bold experiments

Fox Takes Unconventional Approach to Getting Viewers to Buy Into Glee

For our money, Nip/Tuck is one of the darkest and most depraved series to ever air on television. So if you’re creator Ryan Murphy, what do you possibly do for a follow-up? Why, make a musical drama about a high-school glee club, of course! Everyone over at Fox is buzzing about Glee, which came out of the TCA in January with near-universal support from critics and is set to debut on May 19. But in a unique twist, no matter how much you like the pilot episode when it airs in a few weeks, you won’t be able to tune in to watch the show at the same bat time or on the same bat channel the following week. Instead, Fox won’t be airing the second episode of the show until late August or early September. What could they possibly be thinking?

Actually, it’s all part of a complex marketing campaign and daring programming decision on behalf of the execs at Fox. According to an interview that Fox marketing honcho Joe Earley gave to TV Week, “The way we’re looking at May 19 is, it’s the world’s largest grassroots screening. The show sells itself better than any (campaign) can.” Which is all well and good, we suppose, but in today’s fractured television landscape, how are people supposed to remember to tune into a show in late August that they first saw back in May? Fox has that answer, too, as they plan to promote the show heavily on Hulu over the summer and, in the boldest twist we’ve heard yet, they plan to give away free copies of the pilot on DVD. The logistics of this have yet to be determined, but that’s just the kind of ambitious promotional strategy that you need to launch a show that is one of television’s most expensive to produce, costing over $3 million per episode.

Will it work? Tough to say. People went nuts for High School Musical, but, according to all reports, this program is a different beast altogether. From the looks of the promo spots, Fox might have something special on its hands.

‘Glee’ Pilot Doubles as Marketing Trial [TV Week]

Will TV audiences watch with ‘Glee’? [LAT]

Fox Takes Unconventional Approach to Getting Viewers to Buy Into Glee