I would like to take a moment to ask ABC what on Earth is going on. Their new series, The Gates, had what ABC billed as its “season finale” well over one week ago and viewers (and the actors!) still have not been told whether ABC intends to renew the show.
This marketing strategy lost ABC viewers. Why? It’s simple. While both Twilight and Desperate Housewives have very strong fan bases, the duality is they also have a very strong anti-fan base. That being, that there is an equal amount of people who loathe both series as there are fans who love them. Given the strong loathing for Twilight and Desperate Housewives that has accumulated, marketing The Gates as a combination of the two instantly lost ABC viewers who would otherwise have given the show a chance.
The show premiered in the summer line up right around the time of San Diego Comic Con, the industry’s main convention for pimping shows to fans. Did we see any representation of The Gates at Comic Con? Nope. Instead, ABC chose to promote shows airing in their fall line-up such as No Ordinary Family. Promotion at Comic Con could have broadened and gained viewership for The Gates, but instead fans were shown series that they would have to wait nearly another two months before viewing. I’m not sure about most fans, but I already forgot to get excited for No Ordinary Family and missed the premiere.
It is painfully obvious that ABC just didn’t know what to do with the show. I don’t really fault them for that. I’m a fan of the show and I still have a hard time describing it to people. Why? Because The Gates is something entirely unique. It’s hard to describe. It’s melodrama, crime drama, sci-fi and satire all rolled into one well written and well acted show. Fans love the show because there isn’t anything else on TV like it. Programming execs, on the other hand, don’t know what to do with it. They want safety. Remaking old sci-fi miniseries from the 1970’s is safe. Making more reality shows is safe. Safe is easy. Safe guarantees they make money. Safe isn’t what the viewers want. Viewers are tired of safe. Safe is why viewers watch more cable than network television. Safe is why overall viewership is down and more people are tuning in to Hulu.com.
** When you market the show, present it as it is. Air previews. Let the show speak for itself instead of comparing it to other popular shows/movies.
** Bring The Gates to conventions like Comic Con and Dragon*Con to promote the show. Word of mouth is your friend. Presence of The Gates at a convention is an excellent way to pull in viewers with very little overhead (if any) from the network. Convention goers would love to meet stars like Rhona Mitra, Frank Grillo, Marisol Nichols, Colton Haynes and Andrea Powell. Take advantage of that!
** Take advantage of SyFy’s mistake! Move The Gates to Friday nights and put Wife Swap and Super Nanny on Sundays.
ABC it’s time to change how people watch TV! Renew The Gates!