Tiffany Vogt

Posts Tagged ‘Television’

“Did BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’s Rabid Fandom Seal its Show’s Fate?”

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Opinion columns, Beauty and the Beast (CW) on March 26, 2014 at 9:19 pm


"Beauty and the Beast"

“Beauty and the Beast”

Ignorance of how the television world works is usually forgivable.  But this year, TV shows with savvy fans thrived; whereas, television shows with ignorant fans suffered.  One good example is the CW’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Wrong Demo

From day one, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST had a huge hurdle to overcome: it was a show based on romance.  Sure there was the hero with genetically-mutated genes who could partially transform into a beast when his hormones raged out of control; but the essence of the story was a romance between the woman who loved the beast and how they would do anything for each other.

It was a TV show that was hard to sell to advertisers as it was clearly ear-marked for a young female fanbase with little to offer male viewers.  Unfortunately, due to the casting of 30 year old actors in the show, it failed to land even the young teen female viewers who deemed its leads too old.  That audience went fleeing instead to the greener pastures of younger casted TV shows or shows that were more relatable to their generation.

So BEAUTY AND THE BEAST limped through its first season with modest ratings, mostly skewing towards a 35-49 year old female demo, which is less valuable to advertisers who will pay higher ad dollars for 13-34 year old viewers, simply because they are so elusive and harder to reach.

Loss of Audience Retention

In addition, in its second season, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST then lost 50% of the audience it had managed to carve out in its first year by eschewing its strong, core romance and separating its lead characters through various frustrating obstacles.

See my previous article: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: The Curse of The Sophomore Slump?

“Live” Viewers vs. DVR Viewers

Another fatal flaw was that the remainder of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’s viewing audience was dominated by those who did not understand what “live” viewing meant versus DVR-viewing.  The bulk of its remaining fans assumed that watching the show on the same night via a DVR was equal to “live” viewing.  And that’s where an uneducated, un-television savvy viewership really hurts a TV show.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST not only alienated half its viewership in its second season, its remaining fanbase was woefully ignorant of how things worked in the television world.  “Live” ratings is when a viewer watches a TV show without the aid of a DVR.  It forces the viewer to watch every single commercial without the option of skipping it.

Time and time again, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans (who proudly called themselves “Beasties” – someone really needs to tell these folks how many negative connotations go with that particular moniker) proclaimed that their show had one of the highest DVR-lifts of any show on television.  That is not something to be proud of when your TV show is pulling in less than one million “live” viewers a week.

DVR-ratings only reflect delayed viewership; accordingly, DVR-viewers are rated at a significantly lower value when it comes to advertising dollars.  For example, a “live” viewer may be worth $1.00 each, but a DVR-viewer may be only worth $0.05.  So DVR-viewers are only noteworthy, and not as really contributing towards the profitability or economic-viability of a television show.

This is a huge factor for a network or studio in determining whether a television show is worthwhile to continue or should be canceled to make way for a show that can carry its weight and pull in advertising dollars.

Failure to Pair

Another huge misstep in its second season was the pairing BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with HART OF DIXIE.  Based on both shows’ previous year storylines, it made perfect sense from the outset — as both shows favored strong romantic storylines.

Unfortunately, during the 2013-14 television season, HART OF DIXIE decided to downplay its romance and focus on its small town comedy; and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST decided shed its romantic-focus to try to crank up its dramatic element by having a storyline where the main hero had his memory wiped and was turned into a beast-like killing machine.  So BEAUTY AND THE BEAST essentially jettisoned the romance and tried to be a straight action-hero story.

So both shows suffered by being paired with another show that did not appeal to the same audience.

In one last ditch effort to try to find a show that BEAUTY AND THE BEAST could pair with successfully, the CW selected its new series STAR-CROSSED to air with it in the mid-season.  Since STAR-CROSSED offered a very romantic storyline of an alien boy and a human girl falling in love, yet kept apart by warring factions, it stood a strong chance of appealing to the same audience who had stuck with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (those who were hopeful that the show would return to its strong romantic storylines).

Unfortunately, the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans were in panic-mode by the time STAR-CROSSED debuted.  Believing that STAR-CROSSED was only one more show that could prevent their show from having a chance at renewal, the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans did everything in their power to send the message that STAR-CROSSED had to be avoided at all costs.  They flamed the fires of anti STAR-CROSSED passions across Twitter and social media.

What the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans failed to see was STAR-CROSSED was its best bet at survival.  Only by showing that fans would “pair” and watch both shows, that the CW would think it had finally found a successful television block to add to their upcoming Fall 2014-15 schedule.

Since BEAUTY AND THE BEAST had failed twice at “pairing” with THE VAMPIRE DIARIES in its first season and HART OF DIXIE in its second season, STAR-CROSSED was its last chance to prove it could “pair” with another show.

Alas, that was not to be simply because the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans failed to see how “pairing” may save their show.

(Fortunately for STAR-CROSSED, it was given a second chance to “pair” with the CW series THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, and it paired with quite nicely with it.  Fans were tuning in for both shows, establishing a solid demo rating and making that “paired” block a strong contender for the Fall season — increasing both shows odds at renewals for their second seasons.)

Twitter Abuse

Yet another terrifying trend amongst ignorant television viewers is how to use social media.  The BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans were boastful of their ability to trend on Twitter every Monday night when their show aired, or whenever they deemed it an appropriate time to inundate Twitter with their trending campaigns.

But passion and slavish devotion to trending does not equate to advertising dollars.  Ad buyers only look at “live” viewership, which guarantees that their product commercials are being seen and perhaps may influence a viewer to buy/use their product.

Studios and networks may take note of Twitter trending to assess how engaged viewers are during a “live” airing of a TV show, but Twitter trending does not equate to ad dollars or direct revenue.

So Twitter trending is only a boast-worthy mark of a TV show.  What made the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans’ Twitter trending so terrifying was how they chose to use it as a destructive tool.

They not only began the campaigns to destroy STAR-CROSSED before its premiere by vowing to not watch it and encouraging the rest of the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans to do the same; once STAR-CROSSED did begin to air, they deliberately scheduled their Twitter trending efforts to take place during each STAR-CROSSED television broadcast airing in an effort to undermine STAR-CROSSED’s efforts to trend and demonstrate that it was establishing its own strong fanbase.

Astoundingly, once BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was on hiatus for an indefinitely break, its fans thought it was their god-given right to still claim Monday nights as their night to wreak havoc with their Twitter campaigns.  Unfortunately, they were not content to only trend during the now-vacated BEAUTY AND THE BEAST timeslot (which had been 9 pm on Monday nights), they moved up into the STAR-CROSSED timeslot (8 pm on Monday nights) in an effort to actively destroy STAR-CROSSED’s ability to trend during its own airings.

It was even more stunning to see that one of the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST stars, Austin Basis, encouraged these destructive Twitter trending campaigns and flamed the passions of the Beasties into waging war against STAR-CROSSED, by merely saying that there was nothing wrong with a little competition and protesting:  if not Monday nights at 8 pm, then when?   (Answer: Maybe a day/time when it was more likely to be noticed favorably and not seen as a poorly chosen weapon by desperate fans.)

This poor Twitter conduct was hurtful in several ways.  For one, both BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and STAR-CROSSED are owned by CBS, then sold to the CW.  They are sister-shows from the same studio and air on the same network.  CBS has just as much to lose if one or both shows fails to get picked up, as does the CW, which will then have to see if it can successfully launch two new shows – which in the current television climate has become increasingly difficult to do.  There is less risk with renewal than with launching new shows.  Thus, both networks and studios tend favor renewal if there is an established, solid fanbase for a TV show.

Second, it illustrates how vicious, negative and entirely self-serving the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans were.  They were not interested in the economics of what makes a television show successful and appealing to a broadcast network and advertisers, they were only interested in proving that their favorite show was the only show worthy of their slavish devotion.  But devotion does not equate into dollars.  Ad buyers/networks are looking for committed viewers who will not just tune in for one TV show a night, but will stick around and keep watching subsequent shows and give the advertiser a second chance at capturing their attention.

Advertisers also need to know that such television fans will not bail at the first sign that a TV show is not living up to their dictated-mandates of storylines.  BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans have proven not only will they bail when they are dissatisfied with the storylines or characters, but they are a fanbase willing to use hostile, negative means to achieve their personal goals.

No advertisers wants to be associated with a fanbase known for such poor attitudes or ethics.  Advertisers want to be associated with fans that can be held up as exemplary citizens.   For example, just like Justin Bieber or celebrities from “Duck Dynasty” can alienate sponsors and advertisers with their outlandish behavior and unflattering opinions, so can television fanbases scare off advertisers.

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fanbase has established itself as two things:  (1) fickle and (2) destructive.

No advertiser finds those attributes attractive.  It’s bad enough that the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans do not fit into the most desirable age demograph, but to have such negative connotations associated with them, just sends advertisers fleeing in another direction.

This is how the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fandom slit its own throat.  Ignorance of how the business world, advertising world, and the television world works is no excuse.  Similarly, there is no excuse for poor conduct in public forums.  It has put itself in a poor light and marked the TV show they want to save for death.

Television viewers cannot afford to be so blindly ignorant anymore.  If they want to save a TV show, they must understand how to be a positive influence and appeal to advertisers.  Ignorance is no excuse.


[NOTE: This article was removed from today after my editor received numerous death threats and threats of bodily harm. Should any such threats continue, they will be reported to the FBI and any other appropriate law enforcement agency.]

STAR-CROSSED Post-Mortem: EPs Meredith Averill and Adele Lim Talk What’s Next for Roman and Julia

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TV Addict, Star-Crossed on February 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm
"Star-Crossed" (Julia and Roman)

“Star-Crossed” (Julia and Roman)

Last night was the premiere of the CW alien drama series STAR-CROSSED and it set up some wonderful storylines as the humans and Atrians began to take tentative steps towards integration and getting to know their fellow planet-mates.  The sweeping romance of Roman (Matt Lanter) and Emery (Aimee Teegarden) is but one of the storylines being explored.  Another storyline to be explored is now that Roman has healed Julia (Malese Jow), how will that effect them?

So if you watched the premiere of STAR-CROSSED, then these are likely to be a few of the burning questions on your mind that I got to pose to executive producers Meredith Averill and Adele Lim:

In the pilot, Julia gets exposed to Roman’s blood and is kind of healed through his blood, does that create a link and a bond, and does that then give her the ability to tap into some of their supernatural abilities?
ADELE: There is going to be an effect.  But we’re also mindful of how everybody knows about vampire-culture right now, and if you share blood with a vampire, suddenly you’re linked in all kinds of these different ways. So we didn’t want to retread some of that territory.  So there is an effect on Julia that we will see and it will be kind of exciting, which you’ll see very early on by the end of episode 2.  Again, I don’t think it’s something anyone has seen before, and they are going to have to deal with it.  But it will be different from the vampire-link.
MEREDITH:  In terms of the bond that she then shares with Roman, it’s certainly something that we are playing with and it’s something that she has to keep secret from Emery.  So that’s something we also want to play with.

But isn’t Emery is aware of the fact that Roman healed Julia?
MEREDITH:  She saw the cyper but when she confronts Roman about it, he has a very good explanation for her.  So that’s a little bit of a secret that they have to hold from Emery, and that creates a little bit of a confusion for Emery seeing her best friend and Roman kind of whispering off in a dark corner.  So that is a story we are playing.
ADELE:  When you do know the truth, even if everything is out in the open, there is that weird feeling of your best friend in the whole world and this boy you have feelings for and you know you have a connection with, and then they have their own special connection and how do you feel about that.

In episode 2 which airs next week, look for more to be discovered about a potential bond shared by Roman and Julia.  Roman may not even be aware that by sharing his blood with a human that there could be a connection; and things are about to get just a little bit more interesting in the STAR-CROSSED world.  So be sure to tune in for an all new episode on Monday, February 24th at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.

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TCA 2014: 5 Reasons to Take A Peek at the CW’s Alien Drama Series STAR-CROSSED

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Interviews, * TCA, * TV Addict, Star-Crossed on February 17, 2014 at 12:05 pm


There is much to appreciate in the new CW drama STAR-CROSSED.  First, it has aliens.  Second, they have very attractive aliens. Third, it has a lovely dash of romance running through the story.  Fourth, it is not just a romance, there is a huge storyline involving rebels on both the human and alien sides who stir up quite a bit of trouble. And fifth, the show remembers to have fun.

STAR-CROSSED features a lively cast of young adults that embody the very essence of the characters created for them.  They instinctively know that there is a time to laugh, to cry and to remember that there life-and-death stakes involved for these characters.

When the Atrians first crash on Earth, they were not warmly welcomed.  Instead, they were hunted down like invaders and tossed into an internment camp known as the Sector.  Only after 10 years of forced-incarceration do humans take the tentative steps to trying to integrate the Atrians into human society.  It is done with marked reluctance on both sides as each is fearful of the other.  The lack of understanding between the two species demands a level of compassion that few humans or Atrians seem to possess.

At this Winter’s Television Critic Association Press Tour, the producers and few of the stars of STAR-CROSSED provided some answers to what their show is about.

As introduced by Paul Hewitt, the CW’s head of publicity, STAR-CROSSED is described as an “intergalactic love story, where a boy meets girl after boy’s spaceship crashes on the planet’s surface and their budding relationship is tested amid the rising tensions between the human race and the alien species.”
Here are five reasons you should consider checking out STAR-CROSSED:

Sci-Fi vs. Romance

If the show were a straight science fiction series, it would only have aliens, guns and lots of anger and fear.  Yet in trying to balance their series, the producers and writers strove to weave together a story that has sci-fi elements while layered with beautiful themes of young love, families adjusting to loss, teens acclimating to high school, and unexpected friendships that arise across all cultures and species.  As executive producer Meredith Averill said, “There’s a healthy balance . . .  I think the pilot does lean a little bit heavier on the love story, but moving forward, the show very much becomes about how these kids struggle to try to find a way for everyone to just get along.  And a lot of that is part of the sci‑fi, the Trags and the Red Hawks, and cool mythology.  . . . it’s certainly not just a romance.”

Adding in his perspective on why they chose to tell the tale of seven teens in high school executive producer Andre Nemec explained, “We’ve been asked a dozen questions about what it’s like to be in high school.  It’s a hard, pressured time in life when you’re trying to find yourself and you’re trying to grow up.  You’re trying to have your first sets of romances and relationships.  But these kids in this school, they have this added pressure of this very real-world global event that’s happening.  These aliens have crash‑landed on Earth.  There’s another species that is amongst us that we’re integrating into society, and it’s not really just played for the, “Oh, should the human girl be with the alien boy?’ These kids in this high school are living with very adult themes and adult problems because this school is the cauldron where all of it is beginning to boil first and foremost.”

To give a bit more background on what challenges the teens will face outside of high school, executive producer Meredith Averill shared, “Roman is the son of the Atrian leader and he has this huge responsibility.  Like a foreign manifest-destiny thrust on him. But at the same time, he’s a high school boy, who’s in love with a girl and wondering how do you make all of that work?  So we’re not going to just tell a special story on racism.”

Adding her perspective, star Aimee Teegarden revealed, “I feel like throughout the season from episode to episode, there’s peaks and valleys where [the show’s] going through the relationships and integration, and then it will have a great episode that goes sort of into the mythology of the Atrians, and you get to know little pieces about their history and where they come from and how they split into different segregated groups or tribes.”

Without exploring the culture of the Atrians it is impossible to understand their fears and worries in how trying to emulate and fit in with the humans may cost them too much of their heritage and the essence of who they are.

Integration Issues 

Human beings are just not as warm and fuzzy as we like to think of ourselves.  We have turned our backs on and pushed away many other cultures and people from other geographic regions simply because they are different.  It is a deeply-rooted prejudice that we have never seem to have conquered – much to our detriment.   Thus, we are more inclined to push away, than welcome with open arms.

So when forced to integrate that always leads to some strife, and it is no different in STAR-CROSSED.  The Atrians may look a lot like humans, but they are still from another planet and that provokes fear of the unknown.  So STAR-CROSSED will look to explore how asking the Atrians to integrate after 10 years of captivity will stir up some natural integration issues. Executive producer Meredith Averill said that for STAR-CROSSED, “Obviously there’s the parallel to the civil rights movement, to integration . . . and certainly when we were talking about what the Sector would look like, we talked about internment camps and those sorts of things.  So we have our radical groups on either side:  the Atrians, and they have the Trags; and the humans, [and they have] anti‑Atrians, a kind of KKK‑esque group known as the Red Hawks that sort of represent those radical views and they really inform a lot of the story.  So it’s certainly a big part of the show.”

Executive producer Adele Lim added, “What we feel is interesting about the Atrians, it is not just a sense of being ‘the other.’  It’s a sense of pride in their own culture, in their own ways that they don’t want to lose being thrust into a whole different world.”  She explained, “A big part of it, for the aliens, was that they be relatable to us.  And similarly to the struggles of a lot of minority groups.  It’s not that the differences are so huge.  It’s that they are small and how small the differences are, it’s enough to sort of drive a wedge between you and society at large.”

Unfortunately for the Atrians, they have birth-marks that look like tattoos on their faces that mark them immediately as something different.  It is impossible to hide when your own face declares that you are a different species.  But what is intriguing about STAR-CROSSED is how the more one is exposed to the Atrians, the less the markings are noticeable.   In fact, it enhances their natural beauty and quickly it becomes impossible to envision them without them.

“District 9” Comparisons

There is always a temptation to compare television shows with prior show or films and it can be hard to shake them once someone has an image in their mind.  One of the more vivid alien films that explored forced captivity and internment was the feature film “District 9.”  So hoping to dispel some of the comparisons, executive producer Meredith Averill clarified, “In District 9, with the aliens being the Prawns, you sort of understood right away why there was that fear.  And with our characters, them looking so much like humans, it helps so much more with the ‘why can’t they all just get along, why can’t they find peace if they do have so much in common’ types of questions.”

Similarly, executive producer Adele Lim revealed, “It was important for [the Atrians] to be relatable, that we had the touchstone of how they felt and how they looked, and that they’re much more like us than different.  So that they’re more similar than different would be the point.”

It is so easy to justify fear of the unknown when an alien species looks so foreign from anything we know.  But the issue STAR-CROSSED wanted to explore was what if the aliens looked a lot like humans.  How could we justified our fears then?

Envisioning the Future

One aspect that is wonderfully showcased in STAR-CROSSED is how they envisioned life on Earth in the future.  They foresaw that people would drive smaller cars because of concerns over gas-shortages and how each person’s green “footprint” was impacting the world around them.  They also foresaw that technology would have evolved in the 10 years, such as holographic images would be more widely used.  Looking through a prism of time and to foresee the future is a curious thing.  Executive producer Andre Nemec explained, “[The time-jump] also allowed us to play a little bit more with the idea that:  this could actually be real.  So if you put it today, you sort of look out your window and you know that aliens haven’t crashed into Earth today, but ten years from now, maybe this is our reality.  So it was one of the key reasons we wanted to push it a little bit into the future as this could exist.  This might happen.  This might be in our near future.”

Adding to that, executive producer Josh Appelbaum said, “There was a lot of discussion about not making it a dystopian view of the future.  Even though this ship has crashed and this camp has been set up – and that’s sort of a dark reality — we wanted the future to seem bright in some ways with technology and innovation.  It was making people’s lives better and bringing people together in certain ways.”

From his own perspective, star Matt Lanter added, “It’s really a nice dynamic that we have.  Just aesthetically, we have the high school where things are pretty. . . . someone had talked about the cool futuristic gadgets, and we’ve got the holograms and the clear glow‑in‑the‑dark phones and things like that.  But then we have the contrasting Sector, which we know as a slum and that is built with shipping containers that are rusted-out and old technology.  . . .To kind of what Josh was saying about it’s not too far in the future that we can do that, and we successfully do it by connecting today’s society with an iPhone and we see how that might now look 30 years from now.  As for Atrians, they don’t have access to the futuristic tech and things like that. . .   The stuff that we have now [in 2014] as a society is actually old tech for the Atrian Sector.  So I guess I’m just saying that to say that it all interconnects.  It is a really cool kind of juxtaposition as far as the look and feel of the two different places.”

They did not want to just set their story in the future, they wanted to show us what the future could conceivably look like, and it is quite beautiful.  If we could only jump ahead 10 years now and see for ourselves!

Destiny Calling

What is a young adult to do when they find out that destiny is calling them in two different directions?  Does one follow their heart and explore the joys of a first love? Or do they face up to the reality that they may have to set aside love to answer a call to duty and to lead their people?  As viewers will find out right away, there is a lot of responsibility falling on the young Atrian leader’s shoulders.  Star Matt Lanter, who plays Roman, explained, “Roman is a very complicated character with a lot of depth.  He’s a leader who is being thrust into that position.  I actually always think that’s an interesting thing to play, and I think it’s an interesting thing to watch when you have someone who is maybe not ready to be a leader – who doesn’t maybe even believe that they’re a leader themselves — but they’re put in that position, and that creates a lot of really cool moments.”

Then through the eyes of the humans, co-star Aimee Teegarden, shared, “Emery and the Atrians, you see them both entering high school for the first time and it’s through both of their eyes.  You see how differently people perceive them.  Whereas, right now, going into high school, being the awkward kid, you’re treated a certain way, you know, getting called names and whatnot.  But all of a sudden, all that pressure is off, and it’s all on the Atrians.  That, I think, is a really interesting dynamic.  I think everyone can relate to feeling awkward and weird and alien.”

To see how both Emery and Roman struggle with their respective destinies and the lure of love along the way, be sure to tune in for the premiere of STAR-CROSSED on Monday, February 17th at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.  Destiny is calling.  How will they answer?

You can read more about STAR-CROSSED here: “STAR-CROSSED: Introducing An Alien Tale of Forbidden Romance, Forced Integration, and How Its Story Differs from ROSWELL”

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