Tag Archives: Campaign

Save this Premise?: The Premature Campaign to Save Lone Star

Save this Premise?: The Premature Campaign to Save Lone Star

September 25th, 2010

When I realized that there was an online campaign to save Lone Star, I had two thoughts.

First of all, I was bolstered: rallying around Kyle Killen’s inspired support of the series, journalists and fans began to voice their support with Twitter hashtags and Facebook campaigns, and as someone who saw promise in the series I was pleased to see the show getting attention.

However, I was also struck by the fact that people are not really campaigning to save Lone Star. The majority are campaigning to save the idea of Lone Star, the notion that complex drama series not about policemen or lawyers have a place within the context of network television.

While I think this is a battle worth fighting, and I certainly am in support of the series continuing (despite my concerns over its longevity), I have some serious concerns about how this campaign relates to the text itself. When we have seen only a single episode, and when there were legitimate concerns of where the series goes from here, is this metric level of internet-related hype surrounding the series not simply creating expectations that the episode will need to live up to? Does this level of support not seem premature for a show that hasn’t even become a show yet?

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A Grey Area: How Will We Gauge the Success of Betty White, SNL Host?

A Grey Area: Betty White, SNL Host?

May 7th, 2010

How will we gauge the success of Betty White as Saturday Night Live host?

It’s a question I’ve been grappling with for a few days: I’m going to be recapping the episode for HitFix (which I’ve been doing for a few months now, although I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it outside of Twitter), and since those recaps tend to run-down sketches rather than pontificating on the episode as a whole I have been struggling with how to boil my complicated thoughts down to just a paragraph or two.

I’m not going to argue that White isn’t an inspired choice to host the show, or that the fan campaign to get her the gig wasn’t a fine use of social media, but is the simple fact that the octogenarian is hosting the show enough to make this “successful”? NBC would certainly hope so: the show has gotten huge amounts of publicity, and “listening” to fans has given the network and SNL a certain credibility in circles where their key demographics hang out. However, if the show doesn’t live up to expectations for whatever reason (White being underutilized, White being given lame material, etc.), does this negate SNL’s willingness to listen to the fans? Are the 500,000 people in that Facebook group withholding their opinion of this event? And are they even going to watch it live?

I obviously don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but I want to talk a bit about how precisely the internet is going to respond to a much-talked about episode of a series which people are otherwise not talking about.

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Save Chuck: A Movement with a Message

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Save Chuck: A Movement with a Message

April 25th, 2009

As some of you may know, I found myself caught up in the whirlwind that was the Save Jericho campaign, where fans went nuts and sent nuts, bringing their canceled show back from the dead. Since that show’s success, there have been numerous campaigns to save other shows, and to be honest I haven’t really got behind any of them. I got behind Jericho because it was a true grassroots movement, an example of the power of the internet, of fans, and of expanding the definition of success from traditional ratings measurements; to be honest, the show never really captured me, but the fact that it captured others so strongly was something worth fighting for.

But I can honestly say that this is the first time that I am entering, albeit late thanks to my vacation, a fan campaign primarily because I love the show involved. Chuck was an engaging series last year, but this year it has elevated itself to an entirely new level: this is not the most intelligent show on television, or the funniest, or the most dramatic, but its ability to combine all of these elements into a single package has created a series that myself and hopefully many, many others view as worthy of our time and energy. Saving Chuck is not just some sort of experiment, but something that is necessary for my faith in NBC as a network, and network television as a medium for high-calibre entertainment, to remain intact.

What I want to discuss is how the campaign is operating, and how there are three keys to its success that have given it a real chance of succeeding: I write this, two days before the show’s season finale, without the intention of placing a (Series?) in that post title, or even considering that possibility, and I honestly feel as if this goes beyond wishful thinking. Based on every piece of evidence before us, the campaign to Save Chuck has all of the momentum to overcome the obstacles facing it and send a message to NBC and all other networks that we’re not ready to let a great show go so easily.

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Screw the Stigmas: Why The Middleman is Worth Saving

Why The Middleman is Worth Saving

In the world of television, it’s not a question of judging a book by its cover; rather, it’s about judging a show by its network.

For How I Met Your Mother, the “CBS is for lame people” stigma amongst some younger viewers keeps them from giving the show a decent shot, and in the process a show that should have been a big success from the beginning took three seasons and stuntcasting to guarantee itself a fourth. The show should have been 30 Rock before there was 30 Rock, and yet still quite a few people who would love this show are staying away.

And this summer, another example has popped up which is even more apparent. When The Middleman debuted back in June, I called it “a science fiction comedy with plenty to enjoy.” Since that point, I’ve grown to love the show, even those elements that I wasn’t so keen on in the pilot. The show has gone to great strides to build great characters and craft strong stories which serve their purpose, all with an added dose of pop culture humour to add to the show’s general charm.

But, a lot of people haven’t seen that. When someone posted about the show’s debut on a popular message board, these are amongst the first responses:

“You piqued my interest until I heard ABC Family.”

“No wonder I couldn’t find the show anywhere last night. ABC Family huh? Probably pass.”

And therein lies The Middleman’s problem: it’s not that ABC Family is a bad network, as Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Formerly an executive producer on Lost) has nothing but good things to say about the show’s treatment on the network side of the equation. Rather, they are a network with absolutely zero cache with the genre audience that the show is appealing towards. In fact, I’d say that they have negative interest: these people are not just unlikely to watch a show on ABC Family, but they are likely to actively avoid such a show thanks to its network affiliation. This means that any attempt to increase the show’s audience, which is miniscule if stable thanks to such issues, is going to take a whole lot of convincing to an audience that has never given the network a fair chance.

But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying, and it certainly doesn’t mean that anyone reading this who has yet to sample The Middleman shouldn’t immediately do so by searching through their on-screen guide, unblocking ABC Family, and opening your mind to a new kind of summer show – or, even better, buy it on iTunes, so you can bypass the stigma altogether.

Because this is a show that needs, and deserves, the viewers.

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