ABC Forgets to Lock/Unlock The Gates

Samm September 29, 2010 4 Comments »

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 should not surprise me given the attitude ABC’s marketing department has given the show so far. ABC seems to have taken a very lackadaisical approach to this show which I find disappointing. The less than stellar approach started with how ABC chose to market the show to would-be fans. The Gates was billed as Twilight meets Desperate Housewives in order to appeal both to the Vampire Diaries demographic and the, you guessed it, housewives.

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.

A poor time slot is another thing that may have hurt the series. Lets face it. Who wants to stay up late on a Sunday night? There was a time when Sunday nights had the best network lineups. I can remember when The X-Files aired on Sunday nights and The Simpsons has made its permanent home there. Viewers have suggested changing the time slot to Tuesday night. At first glance that sounds like a great idea, but if you think about it, moving The Gates to Tuesday night would kill the show. Here’s why: this season SyFy has gotten rid of its infamous SyFy Friday and moved all of its hit series to Tuesday night. For ABC, moving any competing sci-fi-like show to Tuesday night would be suicide. Whether they put V, The Gates or even No Ordinary Family up against SyFy’s hits Stargate Universe and Caprica, SyFy is going to come out on top.

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.

 
So what do I suggest ABC do if they renew The Gates?

**Reach out to the fans! Whether they’re fans of The Gates or fans of other sci-fi shows, ask them what they want.

** 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.

It’s time for ABC to step out of the network box. Be the first to stop playing it safe ABC! Look at your viewers. Talk to your fans. See what they want, what they’re interested in and what other shows they’re watching. Don’t count on Nielsen Ratings to do all your work for you. People watch TV in groups first of all and Nielsen counts one viewer per household. People also record the show and watch it later or watch it on Hulu.com. People just aren’t watching TV like they used to. It’s time to change your tactics.

ABC it’s time to change how people watch TV! Renew The Gates!

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4 Comments

  1. Françoise MackeNo Gravatar January 27, 2011 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Yes good idea GreenEggsNSammN goodnight! That’s what I’ll do it soon! Thank you !

  2. GreenEggsNSammNo Gravatar January 26, 2011 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Do you have iTunes? It’s available to buy there. Or it might be available on Hulu.com. It’s really good! I think you’ll love it. ABC really missed the mark on this one. There were tons of people who started watching it online after the finale. No one was around during the summer to watch it!

  3. Françoise MackeNo Gravatar January 26, 2011 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Then I hoped to see one day these television series in France! What a pity!

  4. GreenEggsNSammNo Gravatar September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Wow! Thank you everyone for all of the retweets! You’re really getting the word out there. It’s so great to know that there are tons of loving awesome fans of The Gates that want to see more!

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