Those Terra Nova promotional posters we shared earlier mark the beginning of what is being labeled “an aggressive” marketing campaign by FOX, designed to get the show in front of as many relevant eyes as possible.
Below the jump we’ve posted the key statements from an LA Times article that includes comments from Team FOX.
Joe Early, FOX president of marketing acknowledges that the network has a lot riding on Terra Nova: “This is definitely one of our highest priorities for the fall.”
As noted by the LA Times, FOX hope that Terra Nova can capture a wide spectrum of the TV audience – “one that families will watch together. Such programs are increasingly rare on network television as the viewing audience has become very fragmented and there is a cable channel for seemingly every niche out there. Fox is gambling that “Terra Nova” can attract not only science fiction geeks and young males, but Mom and Dad too.”
Internally, FOX have dubbed Terra Nova: “Little House on the Prairie with Dinosaurs.” As we’ve noticed, they (and the producers) don’t like the show being referred to as a science fiction or genre show – preferring instead to describe it an “epic family drama.”
While there’s little doubt that Nova will be a ‘family drama’, there’s also little getting away from the fantastical genre elements. As noted by Tim Minear in a recent interview, “Trust me, TERRA NOVA is a genre show. It has time travel.”
That said, it’s obviously a strategy FOX are adopting. “If we can get people to buy into this family, then we have a shot,” admitted Preston Beckman, Fox’s head of scheduling. “If it’s dinosaur of the week, we’ll never have a shot.”
Which is fine by me. Packaging Nova as a family drama, as opposed to a sci-fi series, works because there’s dinosaurs and time-travel, and those things are clearly part of the show’s world (even if the time-travel takes a bit of a back seat post-pilot). As long as the character drama (sounds more credible to me than ‘family drama’, for some reason) is strong and compelling, then the show should have a good foundation and the description wont really matter.
What I find encouraging is that they don’t want to do a ‘Dino of the week’.
Beckman believes Nova‘s best chance in a crowded market is to be bold. Rather than hold the show back (even further!) to see how other shows perform first, he believes they have to swing for the prehistoric trees: “We don’t close our eyes and roll the dice. We think we’re doing it the right way. I’m a believer in getting shows on quickly,” he said. “I don’t think waiting has ever proven significantly to help a show.”
Beckman wouldn’t be drawn on what sort of ratings Nova will need to achieve to be considered a ‘success’, but he reckons “a good 40% will watch on some sort of delayed basis.”
FOX has already aired Terra Nova trailers in theatres during heavy-hitting movies like X-Men: First Class and Super 8. They also plan to do the same with the final Harry Potter movie and during FOX’s coverage of baseball’s All-Star game next month.
Early is aware that the show’s broad formula allows them to go for distinct viewer groups. “We can sell dinosaurs to one audience, time travel to another and a family drama to another.”
As for promotional images featuring the actual dinosaurs depicted in the series? “The T-Rex we all know and grew up with may not be correct. … We don’t want to market with the wrong dinosaurs,” Earley said.
Terra Nova chomps into FOX from Monday, September 26.