#FWBL Fails to be “Friends”

Cheaply trying to knock-off of the 90s fan-favorite sitcom Friends, the new show Friends With Better Lives weakly attempts to be THE show that everyone is talking about. This new sitcom was being considered as the replacement for the How I Met Your Mother’s time slot until an astonishing 31% drop in viewership after only one episode convinced CBS executives otherwise.

The central characters in the show are boring, offering little excitement to the show’s already doomed future. The predictability of the conflicts the show centers on – fear of being single in the city, complications with dating, and marriage – only makes it less enticing. Although the producer of Friends is on staff for this show and the cast list boasts some big names, it’s future is looking pretty grim. While it would be hard for anything to fully match up to the popularity of the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, this certainly will not even come close.

Social media is a huge factor in determining shows’ popularity, and CBS rolled out a massive social media push for the show’s premiere. The show had a #FWBL live tweet event, trying to start a social media trend and drive excitement and engagement. While simply typing #FWBL into the Twitter search bar yields results, a vast majority of those tweets are from cast members, @fwblcbs, the main CBS twitter handle, or entertainment magazines. (@Vanderjames – cast member – even tweeted a picture of the cast live-tweeting during the show!)

While cast members of NBC’s Scandal live-tweet during episodes, they are published more candidly while this type of social media promotion feels forced and unnatural. Fan engagement on Twitter is low, and Twitter is the most popular platform for social TV discussions.

Where does this leave the future of Friends with Better Lives? It doesn’t really look like it’s headed anywhere, but only time will tell if this show can match the pre-premier buzz executives were looking to create.

Why is Everyone on TV Dying? [SPOILERS]

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Even with the capabilities of on-demand, Netflix, and streaming, TV shows often dictate the way we live our lives and make our daily schedules. We get to know the characters on our favorite shows like they are our friends, hating their enemies as if they were our own. We feel TV characters’ pain and happiness; sadly, many TV fans have felt quite a bit of grief these past few weeks due to the deaths of so many characters.

The most recent TV death was on the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, angering loyal fans and causing a huge reaction on Twitter. (#HIMYM and #HIMYMfinale were still trending more than 24 hours after the episode aired). Killing off the mother played by Cristin Milioti was a tragic ending to the much beloved show. Despite the scriptwriters’ forward-looking approach to the final episode, which looked into the characters’ lives years into the future, viewers felt this was an untimely death. Will this ruin fans’ fond memories of the show?

But this has not been the only major death of a TV character in recent weeks. Shocking and devastating, the love interest and leading man in The Good Wife, Will Gardner, was killed in a seemingly random shooting in a scene at the courthouse. While defending a case, Will’s client stole a gun from court security and began shooting; Will was trying to wrestle the gun away when he was shot and killed. Although this was written into the script to relieve actor Josh Charles from the show, it leaves fans wondering where the show will go next. The romance and tension between good wife Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner has been a central plot point. Will’s death caused pain and grief, shown through the activity online through Twitter:

Now we can only wait to see how The Good Wife’s script, fans, and characters will cope with the loss of its knight in shining armor.

Scandal’s White House Press Secretary and husband of the Chief of Staff, James Novak, was also murdered in a recent episode. Shot by Jake of B613, the end of one week’s episode showed Jake holding a gun pointed at James and David. However, fans had to wait a grueling week to see which man would be dead in the subsequent episode. One of the most fun-loving spirits in such a serious show, the excruciatingly long and painful death of James caused quite a buzz on social media.

The real question behind all of these TV deaths is: why? Why are they all occurring at the same time? Can the fans handle it? Social media tells us how the viewers are feeling, but only time will tell if these shows can survive the premature deaths of their main men and leading ladies.

ABC’s Scandal’s Use of Social Media Holds Over Restless Fans, as the Show’s Return is Finally Within Reach

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One of the most talked about shows on Television, ABC’s “Scandal,” has been using various social media platforms to promote its return this Thursday, February 27 at 10PM.  This show’s Facebook page, with nearly 2 million likes and almost 250,000 people talking about it, has used a variety of activations to excite its many loyal fans. Active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Scandal’s integrated marketing communications approach maintains a coordinated front on all platforms.

The end of the last episode left viewers hungry for the next episode, with exhilarating drama erupting in the final minutes.  The return and mystery surrounding Olivia Pope’s mother, Vice President Sally Langston’s murder of her husband, and the ever-blooming romance between Olivia Pope and Fitz have left fans restless throughout the show’s winter hiatus. Yet many of them are grateful for the show’s social media presence being used to hold them over.

Even during the show’s break, Scandal has been maintaining fans high level of excitement by posting daily updates. Sharing videos of the official trailer and other sneak peaks on the show’s page, the promotion of the Pinterest account, and connecting fans with the cast members on a personal level—fans can wish the stars “Happy Birthday!” by liking the pictures posted—Scandal has created an interactive platform for fans on its Facebook, garnering thousands of likes for each and every post and update.

In the world of Twitter, Scandal has been even more present. With 438,000 followers, the account tweets pictures and uses hashtags such as #Gladiators, #Scandal, #ScandalThursdays, #WinterGladitors, and #CopeWithoutPope. The show is generating excitement and starting conversations among gladiator “wannabes”. By using the same pictures on its Twitter Feed and  Facebook, the integration and cohesiveness of this advertising push is reaping great success as it draws fans into the world of Scandal with visual appeal and exhilarating interaction:

On Pinterest, Scandal shares fans’ favorite quotes and other graphic representations of the inner-workings of Scandal’s intricate characters and plotlines.  In part due to the consistent reinforcement and spread of excitement surrounding the return of this masterpiece, viewership numbers of Scandal’s next episode will most likely be  sky-high, and as a fan, I personally cannot wait to see what Olivia Pope’s gladiators accomplish next.