Why some good shows fail

I write this post after learning that a show that I watch and is in its first season has not been renewed for a second season by Fox. The show is called Traffic Light and is a good sitcom about three couples, each of them at a different phase in their relationship. Although I’m sure that if enough people would know about the show and watched an episode it would have done much better in the ratings and likely would have been picked up for another season. Unfortunately, two main factors contributed to this show not succeeding.

First of all, the title Traffic Light is not a great name for the show. It’s the type of title that makes you have to think about how it’s connected to the show (three different lights, three different relationship statuses). To me it sounds like the title of a reality show based in the control centre for a major city’s traffic lights operation. This could not be further from the truth and in fact, none of the characters on the show have anything to do with it in any way. This is not the first time that a title for a show only confuses people instead of giving them some idea of what the show is about.

The second and far more important factor for this and other shows’ demise is marketing. There was very little marketing leading up to the première of this show and everyone that I talked to about this show had never heard of it before. Marketing plays a critical role in a shows early success or failure. Fox simply either did not put enough money in the marketing of this show or did not do a good enough job about utilizing the marketing budget. The result is a funny, smart and entertaining show that should be a staple in Fox’s Tuesday night line up for years to come but is instead destined to be forgotten by this fall. This happens too much on TV and even with some movies. The biggest surprise is that sometimes the studios are surprised with the result. There should be no surprise when the marketing effort fails.