It’s that magical time of the year! The time when networks show off all their new shows and beg you to love them. There are different tricks they use hoping that they’ve bet on the right horse.
Making it from pilot to renewed show is a long and difficult road. Audiences are hard to predict and more and more difficult to please. Here are what I like to call the “3 P’s” networks use to try to turn a new show into a hit.
- Placement: Where a show is put in the primetime lineup can be it’s greatest asset or biggest threat. Placing a new show following a current network hit can give you a built in audience to pull from. This is why a show would hope for placement behind big hits like The Voice, Big Bang Theory or NCIS. These are the same type of shows you wouldn’t hope to be put against. Trying to pull a large female audience on a Thursday against the Shonda Rhimes power house (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder) is going to be tough.
- Promotion: Networks spend a lot of time and money to build interest in their shows. You can usually tell that some shows are getting a bigger push than others. FOX started advertising Scream Queens 7 months in advance. Outside of advertising they make sure to put the stars of the shows on talk shows and get as much PR as possible.
- People: Speaking of those people they put on talk shows… Shonda Rhimes has a new show coming out midseason. I am going to watch it because I love the other shows she’s made. Outside of putting familiar actors on shows there are also producers, directors and writers used to try to sell you on a new show. You will here a lot of “from the team that brought you….” and similar phrases to try to get you to trust a new show.
As I write this there have yet to be any shows cancelled but Minority Report on FOX is pretty close. If you’ve yet to commit to a new show here is a quick guide to some of the new programs the networks want you to welcome into your home (preferably live viewing).
If you liked Revenge: "Blood and Oil" (ABC)
If you like graphic medical shows: "Code Black (CBS)" – Seriously, so much blood.
If you like Modern Family: "Life in Pieces" (CBS)
If you have really low expectations: JUST KIDDING! I mean I could make you a list, but it feels mean and as a media buyer I’m afraid it would affect my rates. I could go on all day with this but I’ll stop there.
Best of luck to all the new shows!
(and don't get us started on sweeps week...)