Surprise! There's going to be a Sharknado 4. Yes, the sharks will get sucked up into waterspouts yet again. But this fourth movie will have a different twist: Viewers get to decide the fate of Tara Reid's character.
The third TV flick, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (seriously, that was the title), ended with space shuttle wreckage coming straight for Reid's character, April, but cut to black before the impact. The movie then informed fans, "You decide if #AprilLives or #AprilDies." Fans can vote with those hashtags on Twitter or on sharknado.syfy.com with the character's fate finally being revealed in Sharknado 4, likely airing next summer.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Regina, senior vice president of program strategy at Syfy, said the original ending was going to be a happy family moment. But they wanted to turn it on its head. "We needed to do something that was going to keep the audience in jeopardy and want to come back for another Sharknado," Regina said. "That led to the idea that I came up with in having the audience vote. Sharknado, more than anything on television, is a social interaction with the viewers, so we wanted to make it interactive. I'm hoping that we're going to break the Internet this time with the 'April lives, April dies' at the end. I think it's going to be precedent-setting. I can't think of an instance where another network has done something of that nature at the end of an event. Hopefully it's a TV first."
This kind of stunt isn't necessarily new. Hawaii Five-0 has let fans decide endings on CBS. The Batman comic books let readers decide if Jason Tood, the second Robin, lived or died at the hands of the Joker. Psych has done it on USA and viewers have a hand in a bevy of reality shows including The Voice and Dancing With the Stars.
For her part, Reid has been campaigning for April to live.
"For all the amazing fans of #Sharknado3 if you want April to live #aprilives thank you all for being a part of this unforgettable moment," she tweeted. Another tweet read "This is it show me your love and support I need you! You are the fans that made this movie keep it going! #AprilLives."
Make your voices heard. Save April. Or kill her. It's up to you.
(E! and Syfy are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)