Sales Office by Don Seaman

Broadcast TV Finds Its Spooky Spirit

It’s not hard to figure out why TV loves Halloween as a theme. It’s visual, it’s got great storylines and viewers love the escapism of it all. Halloween is great fun, which is exactly why it’s great TV. Halloween is big on TV. Scary big. It always has been. The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” turns 24 this year. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is 47. And each remains a stalwart of October viewing.
TVNewsCheck,

With more than $2.6 billion in annual sales, Halloween is big business in the United States. That puts it second to only Christmas in terms of dollars spent for one event. It’s the third biggest party night of the year, behind only New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl.

It’s not hard to figure out why TV loves Halloween as a theme. It’s visual, it’s got great storylines and viewers love the escapism of it all. Halloween is great fun, which is exactly why it’s great TV.

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Television not going to be scared off by a few ghosts and goblins. On the contrary — Halloween is big on TV. Scary big. It always has been. The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” turns 24 this year. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is 47. And each remains a stalwart of October viewing.

Furthermore, any series worth its salt has its writers open up their bag of tricks for an annual Halloween-themed episode. Witness Claire Dunphy’s over-the-top Halloween stylings on Modern Family for what happens to otherwise “normal” people when it comes to Halloween.

A quick look at the broadcast schedule will tell you that horror isn’t just a made-for-October genre anymore. Fox’s Sleepy Hollow is one of the big success stories of the new season. NBC’s Dracula recently gave the character a broadcast reboot. Then there are more new vampires of The Originals, and old vampires of Vampire Diaries, not to mention Supernatural, Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time In Wonderland — the genre is well covered these days.

Oh, and The Following comes back in January.

Brand Connections

That’s right, there may be two cable shows that are making some noise in Walking Dead and American Horror Story. Otherwise, cable struggles to scare up many legions of demographics, whether they’re living, dead, or undead.

So really, paranormal is the new normal on broadcast TV.

The success of Sleepy Hollow is actually having a ripple effect in the real world — the tiny town of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., has gotten a big tourism boost thanks to the show.

And these spooky themes aren’t going away anytime soon. TV’s connection to Halloween runs too deep for that. CBS is even considering a reboot of the deceased WB’s witch-centric Charmed. An overworked representative from the Chamber of Commerce of Salem, Mass., was too busy cleaning up its statue of Samantha from Bewitched to comment.

All about sales and advertising, Sales Office appears in TVNewsCheck through the cooperation of TVB, which solicits the columns from its staff and members. Seaman is TVB's manager, marketing communications. To see all the columns in the series, click here.

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Comments (2) -

RustbeltAlumnus2 Nickname posted over 3 years ago
And broadcasting turns 107 on Christmas Eve, if you start the clock with Reginald Fessenden. Easily old enough for some Smucker's jelly on the Today Show. Way overdue to retire (broadcasting).
Insider Nickname posted over 3 years ago
You continue to totally miss the difference in Broadcasting and Narrowcasting. Unlike yourself, 107 does not mean your life is over. There is no "sell by" date on Broadcasting.
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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 28, 2016
  • 1.
    2.8/10
  • 2.
    1.9/7
  • 3.
    1.7/6
  • 4.
    1.4/5
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.4/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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