eFangelism at work on ABC’s Scandal

o-SCANDAL-SEASON-3-POSTER-570For those interested in a little TV business inside baseball, check out this report from a recent industry conference to learn how ABC’s social media team has supported and been supported by the show’s fervent fan base.

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A tale of two TV ‘recappers’ – and both help fans love TV even more

Exposed!

The Wall Street Journal uncovered a seemingly subterranean sect whose members subsist on little more than Red Bull, all-nighters and combative TV fans. They’re The Recappers (The TV Recappers: From Breaking Bad to Honey Boo Boo) and they’re here to analyze TV shows down to their sub-atomic minutiae.

Recap_collageThese recappers, the WSJ reports, are an elite cadre of bloggers who do the heavy lifting of scouring through each episode of every TV show to deliver reports laden with facts and hidden meanings. They retrace all the steps, peer behind each door and thread the needle of any obscure reference embedded in a show. And fans love and loathe them for that. Mostly love except for the argumentative types.

Ad industry bible Advertising Age famously recaps Mad Men, retelling plot points, psychoanalyzing characters, spotlighting subtle clues and musing over lessons never learned.

While this group of recappers wallows in details and communicates almost exclusively online, there’s another breed of recappers serving fans.

These ‘other’ recappers discard details that don’t serve a purpose and their foundation is light but durable. Their value to fans: creating easy-to-digest catch-ups on episodes, seasons and even entire series. Just the facts, ma’am, with enough color commentary to satisfy hard core fans and plenty of teases to attract newbies.

These recaps come in the form of show clip-driven special episodes that launch seasons, bid series farewell and fill the need for fan buzz when a show is on hiatus. For example, the CW Network offered up this series wrap-up special as a thank-you to fans of buzz champion Gossip Girl. They did the same for the now-departed 90210 and One Tree Hill.

Recaps also come as web clips, like the semi-iconic LOST in 8:15, which revisited three seasons of complex story arcs with economy and snarkiness to spare.

Why are recaps even a thing? As the WSJ points out, people don’t watch TV the way they used to. There’s binge watching, platform jumping, parallel content and a lot of other ways for fans to get satisfaction. Recappers from both camps serve as glue that benefits fans, the shows and especially the networks that are constantly vying for fan loyalty.

2013-2014 TV preview: What’s next from NBC?

It’ll be a see-saw scenario at NBC this fall/winter. First you’ll see new shows. Then – for a while anyway – you won’t. Then you might see some others that you hadn’t seen before. And not see some that you saw. Got that?

NBC’s conundrum comes from its role as the host network for the 2014 Winter Olympics from Feb. 7-23. That’s a real plus for ratings and revenue, but a bit of a bumpy ride for the network’s regular schedule. Plus, the schedule come fall will be markedly different with lots of new entries and plenty more held back until March 2014.

logonbcNumber of new fall shows: 6 + all encore programming Saturday night
Number of returning shows:  10 including Sunday Night Football
The fall mix: 8 dramas | 5 comedies | 2 reality | 1 news | 1 sports
The shuffle:  Sunday, with football, and Tuesday feature returning fare | Thursday has the biggest new block with 3 half-hour comedies
Big names:  Dick Wolf, Michael J. Fox, James Spader (hooray!), John Malkovich, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Blair Underwood, Linda Lavin, Sean Hayes, Jenna Elfman, Gillian Anderson
Obscure fact: NBC has the most aggressive new schedule across the 2013-2014 season with 16 news shows in prime time

New fall 2013 shows with links to each show’s promotional page and trailer:

Post-Olympics hopefuls include:

2013-2014 TV preview: What’s next from FOX?

It’s off to hunt FOX and see what’s in their den. Keep in mind that the network programs just two hours per night so the schedule holes they have to fill are fewer:

FOX-TV-logoNumber of new fall shows: 5
Number of sorta new shows: 1 – Friday encore of Sleepy Hollow
Number of returning shows: 11 (+2 with mid-season bench-warmers The Following and Raising Hope)
The mix: 2 dramas | 9 comedies | 3 reality | 1 sports
The shuffle: No all-new nights; new shows sprinkled across Monday, Tuesday and Friday
Big names: J.J. Abrams, Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, (more) Gordon Ramsay (again), Jason Ritter, Alexis Bledel
Obscure fact: Major League Baseball is a ratings champ for FOX but wreaks havoc on conventional fall scheduling. So the network will once again split fall debuts to either side of MLB action

New fall 2013 shows with links to each show’s promotional page and trailer:

New mid-season show waiting in the wings:

2013-2014 TV preview: What’s next from The CW?

Following peeks at ABC then CBS, the alphabet next takes us to The CW.

“What?” you ask. “How does The CW come before FOX and NBC, what with the “The” and all that?”

Look, my third cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s uncle’s neighbor took a library classification course once, so I know this is the correct order. Trust me on this and settle into the 2013-2014 season on The CW. Just remember that this net airs only two hours per night, five nights a week:

CW_logo__121204230324-275x188Number of new shows: 3
Number of returning shows: 7 (+ mid-season bench-warmer Nikita in its final turn)
The mix: 9 dramas | 1 reality
The shuffle: Monday and Friday are old familiar faces, while mid-week nights have one newbie each
Big names: None right now, but just you wait
Obscure fact: Network mainstay Supernatural took ten years to make it on air and was originally slated for just three seasons; it’s about to start season eight

New fall 2013 shows with links to each show’s promotional page and trailer:

New mid-season show waiting in the wings:

  • The 100 (promo trailer not yet available)
  • Star-Crossed (promo trailer not yet available)

2013-2014 TV preview: What’s next from CBS?

We’re keeping an eye on CBS, the perennial top broadcast network and the one with the least new fare relative to the seven-day-a-week full prime time schedule. Here’s what’s on tap starting September:

cbs-blue-logoNumber of new shows: 5
Number of returning shows: 18 (+1 with mid-season bench-warmer Mike & Molly)
Number of “neither of the above” shows: Saturday nights have two hours slated for encore programming, which means second viewings of the week’s comedy and crime drama offerings
The mix: 12 dramas | 9 comedies | 3 reality | 1 news | 0 sports
The shuffle: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday feature all returning series | the other nights are a combination of new and returning, with no night getting a complete overhaul
Big names: Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott, James Spader, Will Arnett, Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Obscure fact: Of the broadcast nets, CBS has the highest number of returning show which also means the least new programming – possibly a double-edged sword when it comes to attracting fresh viewers

New fall 2013 shows with links to each show’s promotional page and trailer:

New mid-season show waiting in the wings:

2013-2014 TV preview: What’s next from ABC?

We feel a queasy excitement about the pending 2013-2014 television season. Just like going back to school used to feel. There will be a bit of the familiar. The new and thrilling. And inevitably a few of those moments when something goes so wrong – terribly wrong.
Diving into the new season wouldn’t be the same without company, so think of us as classmates and imagine this is show and tell day. Our class presentation is multi-part, starting with ABC and moving through each broadcast network, then on to cable, streaming and sports.
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In strict alphabetical order we begin with ABC (approved by Maria, no less):

ABC_LogoNumber of new shows: 8
Number of returning shows: 14 (+1 with mid-season bench-warmer Suburgatory)
The mix: 10 dramas | 8 comedies | 2 reality | 1 news | 1 sports
The shuffle: Monday, Friday and Saturday schedules showcase returning shows only | the Tuesday line-up is all new | other nights mix new and returning
Big names: Joss Whedon, James Caan, Rebel Wilson, John Lithgow, Clark Gregg
Obscure fact: 2 shows feature actors – Michael Socha and Lenora Crichlow – known for their leading roles in the BBC America supernatural series Being Human

New fall 2013 shows with a link to each show’s promotional page with trailer:

New mid-season show waiting in the wings (just in case some does go terribly wrong):