It’s September and that means it’s time for new fall TV! Over the next few weeks, the big networks will roll out their new TV series. Not all of these series will survive the year; some will be cancelled within a few weeks. One of our favorite exercises each fall at Union Metrics is to dig into what Twitter thinks about the new fall TV shows. What can we learn from early Twitter conversation and what can that tell us about whether or not a show might be cancelled?
Like last year, all of the new network series have official Twitter accounts and hashtags, so they’re all actively participating on Twitter to promote their premieres and encourage viewers to tune in. However, not all the new shows are doing well on Twitter. Let’s take a look at the crop of new shows to see how they’re doing on Twitter, and what that means for their cancellation chances.
The best of the best
First, let’s talk about the fall TV shows that are doing well on Twitter. Theses are the series potential viewers are most excited about, the ones stirring up controversy and conversation on social media. We’ll start with the front-runner, Scream Queens.
FOX’s new show Scream Queens is absolutely crushing all other the new programs on Twitter. There have been more than 330,000 tweets about the show in the past month alone. That’s more than 5x the tweet volume of its closest competitor. Scream Queens generated more tweets in the past month than even the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which started this week. The official Twitter account has already collected more than 126,000 Twitter followers. Why?
— Scream Queens (@ScreamQueens) September 12, 2015
The marketing team behind Scream Queens has been working hard for months to promote the show across social media, sharing teasers and news and behind-the-scenes pictures, starting early this spring. And of course Scream Queens’ celebrity firepower doesn’t hurt. It stars Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Lea Michelle and a host of other well-known names. It’s also created by Ryan Murphy (who created American Horror Story, which has performed very well on social media over the past few years). And finally, the demographic this show is targeting is perfect for Twitter – that young, hip audience so many advertisers want to reach. So it’s no surprise that no other show comes close to Scream Queens’ numbers on Twitter. It’s practically perfect for social media. But what about the others?
The rest of the best
Beyond Scream Queens, there’s a handful of other shows that have excited Twitter. A few of these are expected to be big hits and have had huge marketing campaigns around them, so it’s not surprising to see them here. All of them have generated at least 1,000 daily tweets on average over the past month. They are:
- The Muppets on ABC
- Heroes Reborn on NBC
- Blood & Oil on ABC
- Quantico on ABC
- Supergirl on CBS
Here’s a look at how they compare in terms of tweets over the past month.
Supergirl doesn’t premiere until the end of October, so it’s likely to continue to gain momentum over the next six weeks. The Muppets and Heroes Reborn are nearly tied right now, and premiere just a couple days apart the week of September 21. Blood & Oil has had a few flurries in tweet activity recently (see the purple spikes on the chart). And Quantico is performing well so far.
— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) September 3, 2015
— Heroes Reborn (@heroes) September 1, 2015
The mediocre middle
In order not to leave any shows out, there are a set of new series that are doing fine on Twitter. There has been some conversation about them, but nothing record-setting or particularly impressive (good or bad). We’ll monitor these are they get underway to see if they trend up or down, but for now, here are the mediocres:
- Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris on NBC
- Minority Report on FOX
- Blindspot on NBC
- Grandfathered on FOX
- Rosewood on FOX
Best Time Ever premiered this week on NBC, and gained a little traction during the premiere. The first episode only generated about 20k tweets on premiere day – that’s a fairly small showing for a brand new show with such a big name star.
The back of the pack
Not all the new shows are doing well. There are a few that haven’t made much of an impact at all on Twitter. As we’ve seen in past years, some shows just don’t make the cut – on Twitter or on television. Maybe their marketing departments haven’t spent enough time promoting the shows on Twitter, maybe the concepts just don’t excite potential viewers, maybe the cast hasn’t been active enough in their own accounts. But these six shows haven’t generated very many tweets (some of them getting 50 or fewer tweets a day!) and are in risky territory.
- Life in Pieces on CBS
- Limitless on CBS
- The Player on NBC
- The Grinder on FOX
- Code Black on CBS
- Dr. Ken on ABC
Now just because a show isn’t generating many tweets, that doesn’t guarantee it’ll be cancelled. But many shows that can’t find a Twitter audience probably aren’t finding a TV audience either. If no one’s talking about it, that either mean no one’s watching it or they’re watching it but it’s just so dull there’s nothing to talk about. That’s a good first step for cancellation.
The most surprising show in this bottom group is FOX’s The Grinder, which stars Fred Savage and Rob Lowe. These are two big names who should draw in a bigger crowd. The show doesn’t premiere until the very end of September, so it has a couple weeks to grow, but we would expect more early chatter for this one. The same goes for ABC’s Dr. Ken.
Some shows still have some time before they premiere – a set of new series don’t start until mid October or November. We’ll keep an eye on those are we get closer to their premiere dates, as they still have time to develop a larger audience on Twitter. That includes Truth Be Told and Chicago Med on NBC, Wicked City on ABC, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on The CW, and Angel From Hell on CBS.
We’ll check back in on these numbers in a couple weeks, once most of these shows have premiered. In the meantime, what do you think? What shows will stay? Which will get cancelled?
Want to monitor tweets (or Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook) about your show this fall? Take a look at the social media analytics we provide at Union Metrics.