Boy, I tell you folks, there is an awful lot of TV to choose from these days.
-How much is there?
So much that more than 400 original scripted English-language series — just in prime time, not counting game shows, reality shows, documentary shows, daytime or nighttime talk shows, news or sports — will air on American television in 2015 before the year is out.
-Wow. That’s a terrible punch line. You’re really bad at this.
Hey, screw you, other me. This isn’t a joke. Sure, the AV Club jokingly titling its Fall TV preview series “’You can’t watch everything’: A pragmatic guide to peak TV” is pretty smirk-inducing, but this glut of original programming is such that even those people who write about TV for a living can’t keep up with it anymore. If they’re falling behind, what does that mean for the rest of us?
Well, according to research firm Ipsos MediaCT, most of us will simply stick with the shows based on pre-existing properties we already know about.
Eh, we’ll find out.
During the first week of September, Ipsos surveyed 2,342 people between the ages of 13 and 64, and asked a series of questions to gauge audience awareness (“Have you heard of this show?”) and intent-to-view (“Do you intend to watch this show?”) for all of the fall’s new TV shows. Incidentally, this is the same basic system historically used by the Hollywood tracking agencies charged with predicting how much money specific movies will make on opening weekend. Those predictions have not been particularly reliable as of late. So, keep that in mind.
Ipsos discovered – surprise, surprise – that TV viewers are most aware of the new shows which are based on something we might have already seen somewhere else, be it in a movie, comic book or other TV show. In the top 5, only Fox’s Scream Queens is an original property, but it’s still awfully familiar considering its similarity to the Scream series which just wrapped its first season on MTV:
- The Muppets – 63%
- Supergirl – 34%
- Minority Report – 30%
- Scream Queens – 28%
- Heroes Reborn – 24%
This seems to back up an earlier study conducted by Amobee Brand Intelligence, which used a different methodology. In that example, the researchers measured how often all of the new shows had been mentioned across the internet, social, and mobile from April 19-May 19, and 6 of the 10 most-discussed new shows were based on pre-existing properties. According to BusinessInsider.com, the top five alone consisted of Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Limitless, The Muppets and Scream Queens. Ipsos’ more recent research suggests that the millions ABC has poured into promoting The Muppets over the summer has paid off, resulting in it leapfrogging the competition.
Of course, simply being aware of a new show doesn’t mean you’ll actually watch it, and there was a little more variation in the intent-to-view category:
- The Muppets -18%
- Supergirl – 14%
- Heroes Reborn – 11%
- Code Black – 9%
- Scream Queens – 8%
The new entry on that list is Code Black, a CBS emergency room medical procedural starring Marcia Gay Harden. I actually had to look it up just now because I didn’t immediately recognize the title, but now I remember reading a TV Guide review which concluded Code Black is well-done but brings nothing new to the genre for anyone who’s already seen ER. Also, those percentages should tell how low the bar has been set for TV ratings where only 8% of survey respondents intend to watch Scream Queens, and that’s seen as a good number.
On the opposite end, very few said they will watch Truth Be Told (2%), Wicked City (2%), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (4%), Life In Pieces (4%), The Player (5%) or The Grinder (5%).
And that’s the audience temperature of the moment. Some of these shows don’t premiere until October meaning their networks haven’t ramped up promotional efforts, and others are on major broadcast networks which will use commercial breaks during NFL games to shove ads down our throat.
What about you? Looking at the fall’s new shows, are you gravitating toward some brand new things or mostly sticking with the based-on-that-thing-you-already-knew-about crowd?
Source: TV Guide (from a news story in the Sept. 21-27 issue; the full Ipsos data does not appear to have been made available to the public yet)