Image from "The Goon" by Eric Powell. Please
check out Eric's work and THE GOON, here.
I spoke recently with the head of programming for a major cable network. During the course of our conversation, I asked what it is, that he looks for in assessing a new show or project. His answer:
"New Eyes" - Will this show bring new eyes (new viewers) to our channel?
In today's market, the goal is not only to satisfy the current viewers, so that they remain loyal to the channel - but to attract NEW viewers to boost the ratings.
So how do you do that?
When we were producing Freaky Stories, we were writing for adults. It wasn't a kids show. It looked like a kids show. It sounded like a kids show - but there was an adult subtext - smart stuff was going on.
The kids would be happily watching the show - while the parents, listening in the next room and interested in what they were hearing - would come in, sit beside their kids and watch the show too. We brought "new eyes" to the broadcaster.
While everyone was watching the episodes - I was watching the commercials - because I knew that the ad agencies had the exact audience demographics. The first couple of weeks, it was mostly promos and PSA's. Then we got commercials for breakfast cereal. I knew we were reaching the right audience when we got our first mini-van ad.
Check out the really successful animated series of the past couple of decades: the Spongebobs, the animated Batmans, the Ren and Stimpys. They're smart. They're subversive. They appeal to multiple audiences. And most important from a show sales point of view, they bring New Eyes to the broadcaster.