Observations October 21, 2011 8:52 am

A random selection of thoughts currently swirling in my head about fall TV…

No New New Girl? New Girl is by far my favorite new show of the broadcast season.  After just 3 episodes, I was hooked.  I rejoiced when FOX announced its (early) full season pickup.  And then I almost cried when FOX announced there would be no new New Girl episodes until November 1 because of this little thing called the World Series.  That’s almost a month between new episodes! (The last new episode aired on Oct.4)

Ok, I get it.  The airings of baseball games would bleed into the precious New Girl time slot (since baseball games last for for-ev-er).

And I get why FOX probably didn’t want to wait until November 1 to debut New Girl— viewers spend the first few weeks of the broadcast season sampling new shows, and waiting until after all of the other shows had premiered/aired a few times might have put New Girl in jeopardy since people have generally settled into their new viewing schedules by November- meaning, they may have not sampled and subsequently fallen in love with New Girl had the premiere been so late in the season.

But what I don’t get is the radio silence.  FOX did such an amazing job promoting New Girl, and now… almost nothing.  Just look at some of the things they did to promote the new show:

Early premiere– the show 2 weeks early for (free) for viewers across, Hulu, iTunes, on planes, and in hotels (and was the first broadcast network to do this) (source)

Social, social, social– FOX used Klout perks and gave influential FOX fans a preview tape and swag.  New Girl was part of the GetGlue promotion with Entertainment Weekly and Gap- ‘check in’ to New Girl with GetGlue, get 40% off any item at Gap.

Leveraging the ‘adorkable’ Zoey Deschanel– Zoey Deschanel was the center of FOX’s promotion for the show; she was all over the place in special promos on syndicated comedies on FOX stations.  The show was also heavily promoted on her blog, (smart- leverage an existing fan base for Zoey that may not be existing FOX viewers to drive tune-in for the show)

New technology– FOX played with new technology, introducing talking video ads in billboards (1st network to implement moving ads technology in digital billboards).

And, and, and…

Case in point: FOX spent a LOT of time, energy, and money promoting New Girl.  The show premiered to way higher than expected ratings and was dubbed ‘a hit.’

But now? Radio silence.  During this dull off-time where we’re forced to watch baseball, at least keep up a strong promotion!  C’mon, FOX, keep the momentum going!  There’s the mantra that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’- which very well may hold true with New Girl, BUT it is still a fresh new comedy.  How can FOX be assured that all the newly acquainted New Girl fans will tune back in after a nearly month long hiatus?

FOX should have kept the ‘razzle-dazzle’ promotion of New Girl going during this dark time to strengthen the fan base and keep the audience engaged.   The first 3 episodes were a hit, but it’s still a new show- dropping it for baseball may have been a necessary evil, but the hiatus has been a lost golden opportunity by FOX to really build a strong audience base who is begging to come back on November 1st.

The Muppets and Modern Family– Last week’s Modern Family featured a scene in which Cameron and Mitchell go to the movies- they’re in the wrong theater, mistaking a scary movie for The Muppet Movie:


The Muppet Movie is later referenced in the show when Lily finds out her dads went to see it without her, and during a commercial break there is a spot for the upcoming Muppet movie.  And low and behold, Rico Rodriguez (Manny from Modern Family) is in the movie and in the spot!

Reaction: Hmm… what came first, the episode writing or the ad-sales consideration?  I can see two scenarios- the show is written and ad-sales is alerted to the fact there is a ‘Muppet’ mention in the show, prompting ad-sales to target Disney and the new Muppets movie.

Or, the other scenario- Disney approaches Modern Family with a Muppet ‘integration’ idea given the ties with Rico between the movie and the show.  Then, the writers of Modern Family write The Muppets into the episode.

Which brings up the never-ending battle between creative integrity vs. ad-sales revenue.  (Let’s face it- broadcast/cable networks survive mainly on advertising revenue)   The Muppets integration (if it was an ad-sales first, rather than later, consideration) was seamless, and I doubt many people consciously registered the connection between the scene and the later airing of the commercial, but I bet people subconsciously registered the association.  If it was an integration, it was a smart one. Modern Family is one of the highest rated shows on TV right now, and Manny is a highly lovable character, meaning a more than likely positive subconscious association between Modern Family and The Muppets.

Tricky, right? I’m dying to know what came first- the writing or the sales!

Neil Lane is a TV whore– Ok. Neil Lane is the jeweler for the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, always showing up near the end of the season with ginormous rocks and branded red ‘Neil Lane’ boxes.  And now he is the jeweler on The Rachel Zoe Project.

Just stop it already, you’re trying too hard.  One TV franchise should be enough for you to hawk your jewelry.

So I guess you could really boil my thoughts down to one thing: advertising.  How much is too much and how much is too little? What’s the balance?

P.S. My birthday is coming up, and I would have no qualms if you decided to be generous and somehow find and purchase this adorkable t-shirt for me!

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