So Long, Nostalgia! TV Land Rebrands: No Longer Looking Back, the Network Targets Generation X-Ers by Ditching Traditional Comedies (Sorry, Betty White) for Edgier, Buzzier Fare

By Lynch, Jason | ADWEEK, July 20, 2015 | Go to article overview

So Long, Nostalgia! TV Land Rebrands: No Longer Looking Back, the Network Targets Generation X-Ers by Ditching Traditional Comedies (Sorry, Betty White) for Edgier, Buzzier Fare


Lynch, Jason, ADWEEK


Since it launched in 1996, TV Land has been the television version of comfort food, satisfying nostaglia-loving audiences with a mix of beloved reruns and, more recently, original sitcoms like Hot in Cleveland that felt as familiar (and dated) as those syndicated shows. But as the landscape has i changed, its core demo of viewers in J their 30s and 40s has developed a ? far more cultured TV palate. "With all of the options now, to go back in time and look at programming from years ago, you can't survive on being a library offering anymore," said Chris Geraci, president of national broadcast, OMD. "That's not going to work going forward."

So the network stopped looking back and starting looking ahead this year, with a rebrand to win back the Generation X audiences who crave edgier, serialized fare. "We needed to evolve. We wanted to be part of the conversation in the comedy world, like the drama world was in cable," said Keith Cox, evp, development and original programming. "We wanted to do shows that people talked about."

With its first series under the rebrand, Younger, TV Land is finally doing that. Debuting this spring, the show--about a 40-year-old woman who jump-starts her professional and personal life by pretending to be 26--heralded the network's new direction, while its title doubled as TV Land's mantra. Its median age of 49 was seven years younger than the network's prime-time average--its youngest ever for an original sitcom.

Thanks to a grassroots marketing effort ("We called it #snowball because we knew people were going to like it, so we wanted to build momentum and push that snowball," said Kim Rosenblum, evp, creative and marketing) that helped amplify word of mouth via social media, Younger's ratings jumped 73 percent in adults 25-54 from premiere to the finale, and 118 percent in women 25-54. Now the network has moved on to Phase 2, rolling out a pair of offbeat new comedies: The Jim Gaffigan Show and Impastor.

The rebranding is familiar territory for Younger creator Darren Star, who said he "definitely wasn't thinking of TV Land" as an outlet for the show but relished the chance to help another network find itself, as he had previously done with Fox (Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place) and HBO (Sex and the City). …

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