Reboot fever designed to solve peak TV's marketing problem

Don't look now, but the major TV networks are getting ready to party like it's 1989.The development process fo...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 4:29 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 4:29 PM

Don't look now, but the major TV networks are getting ready to party like it's 1989.

The development process for next season is still young, but the initial stages have produced a notable wave of reboots and revivals of familiar properties. CBS, for example, has ordered an update of "Murphy Brown," a program that premiered the same year as "Roseanne," in 1988, which will make its return in March on ABC.

Other pilots plucked from the revival bin -- some without "Murphy's" assurance of ever seeing the light of day, it's worth noting -- include new versions of "The Greatest American Hero" and "Cagney & Lacey" (which premiered in 1981), "Magnum P.I." (1980), "Party of Five" (1994) and "Charmed" (1998).

Why the frequent trips into the way-back machine, which has been a growing and consistent component of the TV landscape, including, among others, Netflix's "One Day at a Time" (which just began its second season), "Full House" and "Gilmore Girls" revivals?

While critics grouse about the lack of creativity such projects exhibit, developing them represents a content-driven solution to a marketing problem, one that recognizes changes in both the TV and journalistic ecosystems.

In an age of peak TV, networks are looking for any advantage they can find to help break through the clutter. Established titles offer a short-hand way of doing that, often even more so than big-name talent or arresting concepts.

Despite sniping on Twitter, journalists are also part of this process. Lacking the band-width to write about every new show, when even venerable newspapers have joined in the business of chasing web traffic, they're far more apt to devote time to projects that enjoy built-in name recognition.

Not so long ago, critics would review every new network series. Today, with so much content crying out for attention, more forgettable-sounding programs can easily fall through the cracks.

Take "A.P. Bio," a moderately amusing but mostly forgettable new NBC comedy premiering this week. Although the show stars "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" alum Glenn Howerton, it's not a given most outlets will herald its arrival, which will hardly be the case when "Roseanne" or "Murphy Brown" hits the air.

Reboots provide no assurance of success, obviously, but they have clearly enjoyed enough of it to justify gambling on them. CBS, with its older audience profile, has seen "Hawaii Five-O" and "MacGyver" become fixtures on its Friday lineup, even if the CW's "Dynasty" isn't exactly raking in the big bucks, and the latest run of Fox's "The X-Files" has been disappointing.

It's worth noting, too, that several of these prototypes largely just appropriate the title -- as a means of generating interest and sampling -- sometimes significantly changing the characters, including their race, gender or (in the case of "Greatest American Hero") both.

It's easy to mock networks for their apparent lack of creativity, in the same way critics have groaned about old TV series being transformed into movies, including artifacts like "Mission: Impossible," "21 Jump Street," "The A-Team" and (in one of last summer's bigger flops) "Baywatch."

Still, these projects are pandering to the media as much as the audience, identifying their shared weakness for titles that don't have to be sold from scratch.

So while it's easy to mock programmers for playing the equivalent of the same old song, the criticisms would have more weight if so many of us, one way or another, weren't dancing to some version of that tune.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Angola
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Van Wert
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Sunshine and warmer air return to round out the work week, but the warm-up is brief.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events