It’s that time of the year again: the beginning of a new TV season. The late-night wars might be a thing of the past and the top shows are more diverse than ever before. But like the dynamic duo of Scully and Mulder, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here are the top TV trends for this season:
Everything old is new again
Nostalgia is driving many of the upcoming TV series. This fall viewers can enjoy new versions of old favorites like X-Files, and Heroes. This trend will continue in the coming years, with reboots of Twin Peaks, Prison Break, and Xena: Warrior Princess. New TV shows are also increasingly looking to movies for inspiration, following in the steps of Fargo. A few in development: NBC: Marley & Me, Problem Child; FOX: Hitch, Big, Monster-in-Law; CW: The Illusionist.
As the TV landscape becomes more crowded, networks are looking for familiar shows that can break through the clutter.
Network shows find new homes on digital property
Shows that are ratings-soft but do well on DVR and social media are now finding a second home on digital properties, thanks to the streaming revolution. Community went from NBC to Yahoo, and this season The Mindy Project moved to Hulu after getting the boot from FOX. But streaming doesn’t mean bingeing; viewers will have to wait for a new episode each week.
Year-round quality programming
The fall season is not the be-all end-all anymore; the hotly anticipated new series, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead debuted in the heat of summer – a choice that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The early start proved to be a success – at 10.1 million viewers and a 6.3 rating among adults 18-49, it was the biggest series premiere in cable TV history.
After the success of last year’s Sound of Music and SNL’s anniversary special, more live televised events are on the horizon like NBC’s The Wiz in December.
New forms of product integration
While product integration on TV is nothing new, marketers are always working on new twists. Fans of Empire will be able to enjoy fewer commercials next season, but instead watch 30 second ads weaved into each episode, from official sponsors like Pepsi and Ford. With its variety show Best Show Ever, NBC is working on ways to engage fans in contests and reward them with products from advertisers. Stephen Colbert reportedly may continue the gimmick he perfected on The Colbert Report – openly pitching products while simultaneously mocking them.
Telemundo is also innovating how to reach viewers with ads. The network’s telenovelas will offer viewers extra features on their tablets and smartphones. When a character gets a text message, it might appear on your phone, or when two characters walk off-screen, you could still see their whereabouts on your tablet. This second screen experience will allow viewers to stay engaged in the show and, of course, the ads.