Challenges 2 with Tricia Melton
Tricia Melton: One of the marketing challenges that I’ve had over the years was to bring a different type of show to a network that is already very well-known for one thing. TNT, it’s a network for drama but it was a network that was really well-known for crime procedurals. Things like The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, very high-rated but they draw very specific audience of women who like those types of shows and a little bit of the older side of the demo.
Tricia Melton: The network really needed to diversify the audience, interchange the perception that that’s not the only kind of drama that TNT provided. This is not a landscape where you have got a golden age of drama variety like Breaking Bad, you’ve got Game of Thrones you got really amazing dramas.
Tricia Melton: TNT which was branded, “We know drama,” was sort of losing the perception game. We went and partnered with Frank Darabont, the creator of The Walking Dead. We went to production for this amazing show called Mob City.
Tricia Melton: It was war, it had John Bernthal from The Walking dead in it. It had all the right ingredients. It was beautifully shot. It did an amazing marketing campaign for this show. It was beautiful, still to this day, it was one that I am personally proud of what a great campaign this was.
Tricia Melton: Premiere of the show, to crickets, crickets. It did not do well at all. In the television landscape, it was pretty much fail. The learning there was— and it was definitely learning, you can’t just flip the switch. You can’t just create a show and put it on a network that has an audience of women who like a very specific type of light and frothy crime procedurals, where there is a beginning a middle and an end. Bad guys get caught, the story closes up nicely and it is called episodic. Closes up very nicely every week and then create this very, very different war, gritty period drama and expect that they are just going to change their taste.
Tricia Melton: The learning was, we had research that was telling us this. We were obviously using a lot of consumer research, digitally, focused groups and dial testing. We had research that we knew this was not appealing to the audience that we had.
Tricia Melton: The belief was we will be able to get them then. The learning in that was, listen to your gut. Listen to the research when it is telling you what you do not want to hear. You cannot fit a square peg in a round hole. I do not care how good the packaging on the square peg is.