How TV keeps audiences in their seats . . . could we?

I guess it was The Bachelor or The Bachelorette or one of those “non-scripted” (ahem!) reality shows that started it.

But it’s now a thing.

I’m talking about The Post-Show Show.  Come on, you know what I mean (I bet a ton of you even tune in).  You watch the episode of said television show.  And then, when it’s over, before the credits even roll, a 2nd show begins, which consists of people talking about the show you just saw.  Sometimes there are cast members, inside scoop, spoilers and more.  That’s The Post-Show Show.

And it’s now a big thing.

Because it’s not just the dating shows doing it anymore.

The Walking Dead has Talking Dead.  Monday night’s episode of Better Call Saul followed up with Talking Saul.  And one of the earliest Post-Show Shows was After The Catch (which shot the fishin’ boat captains from The Deadliest Catch talking about the ones that did and didn’t get away).

The idea of The P.S.S. was genius.

See, networks are like casinos.  They don’t want you to sit down for just one or two hands and then run off . . . maybe to another casino.  They want you to settle in and stay for the night.

So if a network is getting big, fat ratings with one show, what’s the best way to keep those viewers from picking up that remote?  Offer ’em “exclusive” content about that same show.  Sure, you’ll lose some viewers, but the avids will become even more rabid as a result.  (And let’s not even talk about how cheap it is to produce The P.S.S.)

Or, to put it in Deadliest Catch phraseology, if you’ve got ’em on the hook, dig the hook in deeper.

Obviously, the theater has a bit of a different model.  We’re not looking for them to sit around and see more ads.  We’re hoping that they get so excited about what they just saw that they tell their friends (which was one of the points in yesterday’s blog as well).

But the concept is correct . . . so what could Broadway or any theater anywhere do to keep their audiences engaged?

  • Forget “Tuesday Talkbacks” or random talkbacks only as a promotional tool.  Should a talkback happen after each and every performance?
  • Could you partner with a restaurant around the corner for a post-show “drink & discuss?”
  • What about delivering a post-show podcast via email as each theatergoer left the building that they could listen to on their way home with “secrets of the show?”

I’m sure you can come up with a whole bunch of better ideas.

And you should.  Because the moment the curtain comes down, you’ve got your audience on the hook.  And now it’s your job to prevent them from wrigglin’ away.  If you don’t, well, you can bet your bippy that there’s another show fishing for that same audience nearby.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.