TV Land changed their reputation as a home for old reruns thanks to their hit original series “Hot in Cleveland.” Based on the success of their own programming, and a shift in their target demographic, the network is working to develop a new crop of comedies. Like many other cable stations, TV Land is jumping on the “edgy show” bandwagon, which leaves us wondering if this is a good tactic for the site or if it will backfire with their audience.
Hey Gen-Xers, This Isn’t Your Parents’ TV Land
Former network president Larry Jones announced earlier this year that their Baby Boomer viewers “had aged out of TV Land’s target demo,” calling for a shift in marketing tactics. The team at TV Land was inspired by the envelope-pushing dramas earning critical and fan acclaim on cable, and decided to try and apply that to comedy.
While Jones apparently aged out of his 18-year role when Viacom recently restructured, the plan remains the same for TV Land. They’ve introduced a new graffiti-esqe logo to appeal to the “the first DIY demo,” the Gen-Xers.
“They reject formulas and familiar tropes,” TV Land marketing Vice President Kim Rosenblum said about their new target generation. “A 30-minute sitcom that guarantees a happy ending does not connect or inspire them.”
Take a look at the network’s new edgy advertising, with a focus on original shows and newer reruns.
Success for TV Land with “Younger”
“Younger” is the first series TV Land launched after the rebranding. It is a show about a recently divorced woman who masquerades as a 20-something to land a job and keep up with her new, younger boyfriend. Starring Sutton Foster (“Bunheads”), Hilary Duff (“Lizzie Maguire”), Miriam Shor (“The Good Wife”), and Debi Mazar (“Entourage”), this entertaining comedy appeals to every woman who’s struggled to succeed in our youth-obsessed culture. It also appeals to anyone who likes really hot guys with tattoos.
If Baby Boomers were as into irony as Gen-Xers, they’d be feeling huge Alanis Morissette vibes about a network promoting a show like this when they participate in the same ageism. The fact is, though, the older generation could be just as entertained by it. The show had an early boom on social media, then followed it up with record-breaking ratings increases for TV Land.
“Younger” has already been renewed for a second season. Watch the clip below or catch up with the whole first season online.
Upcoming TV Land Series
TV Land does have more tricks up its sleeve for the rebrand with four new shows.
1.“The Jim Gaffigan Show” – This series is based on the comic’s own life of mixing stand-up and raising five children, is referred to as “harmlessly affable” and “congenial.” Though some critics promise Gaffigan “takes self-deprecation to absolute artistic heights,” others feel it’s all a bit old-fashioned and “middle-of-the-road.”
2.“Impastor” – Critics are more united on this bizarre series where a man in debt hides from creditor thugs by stealing a dead gay pastor’s identity. The plot description alone sounds too cringe-worthy to get laughs, and the show’s attempt to not push the envelope seems to hurt more than help. “The A.V. Club” calls it “a doomed (and bland) marriage of basic cable innocuousness and off-color humor.”
3.Melissa McCarthy Series – The network booked a new script penned by Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone. The series will be based on their real life friends, who are improv players writing for children’s television while their former colleagues go on to have blockbuster movie careers. With this duo at the helm, the network should get the riskier comedy they’re aiming for.
4.“Teachers” – This series is based on the popular web shorts. Episodes follow a group of elementary school teachers who shatter all stereotypes of those cardigan-wearing molders of young minds. The six actresses, collectively known as The Katydids for their shared first names, have extensive experience with improv theater. The comedy looks fast and crazy and fun in this clip from TV Land.
Slapping the “edgy” label on a network doesn’t necessarily make it better, but we can’t fault TV Land for trying to find good comedy that appeals to a wider audience. While they are obviously catering to a younger, more liberal crowd than before, they aren’t pushing their existing fans out the door with anything too extreme. The change in direction is fairly new, and as the network weeds out the shows that don’t work, the revamped TV Land should be an impressive success.
Do you think the revamp will be a positive or negative thing for TV Land?
Photo Credit: TV Land Press