EW Editor Matt Bean Previews the ‘Fall TV Preview’ Issue

Chelsea Handler has not done many print interviews since ending her E! show. But one of them can be found in the “Streaming” section of Entertainment Weekly‘s 2014 “Fall TV Preview” double issue, on newsstands today.

Handler shares at least one scoop about her upcoming 2016 Netflix talk show as she answers “Five Questions” about her October 10 one-hour stand-up special for the website, Uganda Be Kidding Me. The “Streaming” section also highlights Jeffrey Tambor‘s Amazon show Transparent, Season Two of Amazon’s political drama Alpha House and the AOL series Making a Scene with James Franco.


“Streaming is more important than it’s ever been,” EW editor Matt Bean tells FishbowlNY via telephone. “The quality and caliber of the programs on streaming outlets cannot be not ignored. Our readers, even more so than with TV, need a guide to that kind of content because it comes at you so quickly. And in many cases, at such a phenomenal volume.”

“I think James Franco is one of the most fascinating actors in the business right now,” he continues. “He just tries things. We’ll have to see how he does with this [AOL] project, but it’s certainly like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

The annual “Fall TV Preview” issue remains one of Entertainment Weekly‘s biggest. In-house research shows that 92% of readers decide to watch at least one program based on the issue’s content. Many will also keep the issue by the remote or TV for months to come.

MattBeanEW“I used to work at Sports Illustrated, and I’ve had people emailing me from there who are so ecstatic that this issue is finally on the stands,” says Bean (pictured). “Because they use it to set their DVR. And among consumers, it’s ranked number one in terms of issue satisfaction, based on market research that we’ve performed.”

“It’s never been more important for something like this, because there’s been this explosion of TV programming,” he adds. “You can do it on your TV, your Smartphone. It comes through Amazon, Netflix. You can get it on Roku, YouTube. It pretty much comes everywhere except your house plants right now.”

“Executive editor Meeta Agrawal was the vision behind this year’s Fall TV issue and deserves all the credit for corralling coverage on the 125 shows we write about this time around.”

The “Fall TV Preview” follows the magazine’s Primetime Emmys coverage, also known this year as “Snub Fest 2014.” Under Bean’s watch, which began in March, there was one major new component.

“For us, the most significant change this year with the Emmys was just how robust our Facebook strategy was and how it paid off,” he reveals. “We hired a brand new team, led by Eric Goeres, our director of innovation, and Chris Rackliffe, who’s our senior social media editor. We’re up something like 250% on Facebook. When you have an event like the Emmys, where people are using as a second screen Facebook and Twitter, having a major presence in those arenas is incredibly important.”


Looking ahead, Bean points to several other critical magazine and website components.

“One of the things we’re so excited about is the “Binge” section, which is starting to appear in the magazine in various forms,” he explains. “Most recently as the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary binge. In the very issue that we’re talking about.”

“For me, that’s a big brand and one we’re going to be doing a lot with in the coming months,” Bean adds. “We’re also going into our 25th anniversary, so we’re spending a lot of time planning that out.”

Bean held his first meeting on Wednesday about EW‘s forthcoming redesign. And there is going to be, before that, another major addition to the brand’s website.

“I was a big, big advocate of long-form journalism at Sports Illustrated, and even before that,” Bean says. “I’ve hired a whole long-form team and we’ll be coming out with our first long-form piece very soon.”

[Bean photo credit: Miller Mobley]

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.