The CW's new series Cult, may have bad timing. A piece over on Media Life Magazine took a quick peek at Cult and they made a few points about the show:
It's about a group of folks mimicking murders from a TV show they watch. It's dark and has dark promise. But...
There's already one "cult" show out there and its kicking butt, called The Following! Its lead-in program is Hart of Dixie, which is not the correct demographic for the show. It's up against NCIS: LA and White Collar in the same day/time slot. (Should that matter in this day and age of the VoD? Apparently enough so for it to be a concern.)
The concern being that this kind of series won't attract the younger viewers like many of its other shows do and this has advertisers worried.
The article also suggests it should have a better, possibly darker lead in show, like Nikita on Friday nights. Which seems to make sense.
But does the CW know what its doing or are they lobbing a pipe bomb in the pond in hopes of getting some fish? The series premieres tonight (Feb 19th) and stars Matt Davis, Jessica Lucas and a favorite actor of mine, Robert Knepper.
You might remember Matt Davis as Alaric from The Vampire Diaries, and Damages. Jessica Lucas from Melrose Place and Friends with Benefits. She can also be seen in the upcoming remake of Evil Dead. Knepper has been in SGU Stargate Universe, Heroes and I first took note of him in Fox's Prison Break.
As far as a grab at something, I think the CW may know what they're doing. Or are at least expecting a particular outcome. For one, the marketing is taking advantage of who created Cult, that being Rockne S. O'Bannon, who heralded such popular genre series such as Farscape and V.
But doom is being suggested or predicted by other media outlets. Time and time again, I've seen TV ratings reports that spin the numbers that the network gets as "dismal" numbers from The CW. And it seems like it's all doom and gloom for the network. But then again, that's a different type of spin/marketing by the reporting sources, as they hope to generate interest/shock so you go check out their report.
But I continually keep something in mind about this network:
A few years back I caught a piece where the execs from the network indicated they knew they had low-rated fare and were more-or-less fine with it. Their expectations weren't that dismal and knew that they would need to build an audience over time.
Case in point could be how many years has Supernatural been on the "renewal bubble," only to get renewed. (This year they had an early renewal notice!) And that's a decent show with a pretty hard core set of fans. And it seems that the network is loyal to their fans, as long as they can stay afloat with the advertisers, costs and what not for a show.
Case in point, again, is Supernatural. It came on the scene like gang busters but had some financial troubles after the first few seasons. Then they scaled back on the grandiose technique of how they filmed going to a single camera method. They scaled back the writing. They also scaled back the licensed classic rock tunes to save cash, and other little things. But the CW kept it on the air and now that gamble, and dedication to the fan base, has paid off as the show heads into its ninth season next year.
And they've continued to build up new franchise brands with a certain amount of patience that other networks either don't have or can't afford as they all compete with CBS.
This season, The CW has The Carrie Diaries, The Vampire Diaries (so not related to the Carrie thing), Hart of Dixie, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, Supernatural, 90210 (which somehow manages to hang around), Nikita and a few others. And some of these shows are starting to bring in TV rating records for the network, as they break their own records set by previous other series.
So as shows grow and advertisers are taking note, they can start attracting other creative talent to generate bigger and better shows. (You need the advertisers to have the money or they can't make what they make. For some, this is considered the necessary evil.)
Now whether Cult lasts or not is an interesting inquiry. I'm not sure it will. It's time slot is a nasty one. It has a poor lead in show (for the right demographic), it's not alone in the Cult focus thing and so forth and what not.
But it done right, it could hit it off. It just needs time for that slow burn affect to kick in, like some of The CW's other shows.
Did you know that The CW is the younger sibling to CBS? It's a jointly owned network between CBS, the now defunct UPN and Time Warner. CW comes from CBS and Warner Bros..) Warner Bros. is the parent company of Time Warner. The network landed with a splash in its opening with America's Next Top Model, and it went from there.