldn’t be so upset. ADVID [H]OUSE fan. Adore Hugh Laurie.

    • Well, that is YOUR opinion. The show wasn’t garbage until the first part of season 7 came along. Now the Huddy doom is over, and I cannot wait for House to get back to the usual awesomeness. I have no doubt that it will be amazing. That is MY opinion. TPTB cares for neither and it’s good that way.

  3. LOL I’m sitting here trying to think about something about Eureka I don’t like. I mean, when… what’s his name died (sorry, my memory!) I CRIED. But I wasn’t mad… I just love Eureka

    • You mean Stark?

      • Yes, Stark. I thought he was a great foil for Carter, though didn’t like the romance competition lol.

  4. Eureka is a gift from Mr. Miller. I’m glad he knows we appreciate it. I’m with commenter Mike E, “This series is simply purely… charming.”

    When I read that Mr. Hanson had joined twitter, it was with trepidation that I followed him knowing the twaters (twits/haters) would try to ruin it for him. Like most, it was slow going at first, but he relaxed and became proficient in no time and was soon bantering and entertaining us with his pithy tweets and humorous pics. Then, it was like watching a train wreck, you see it coming but are powerless to stop it. I just wanted to hug him and say, “It’s okay, they are just pissed that they don’t have your life.” This fall will be season seven for Bones. Mr. Hanson must be doing something right.

  5. Wait, so, even though your show, writing and/or characters are awful, people should lie to you just because you put a lot of affection in it?

    • I really think you seriously misunderstood what he said if that is all you walked away from this interview with.

      He is expressing the discomfort that ANY creative artist has when confronted with overly hostile criticism.

      He is also lauding the fans of the particular show he works on, for their restraint and politeness in expressing THEIR feelings about the show.

      That doesn’t sound like an invitation to “lie”.

      Have you ever created something, and had to put it “out there” in front of strangers, to have to listen to their criticism of your work? Most of the people who rudely and violently criticize the writers of shows have no idea what it’s like. Criticism is always welcome. But it doesn’t have to be rude or aggressive to be productive and informative.

  6. IMO, social media is a great tool for instant feedback from fans of a series.

    I’m not sure if these producers just want us to talk positive to them/staff and keep our mouth shut about the negative. I have given high praise to a series but feel like I am just scum beneath their feet if I ask a controvertial statement or critique.

    The problem is a double edge sword. If we say something bad about the creativity of an episode, aren’t we saying something bad about that person?

    The problem isn’t social media but the way the reading takes what it says. The poster may be trying to be inquistive but how can you even express your emotions when writing them down? How can the poster know what you feel without looking at your face? Does the reader think you are sitting there with scorn on your face while, in reality, you had concern written all over you.

    To much is taken the wrong way when reading the internet. I have always warned people that sarcasm does not play well.

    I think these producers should hire someone who will take all this twitters and look at them like they are from concerned people and not people out for blood. I think 90% of the people who post are those who love and care about there series. Why else would they take the time to find out what is going on?

  7. If more people responded with this level of vulnerbility it would help, and I am speaking about both sides, the creative team amd fans.

    Fans should certainly phrase their responses with less attack and more feedback. That is something the new society of instand communication has been facing since e-mail and I’m – the decline in respect, professionalism and sensitivity. Fans should learn to express their concern and distaste for story direction without personal attacks and outright hate.

    On the other hand, the toying and contempt some of the creative teams have shown only further breed hostility. You will always find some fans responding inappropriately, but the amount increases exponentially when the chosen route for teasing fans is to question their mental capabilities, call them misguided, belittle them, and respond in rudeness and hostility.

    I’ve only been in this social media aspect of fandom a year, and I have regretted it. I have not been a fan who was hostile or rude, and even when I have hated the direction my favorite show took, I have tried to respond to what I did like versus what I hated. I may not like the direction of the character, but I may recognize the beautiful direction of a scene. Unfortunately, the viscious games the creative team plays in social media is against me as much as the fan who is speaking in rudeness. It’s the classic case of the innocent being punished with the guilty.

    Social media is difficult because you know you are going to receive hate mail and rude behavior from people who haven’t retained the art of basic respect. But, I have seen this past year the disrespectful and mind-game approach from some shows turn the respectful fan angry and wondered why they didn’t just respond with respect rather than breed the same contempt they say they hate.

    Even after this article, one show rep sent you an appreciative tweet – that everyone could see. We know now he feels hurt by the fans and feels love for his team and pride for his story. He understands the vulnerability in the sentiments within this story. Then you have another show representative saying “we had an interesting conversation about fan tweets today.” This comment in the midst of a highly outraged fanbase only suggests – even though he might not mean it – that fans are being bashed again. Why? That statement doesn’t say anything bad or negative. Yet because it came from the person who’s often belittled and reduced fans to the brainless and unimportant, the negative connotation is received. This also comes from the one who finds it amusing to mock fan interests, which doesn’t reflect the “love and family” that he very likely does feel for the actors.

    It would be so much better just to continue to acknowledge that you hear the fans, you care for the characters and the show, that the people behind the scenes matter, and that you are working on an exciting season. Stay away from responding to the hostility – as hard as it may be. They need to remain professional and take the higher road.

    I came to social media to be “on top” of schedules and changes, to be a part of a group that held common interests (specifically House), and to have fun. What I’ve learned is that I enjoyed the show much better when I didn’t know the people behind the scenes held contempt for fans. I have unfollowed the people from House who breed fan contempt, and only follow those who have shown respect even in the wake of a very controversial season. However, the damage continues through RT that I cannot get away from. It turns my stomach.

    I apprciate this article because it does remind us of the heart and the soul these people put into their show and how negative feedback will be difficult enough without the disrepect and rudeness of some fans being added. I also appreciate that this guy has not generalized all fans, so he chooses his words to show his heart rather than attack the innocent to get back at the rude.

    Thank you Anthony.

  8. I don’t disagree with what is being said here, with the exception of the inclusion of Greg Yaitanes in this mix.

    There are certainly fans who lack any form of etiquette and civility, and this genre of communication allows them the chance to go unfiltered. But there are a lot of fans out there who are very interested in the show and communicate that love and support even when they express concern. Greg Yaitanes has never seperated the two, nor has he shown any professionalism throughout his reign of terror on Twitter.

    He offered to communicate with fans, and as someone who’s been in the entertainment industry AND social media for a long time, he knew that opened himself up to the whack jobs as well as the respectful. He chose to mock ALL fans, mock their interests, their questions & concerns, he even threatened some – YES THREATENED – and has continually shown contempt for the House fanbase. He has not shown a respect for the story or the art, like Blake and Lingenfelter, but has chosen to go lower than even the debase fans in his interactions. GloryB is right, his attitude is breeding contempt because the sincere, respectful fans have been wounded in his quest to mock the “idiots” out there. He could learn a lot from his team mates on how to consistently show passion and love for the art without buying into the eye-for-an-eye approach. Maybe he does feel his team mates are family, but he might consider those feelings of affection before he sends out the tweets that feed contempt for the person he “loves.”

    I can appreciate the sentiments behind Miller’s thoughts here. He’s done nothing to deserve rude behavior. You can express discontent with a storyline/character without being hateful. And you can also stay the course and stand by your storyline, show excitement for the show without resorting to the rudeness you say you condemn.

    Remove Greg Yaitanes’ name from this article, and you have an acurate and thought-provoking piece.

  9. Well, said Lucy. Greg Yaitanes is part of the problem. Some of the hate would die down if he didn’t feed it so much. He’s also damaged the show with his mocking. People who come to social media as more than a means to misbehave have actually been shocked by the level of unprofessionalism he has shown. His tweets even hurt the storyline because people begin to feel the story isn’t progressing in an authentic way, but as a means to mock the fans. He is not a good representative for the House team. They would have been wise to reign him in a long time ago.

    Miller and Hanson, who you mention, are much more professional. Their continued focus on the show and the plot rather than on the angry fans has increased their credibility and respect. Kudos to them.

    Anthony, you have been an interesting read all along, but you have been clueless on the background history in several instances. This is one of them. There are people on House who have shown how to tweet and keep the focus on the show and the positive interaction with a fanbase, but Greg Yaitanes is not one of them.

    Ironically, he was the one who got a lot of his team on twitter, but they understand this media outlet more than him.

  10. They send out tweets asking us to tell them what we think, and when it’s overwhelmingly negative people like Greg Yaitanes being to send angry tweets and mock everything that is said. Sorry people didn’t like it. Sorry people are rude in the way they tell you. Does that mean you have to behave just as bad?

    You wonder where all the hate comes from? People who invest in a show for a long time are already feeling betrayed and emotionally raw when they story takes a turn that is out of character and inconsistent with the past. You can expect raw reactions. At least most people would. But to start name-calling, mocking, telling people their misguided, telling them not to pay attention to details (when film making is about the details), and expressing hatred in your responses is not the way to handle PR for a show.

    Do they only want positive responses? I don’t think so. Feedback is important. It is all in the way you phrase that feedback. Fans fail at that sometimes. But guess what, so do producers. Greg Yaitanes is the poster boy for inappropriateness.

  11. I’m not a consistent viewer of Eureka, but, a few years ago at SDCC I saw their panel (I think between seasons one and two). The entire ensemble was polite, modest, humorous and enjoyable. Sure, they’re actors, but I believed they were each genuine in what they brought to the table and to their fans that day. There was a level of class (especially Joe Morton) and respect in them that was very rare, from what I witnessed. That makes me believe Mr. Miller’s statements about the close-knit cast and crew.

    As to what’s been written about House, Bones and the gentlemen who rep them on Twitter, I can’t speak to that. Both shows lost their appeal to me some years ago and I (quietly) stopped watching. Unfortunately, it’s easier to tear down than it is to create and the internet offers a platform for some people to do just that.

    Back on point, though, I’m glad to hear of a series acknowledging the goodness of its fans. That says something for both the creators and the audience of a charming, harmless show.

  12. I find it odd that he says Eureka fans are so positive. After last year I saw a lot of hate for the show after last season me included. They ruined most of the things I loved with the time travel crap. Honestly I loved Eureka in season 1 and 2 but then season 3 killed it for me. They ruined nearly everything and I can barely stomach watching this season after that.

    Also so a crap ton of hate after that Christmas episode (Which while I didn’t enjoy wasn’t that bad) got tons and tons of hate.

  13. Instead of venting at the shows creative team how about taking stabs at those who truly deserve it, the dumb-dumbs on the board that make decision like canceling a very popular show when its at its height and replacing it with 1 hours of reality TV Crap. I’m sure we all could think of half a dozen or more shows that those SyFy board members have done this to.

    In fact its about time to do the Texas 2 step on Eureka and just cancel it now that its hitting is stride and remaining popular. based on past experiences I could easily see them replacing Eureka with “Eureka-mea” the one hour reality TV show where we get every day people who want to be on Tv for free to try and create some new crazy gadget.

    I love EUREKA and SciFi, I hate SyFy the ultimate gimmick; changing a network name so it can be copyrighted. Geesh

    • I have to admit that after season two, the show was definately in danger of becoming formulaic, as mr. common sense sheriff, comes in to save th day from those pesky unrealistic, myopic scientists… sheesh. I like that the show is attempting to handle different issues and even swim a bit in different geeky waters or a change of pace. I do enjoy some of the new offerings post the namechange, Haven and Warehouse 13 are light fare that are superior to their usual counterparts. I still get the feeling that the network doesn’t really like or feel comfortable supporting programming for this genre tho, its as if they would just as soon be the USA network as not and turn their back on a lot of source material for future development. Because sooner or later, these cheapo ghost story and monster movie crapola that they routinely serve up has to end.

  14. I’ve only just seen EUREKA and I have to say, why would they cancel it, it was getting interesting, not fare good show’s just get started and their gone, why’ll for some reason the crap shows never die. you want to axe something, all the reality shows, now that is crap on TV.

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