Is Hollywood's Lust for the Web Spiraling Out of Control?

CBS just signed its second TV deal based on a Twitter account, and inked Ashton Kutcher to produce. Hollywood now officially has a monster crush on movies and TV serials about websites.

The script that CBS is developing, "Shh... Don't Tell Steve," is based on an eponymous Twitter account cataloging the supposed utterings of the author's roommate. "Call it 'Shit my roomate says,'" The Hollywood Reporter suggested when breaking news of the deal, referring to CBS' other Twitter crossover, $h*l My Dad Says, which premiered last week.

With just 13,000 followers, @ShhDonTellSteve is not nearly the powerhouse that @ShitMyDadSays was when its CBS deal was announced; at the time, @ShitMyDadSays had 700,000 followers. In the case of "Steve," the feed's top-rated message has been favorited by just 18 Twitter users, according to Favstar.fm, which tracks tweet popularity.

In all fairness, "Shh... Don't Tell Steve" isn't on the air yet; CBS just bought the script, but has not committed to airing a series.And it did earn a mention on NCIS recently, which is more than one can say about most Twitter accounts. But the ability of such a low-follower feed to secure a deal of any sort does underline Hollywood's recent mania for website-driven entertainment. The internet lust was already strong enough last year that agents from United Talent Agency shopped a lone Facebook status update as a possible movie.

With Facebook pic The Social Network and online identity caper Catfish sucking up most media oxygen the past couple of weeks, it's hard to miss the web-to-screen crossover explosion. "Cinema's Hottest New Trend: Movies About Websites!" was Michael Musto's take at the Village Voice even before the new Twitter-to-TV deal. And, via a comment below, let's not forget the possible movie about iPhone game Angry Birds.

It wasn't long ago when AOL romance You've Got Mail was the weird outlier, and most movies about computer networks had to do with global annihilation, espionage, the criminal underworld or a dystopian future. Now the computer movies are much more mundane—college students socializing in dorms, feuding business partners, romances gone bad, grumpy parents, oddball roommates—just as the films are reaching new levels of popularity.

It would appear Hollywood, in all its popularity-seeking glory, is engaged in some sort of bizarre arms race to produce the most mundane — and ergo most popular, right?! — web-driven franchise yet. It should be entertaining to watch the process, if not the product.

(Update: Added Angry Birds reference)