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19Feb/101

How not to draw an audience: Titles

Now I may not be a huge fan of television, I don’t even have cable, but I do know a thing or two about drawing audiences to new shows. Regardless of what the show is about, it always helps to toss in cleavage and violence, however I want to talk about another critical decision; titles (no, not titties, you depraved sociopaths). Far too often a title is chosen trying to be witty, edgy, or cool while forgetting the most important part; it needs to convey the basics of the show. I saw a bus ad for one of these new shows with a crappy name and figured I would help the networks like I have been helping Hollywood.

thebridge The show under discussion.

Let’s run through the problems with this show.

  1. The name is generic and common that you are sabotaging your search results. The only way I was able to find an image of the show was the I had already knew the station it was on. If I was the average person, or sub-average in your case, I would be busy staring at pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge thinking this was a spin-off of Monk.
  2. The name and guy paint a very vague picture of the show. Does this man work on a toll bridge? He seems a bit dressy for that, maybe he’s an architect that specializes on bridges? He seems a tad serious for that, maybe he’s an accountant who gets stuck on a bridge for days and decides to toss the tie and pull a Falling Down? Nah, they’d never be able to stretch that to 13 episodes. What if they are talking about a figurative bridge? He could be a counsellor, divorce lawyer, corporate negotiator, or even a primary school teacher. Maybe his name is Bridge? Guess what? He’s a cop. Yeah, that’s obvious.
  3. Why should I tune in to this show? The slightly dirtied words? The guy who I’ve never seen in anything else before? Exactly. The least they could do is toss in a snappy tagline.

With all of these issues you might think the show is doomed. Well it is. Unless they decide to shake things up and rebrand the show. I’m thinking something along the lines of the following.

thebridgebetter I’d watch this.

There we go. Now we know the show is about a union and cops but there is just enough mystery to make us want to see how it fits together. We also no longer care that we don’t know who this guy is because we know he is bad ass. The show is now an instant hit with cop show fans and courtroom drama fans. You’re welcome TV.

Your pal,

Steve

Filed under: Television 1 Comment