Forget Christmas, if you ask me fall premiere season is the most wonderful time of the year. As the leaves begin to change I get excited to see what all the major networks have gifted me with this year. The last few years I’ve come away with some great gifts in the form of shows like New Girl, Once Upon a Time and Mindy Project.
This year is full of excitement with big stars coming to TV including Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams, Allison Janney and Toni Collette. However, for a media buyer, fall premieres can feel more like the Kentucky Derby. It can be quite the gamble placing money into programs you truly don’t know enough about.
The modern TV viewer is as predictable as Oklahoma weather. Shows that seem destined to succeed and are loved by critics can be quickly cancelled and shows that seem like something scraped from the bottom of a shoe can be a big hit (I’m looking at you Honey Boo-boo). So, as this season approaches, I encourage you to take the gamble every media buyer does and decide which shows you think are going to bring in the biggest audiences and see how you do. Here are some helpful hints as you take this plunge…
- Previews: Many stations can give you access to pilots or lengthy previews. Watching these with others can help you gauge an audience reaction. Do you think the show will attract a large audience or a small demographic?
- Placement: Is the lead-in show strong? Are they placed against other strong shows on other networks?
- Blogs/Critics: What kind of response is it getting?
- Budget: The more expensive the show is to produce, the more success needed to keep it going (see Terra Nova). A basic sitcom takes less money to produce and needs less success (and advertising dollars) to maintain.
I hope you all enjoy this fall premiere season as much as I do. Here's hoping all the shows you loved get renewed!