I’ve been an active part of TV fandom for over half my life now, so believe me when I say, I know what you go through when your favorite show gets cancelled. There are a few shows, including Fringe, Breaking In and the recently cancelled Witches of East End, for which I’ve joined your ranks in attempts to get just a little more of my beloved shows.
Here’s the thing: there are so many “save our show” campaigns nowadays. It seems like every time I get online, a new show has been cancelled and must at all costs be saved. That’s fine. It’s your right to fight for your shows, and if you really mean it, nothing anyone has to say to the contrary can stop you. But I’ve seen so many campaigns go wrong that I’d be remiss in not at least giving you some tips to make your campaigning more efficient and effective.
First, these are complicated, and the best numbers vary by network, time slot and show. But whenever a show’s numbers dip, I see posts on Tumblr asking people to watch live. The problem with that is it doesn’t work. Only people with Nielsen boxes are counted in those numbers, so if you have one or know someone who does, by all means watch live. If you don’t – and if you don’t know if you have one, you probably don’t – you should watch on demand or online if at all possible. Those numbers aren’t as important as Nielsen ratings because they’re much newer, but at least watching the episode will matter. And if you have an ad blocker on your computer, turn it off while watching. It’s the least you can do for your show, right?
This is actually a pretty effective method if you can organize the fandom. If you’re using a hashtag, make sure everyone knows what it is, and try to keep the number of hashtags you use per tweet to two or fewer. That makes it easier for Twitter to put your tweet in the collective hashtag. Tweet at the network, the show’s twitter page, the actors, the writers, etc. They may not all by able to do anything, but your voice is more likely to be heard that way. Finally, what’s important on Twitter is trending. This means a lot of tweets from a lot of people in the same hashtag. Remember not everyone is in the same time zone, but it typically helps if you tweet around the same time your show is on or would normally be on.
Sending Items to the Company
I think this one has fallen out of practice in recent years as social media has come to the fore, but Fringe had a sending items campaign, which was semi-recent. Okay, here’s the deal. I really doubt this works. It might bring some attention to your show, but it probably won’t do much. Plus, it only makes sense for shows that have already run for multiple seasons so that the fandom has something to send that represents the show. If you can organize it and you want to, go for it but know there are other more effective ways to help your show.
This is a hard one, I know it is, and I also know that all you want is your show back on your television screen every week like it used to be. But that’s not going to happen for every show. I’m sorry to say it, but it just isn’t. Shows get cancelled all the time, most before they even make it to air, and while everyone is interested in making their show the next Firefly or Veronica Mars with movies made and everything, that isn’t going to happen for most shows. If your show has run for several seasons already, maybe one of the new companies like Netflix or Yahoo might pick it up. If it hasn’t, the best you might get is a DVD box set. Campaigning is a time fraught with emotion, but you can help yourself by easing up on your demands. A box set is easier than making more episodes, and if you drum up attention, you just might get those DVDs. Hey, it’s better than nothing.
Above all, this is the best tip I can give you. If this is a show that matters to you, do whatever you can to keep it alive in cultural consciousness. There will be naysayers, but keep going. The big secret is your campaigns are working. Companies are listening to the tweets and the ratings and what others may see as your “constant whining.” Community recently got picked up for a sixth season by Yahoo, and even more recently, Longmire got a fourth season through Netflix. Shows that last a whole season typically get a DVD box set now, which wasn’t the case not so long ago.
If you love this show, whatever show it is, I guarantee you someone else loves it too. Join your voices together, and something could happen. For instance, you might just get to see the rest of your show air on Hulu like my beloved, cancelled-too-soon Selfie. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but there’s a huge shift in television going on right now. And believe me when I say you can make a difference.