TV executives spoke a strange language in New York this week.
"We are eventizing our entertainment slate,"
No, "eventizing" is not a dance craze but rather the latest corporate buzzword. And puzzling as it may be — "That's not a word!," sputtered
Sports, specials and year-round premieres? Those things are absolutely in.
Repeats, midseason replacements and burned-off episodes of failed series? Out, out like 2013.
The ultimate goal is to stand out in a world cluttered with cable hits ("The Walking Dead"), online series (
Broadcasters know they have to raise their game or risk obsolescence. "By creating an event, it will hopefully get more viewers involved in a show and then encourage them to make comments on social media to attract more viewers," said Brad Adgate, an analyst for ad firm Horizon Media.
The stakes are high. Many analysts and executives foresee a tepid upfront ad market, where the bulk of TV commercial time is sold in advance, starting right after the schedules are unfurled. Last year about $8.5 billion changed hands — and most projections are for a flat performance this year.
None of this means a wholesale retreat from the scripted series that have been the networks' bread-and-butter for 60 years. NBC, back on top this season in the critical 18 to 49 demographic, according to Nielsen, after a miserable string of seasons at the bottom, is relying on some familiar faces to supply new hit shows. Among others, there is the whodunit "The Mysteries of Laura," with
In a bold nod to eventizing, the network will offer another live performance of a Broadway favorite later this year with "Peter Pan," which follows last year's surprise hit "The Sound of Music." The network also announced it will strike up the band for a live production of the classic "The Music Man."
But far more attention was devoted to a returning show:
As the No. 1 new show this season, "The Blacklist" was ready for a promotion — and indeed NBC is giving it the plum post-Super Bowl slot to ensure the maximum number of viewers are exposed to it. But now regular episodes will get sandwiched between
Speaking of Thursday,
It's a risky move, given that the football rights cost $250 million and the games will delay the launch of CBS' regular Thursday shows — including the final season of the sitcom
"Sports is really a bright spot in television right now," said Catherine Warburton, chief investment officer of the media agency Assembly and a former
For new fare, CBS ordered the Sunday political drama "Madam Secretary" (which NBC will counter on Mondays with its
But CBS executives surprised the industry — and contradicted early media accounts — by passing on "How I Met Your Dad," a supposed shoo-in as a spinoff to "How I Met Your Mother." CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler said she was "heartsick" after realizing "HIMYD" wasn't gelling creatively.
For Fox, which used to build its upfront presentations around
Fox also has "Utopia," a
As for last-place
Thursdays will be given over entirely to Rhimes, the writer-producer behind the new legal drama "How to Get Away With Murder," starring
Lacking the high-rated NFL games seen on its sister network
Whether the American viewer will consider all of this sufficiently event-ized remains to be seen. No matter what the day's buzzword is, the TV business still operates on a widely understood word that has been around for a long time: hits.
As Adgate wryly noted: "What a network considers an event and what a viewer considers an event may be different."