Groupon Is Going to Be a TV Star


The leading daily deals website is ready for its prime-time close-up.

CBS (CBS) is picking up Friend Me, a sitcom about two friends who move to Los Angeles to work for Groupon (GRPN).

CBS has yet to reveal where it's slotting the shows that it's been picking up for the upcoming fall season, though this seems like a no-brainer to pair up with The Big Bang Theory. It could be an hour of nerds and geeks if CBS positions the series correctly.

Friend Me stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the actor who relishes playing awkward characters including the unforgettable McLovin in Superbad.

You Can't Buy This Kind of Publicity

Having the two lead characters work at the Los Angeles office of the Chicago-based Groupon is obviously validation for the flash-sale site. Even if the show mines the company's hokey ad copy or some of its more outlandish discounted offers for comedy, Groupon wins.

CBS could've just made up a company. It would have been an easy route, giving the broadcaster the ability to lampoon away without any legal repercussions. CBS also could've gone for a smaller rival. You just know that LivingSocial would've loved to take Groupon's place here.

However, Groupon is the brand that everyone associates with these half-priced pre-paid vouchers for restaurants, spas, service providers, and touristy experiences.

"I have a Groupon," is what patrons often say at an establishment, even if the voucher that they may be holding is from a rival daily deals provider.

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Name Blame

But why is a series based on Groupon named after a Facebook friend request? Vanity Fair has already taken CBS to task over it. "This makes no sense and begs an immediate title change," the magazine's website argues.

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However, it does stand to reason that the two main characters are creatures of social media. One is an introvert who prefers to spend his idle time back home playing online poker. Zynga (ZNGA) -- a powerhouse on Facebook -- does have an online poker game, though it's not played for real money.

Facebook faux pas or not, Groupon's going to be the real winner in Friend Me, even if the seemingly iffy premise doesn't necessarily bode well for those banking on a long tenure at CBS.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.