Tag Archives: Media Management

The Future of the CW

Mark Pedowitz is the newest addition to The CW network, and he has a new vision for the network. Pedowitz wants to bring comedy back to The CW, claiming that this will widen the viewership of the network, and bringing more success overall. But the CW’s troubled history with comedy makes this a risky plan for success.

A Spotty History with Comedy

In 2011, Mark Pedowitz succeeded the former president of The CW, Dawn Ostroff. Right off the bat, Ostroff called Pedowitz out, predicting the difficulty and failure of doing comedies on The CW. Ostroff claimed that this idea would not go far because of her past experience.  When The CW originally launched its network back in 2006, shows such as Everybody Hates Chris and The Game were two comedy series that aired for three years on The CW…but these were the longest comedy series running on The CW.

In 2011, Aliens in America and 18 to Life launched with little success, with neither running more than a season or two. Thereafter, comedies took a backseat on the network, and hour-long vampire and superhero dramas took over, catering to an 18-34, young women demographic.

Current Demographic

On the other hand, Pedowitz doesn’t seem to want to diminish supernatural dramas from the network.  In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Pedowitz  fully supports these dramas, “Not only do Arrow, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries perform well on-air, they’re also extremely successful for us both digitally and socially. I’m thrilled to have all three shows returning to our schedule in upcoming seasons.”

vampire-diaries-season-5

When it comes down to the numbers, Pedowitz should be proud.  The Vampire Diaries has up to 2.5 million viewers on average per episode, not to mention that Arrow holds the record for the best premiere viewership for The CW, coming in at 4.5 million viewers. According to tv.com, The CW’s top popular shows are their fictional hour-long drama series. Supernatural is the most popular series on The CW, The Vampire Diaries snags second, and Arrow comes in at number three. These numbers speak volumes when it comes to the content and the genre that The CW viewers are demanding: they want drama. So where does that leave comedy?

New Target Demographic

whose-line-is-it-anywayThe first big step that Pedowitz took to catch attention of viewers was bringing back Whose Line is it Anyways? to The CW. Whose Line premiered in Summer of 2013, and in the Fall it is drawing about 2.4 million viewers on Tuesday nights. This improv comedy series was a smart move to draw the older spectrum of the 18-34 demographic, and pull the focus to both men and women.

Also in September 2013, The CW announced it would broadcast a Canadian comedy series called Seed. Seed centers on a sperm donor who reluctantly begins a relationship with three unique and separate recipient families. According to IMBD, Seed was rated the highest original comedy series to date in Canada. This series would seem to target a different audience.  I think this strategy will pull in loyal viewers of the show, while attracting interest from new viewers to see what this highly rated comedy series is about.

These latest programming decisions raise questions about the future of The CW. Do you think Mark Pedowitz is overpromising viewership, trying to please both drama and comedy viewers? Since The CW has been unsuccessful with comedy, do you think it will affect the viewership of Whose Line is it Anyways and Seed? What do you think about the decision to bring a Canadian series, such as Seed, to the U.S.? Do you think it will change the demographics of The CW?

 Bridgett Reidy

Not So Fast, Fox Sports

There has been a lot of hype around the new Fox Sports 1 station being the second best sports broadcasting company lately, but are people overlooking other sports broadcasting companies? CBS Sports would be the first to say that people are jumping on the Fox Sports bandwagon too soon.

CBS Facts

CBS broadcasts more than 25 men’s and women’s collegiate sports. They broadcast more than 400 live sporting events in a calendar year. CBS Sports is focused on collegiate athletics, as it will broadcast over 50 college football games and over 200 college basketball games this season.

CBS Sports Radio

CBS Sports RadioJust a little over a year ago, CBS created the largest major market sports radio network in the nation. The station debuted on January 2nd of this year.

“In this era of growing multimedia platforms, the addition of a national radio network to CBS Sports’ broadcast, cable and digital properties allows us to extend the storied CBS Sports brand to radio listeners across the country,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “We are pleased CBS Sports Radio will allow fans to consume CBS Sports content on a different platform from some of the most recognizable and respected broadcasters in the industry.” To read more about this, click here.

CBS Strategy

CBS has a very different strategy than that of its competitors, and that will not change with the launching of Fox Sports 1. “We’re not directly responding to what they’re doing by changing or altering our strategy,” Said McManus.

CBS is taking a very different route, instead of putting in hundreds of millions of dollars towards sports rights. CBS is playing it a little more conservative and not taking the big risks that Fox is. “We are trying to build our company more slowly and more strategically,” said McManus.

Let’s Compare the Two

FOX-Sports-1-LogoCBS has the advantage when it comes to college football as they have a contract with the SEC, which has won the last seven national championships and is known as the powerhouse conference.

FOX has the advantage when it comes to MLB, NASCAR, and UFC, as CBS doesn’t have live coverage of those sports. CBS has the advantage in Golf and Tennis as FOX doesn’t have coverage of that, until 2015 when they will cover the US Open.

CBS has a huge advantage in college basketball. They have a partnership with Turner Sports (TNT, TBS) for March Madness. CBS hosts the Final Four every year and that brings in a lot of viewership and boosts their ratings.

The two are essentially equal when it comes to NFL as FOX covers the NFC and CBS covers the AFC. They alternate the Super Bowl between each other. Here is a video of Chairman, Sean McManus, talking about the preparations of and details of covering a Superbowl.

So…Who’s Better?

Fox Sports has definitely done the most lately to make it seem like they are the apparent leader of the two, but I think it depends on the person and their taste of sports. I like the way that CBS has taken the lower route and played it slow. They already have a lock down on College Basketball and Golf. They’re equal when it comes to NFL, so it’s all up for debate.

What does the ‘Fox’ say to that? And what do you think—is CBS a contender?

Acie Glassford

Comic Books Breathe New Life into Old Stories

We’ve all had it happen to us. We get invested deeply in a TV show, maybe for a season, or maybe for many seasons.  And then one day we get the terrible new that our favorite show has been cancelled. The problem is, some of us aren’t finished enjoy it. Some producers are finding a new way to keep their shows alive in a surprising way…through comic books. Many series have already taken to this trend.

Superman

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville are two great examples of television shows that lasted for many years, but when they were done, fans still wanted more. Luckily for them, there were still plenty of stories to tell in those universes, and comic books provided a low-risk environment to continue the story for the fans who couldn’t get enough. Media producers usually want to keep their franchise alive just as much as we want to see them continue. They have poured their heart and soul into their shows and worked very hard to deliver them to us. Whether it is a television show, a movie, or even a video game, comics can be a great way to continue the story for all of us who aren’t done with it yet.

buffyThe problem starts when the studios and networks no longer wish to support the show. Comics allow for these deserving series to have a proper continuation. For producers this could be a far safer bet than continuing to produce a television show that is not going to be successful any longer. If the comic afterlife is a success, then everyone is happy. The fans get more story, and the producers make a profit. However, if comic continuation looks to be a dud, it is not nearly as hard of a hit to take. The general costs of making a comic are $40-$120 a page for a Penciler, $20-$80 per page for an Inker, $20-$50 per page for a Colorist, and $5-$20 for a Letterer per page. Even when you add in the costs of writing talent this still adds up to be far less of an investment than a single episode produced for a television network.

Comic books allows for things that are not always possible on camera. In the world of television production, actors can have budget disputes, be fired, quit, or even pass away. With comics, as long as the permission is given for the likeness to be used, the “on-screen” talent can be immortal. They can have cameos, or their characters can last for much longer than their contract would originally allow for. And drawings never ask for raises! Take a look at Dark Horse’s Star Wars: Dark Empire. This was a comic series produced in the 90s, and on the page the actors look as they did while filming Return of the Jedi, when in reality they have all visibly aged.

Batman

Video games are another medium where comics can perfectly add on to. No matter how much replay value a game has, at some point you run out of story. If the game is good enough, fans will want more. Games such as Batman: Arkham City, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution are both deep story-based games that have engaging plots that have left audiences wanting more. Enter DC Comics, which took both of these titles and made comic books based on the games, and released them about six months after the game’s initial launch. The comic book series Arkham Unhinged is a whole new set of stories that continue where Arkham City left off. Two years after Arkham City, and monthly issues of Batman: Arkham Unhinged are still being produced in monthly installments.

In short, I believe more producers should look to the comic book medium as a way to continue their franchise. It is less of a financial risk, and it is in a medium that is still thriving. Comics can immortalize characters and talent and continue to deliver engaging stories to fans. The stories can continue, and we can keep getting the stories we want and deserve. Do you think more franchises will get a reboot in comics? What would you like to see re-imagined in the panels of a comic book?

– Kyle Hogan

Who’s Running the Show? Television’s Writer-Producers

Showrunners have a huge impact on television shows and how everything happens, hence the name showrunner. In fact, a showrunner outranks the television show director in all respects. What does a showrunner do? That is a good question! An article in The Hollywood Reporter The Top 50 Showrunners of 2012 gives a great breakdown of what the best showrunners do, and how their strategies lead to some of the best shows on television!

The Hollywood Reporter article discusses how a showrunner has direct responsibility for the day-to-day creative output of a scripted TV show that has aired for at least one full season. The showrunner also has to think about the show’s Nielsen ratings, especially relative to other shows on the same network, and to Emmy attention and critical praise. 

New GirlThe New Girl airs on FOX on Tuesday’s at 8pm. The showrunners discussed changes in casting, beginning with the pilot episode. In the pilot, there was a character named Coach who was the third roommate. In the next episode, however, he was replaced by a new character named Winston. The show changed as a result.

For the AMC hit The Walking Dead, a previous showrunner, Glen Marazza, wanted to make some major changes to the show, by killing off the infant child of a main character. The network did not like that idea, nor did the show’s producers, and he was soon released from the show. The new showrunner Scott Gimple, has done a great job in pleasing the network, the producers and the audience, which continues to grow.

Walking Dead

Showrunners are literally running the show. They take care of all aspects of the show and work to make that show successful. What are your favorite shows, and what do you know about who’s actually running the show?

– Sammy Kaster