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SCANDAL: Why I Think ABC Made A HUGE Mistake

I always thought the phrase “cult following” was over used when it comes to television shows. But I must say that ABC’s Scandal has earned the title in spades. Its been a long time since I have been this utterly addicted to a show. In case you missed it, I’m a HUGE (and by huge I mean massive) TV and Film junkie. And it’s that fact that makes me a particularly demanding viewer to satisfy.

ABC GOT IT RIGHT!

This show has everything you would expect in a box office smash, except its all packed into a one hour episode — every week. Its the first show in years that I haven’t left marinating on my DVR until I had time to get around to it. But Scandal has changed the game in more ways than I one. Here’s a short list:

* The cult following swarms social media for at least 24 hours. Then the internet is all a buzz ruining any chance you have of being surprised when if you decide to “watch it later.”
* The Twitter parties and Watch parties alone create a distinctly united community that makes you proud to be an American (note to the US Congress).
* Judy Smith (the real life Olivia Pope) is almost as dynamic as her TV character (no offense intended to Judy, Hollywood just always sensationalizes things).
* The fashion, quick exchange dialogue and cinematography are all cutting edge and of the industry trendsetting sort.

I could go on, but my entire point has been that this show is a bonafide hit and millions of us LOVE it.

WHAT ABC GOT WRONG!

Enter the mid -season 3-peat fiasco: When the show started back up in January, I was expecting it to go non-stop until the season finale. When they aired a repeat sometime in January or February, I was slightly annoyed. But then there came THREE weeks of back to back repeats. When my #PopeIsDope Twitter pack got wind of this, my timeline went crazy. I felt like I was the leader in an all out civil revolution! Folks were in shock, denial and totally confused. But the biggest question I got was “now what am I gonna do on Thursday nights?” Sure ABC tried to pacify us with an #AskScandal Twitter exchange, but that only worked with the novice watchers. Us hard core viewers were just pissed and bewildered.

I remember being agitated for DAYS thinking “How DARE they play with my emotions like this”!!! Yes, you can go ahead and laugh… after all this insanity WAS over a TV show. None the less, this was serious business for me. Several people tried to explain to me the viewing schedule and the mid season break and yada, yada, yada. I wasn’t trying to hear all that!! So when a new show aired last week, I found myself refusing to watch or live tweet (yes, I was pouting like a 5 year old). The show had lost its excitement and luster for me. I went to bed promptly at 10pm EST, leaving the show recording to my DVR.

scandal_cast

THE MISTAKE!

I feel that ABC under-estimated the power of this Scandal goldmine. They treated it like every other show, every other season. They don’t seem to understand that this show signifies a change in the appetite of the traditional viewer. The network seems un-prepared for the demands of today’s social media driven, ipad addicted cult following.

I believe the network giant foolishly decided to depend solely on audience addiction to assure that the masses would return when ever they decided to come back from “break”. Meanwhile viewers had a three weeks to get emotionally attached to other shows that had not even been on their radar. The mob is fickle… even a Scandal-hungry mob.

My 16 years of marketing experience have taught me to pay attention to trends. ABC did what they have done for years, with no back lash or fall out. But this time more “noisy folks” (like myself) noticed. We noticed because of all the things they did RIGHT with the show. We also noticed because for the first time an ABC show is right on par with an HBO or Showtime series. Those other networks have the good sense not to agitate viewers with unnecessary interruptions. Shux, even STARZ knows better than to interrupt the SPARTACUS feeding frenzy mid-season. Its important to consider the demands of the audience, and the trends point to changing demands.

Personally, I think its time that ABC considers changing its programming schedule or sell the show off to a network that truly understands its value and demand. Meanwhile I’m sure I will be back in the thick of things tonight, but I HAD to get this off my chest (I was about to BUST)!!

What did you do during the Scandal 3-peats? Leave a comment below or get at me on Twitter @JaiStone.

POST UPDATES:

After airing 2 new episodes on 4/3/13, ABC slipped in a preview that said “in 3 weeks”.  Yall know my timeline went crazy again.  That makes 7 weeks total we have been robbed of. What kind of haphazard bullshit is this??!!  And apparently Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes is catching flack.  One of my fans spotted this tweet from Shonda Rhimes on 4/5/13

Another avid watcher tweeted this:

Wait…they get better:

Even the fellas got in on the action

MORE UPDATES 4/10/13:

While it seems I was among the first to protest, more and more folks are joining the battle.  T.R. Mason of Tallahassee, Florida has started a petition at Change.org – ABC Entertainment: STOP PUTTING SCANDAL ON HIATUS – PICK UP MORE EPISODES. Mason specifically calls out Anne Sweeney of ABC  and she is getting media coverage on the issue from media outlets like Sister 2 Sister Magazine and Clutch.

scandal_clutch

CLUTCH had this to say:

It might also be the reason “Scandal” is returning next April 25, the first day of this quarter’s sweeps.  A petition to persuade television executives to act against their own financial interests may not gain much traction outside of the internet. At least gladiators are expressing their discontent for the lengthy hiatuses. I guess that counts for more than the side-eye most of us are giving.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Jai Stone

Jai Stone

Jai Stone, is often referred to as the Emotional Nudist. A phrase that defines her brand of authentic living. With nearly 20 years in the marketing industry Jai has become a well respected social media expert and is also the founder of the Black Love Forum Movement.