ABC’s Winning Thursday Nights, But For How Long?

By Karen Fratti 

SpreadfastNow that the networks have rolled out their new fall television lineups and the critics have had their say, ’tis the season to start measuring the social chatter surrounding them. Spredfast, a social marketing platform, has released their own analysis of which major network programming has garnered the most attention and how.

In a comparative study of the 15 new scripted shows on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX, they found that — drumroll, please — ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” and FOX’s “Gotham” have created the most social buzz over the past two weeks. Both shows, Spredfast concludes, were able to live to to their hype because of one key factor: both shows had a ready fan-base, with “Gotham” being an extension of the “Batman” franchise and “How to Get Away Murder” had fans waiting with itchy fingers to live-tweet the newest Shondaland product.

“How to Get Away With Murder” had 398,000 mentions in its first week. According to the report:

With a strong lead-in from perennial Shondaland favorites “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”, it’s no surprise that Thursday night’s newest favorite show reflected both strong ratings and a ton of Twitter buzz. “Gotham”, a new crime drama featuring a cast of villains from DC Comics’ Batman franchise, was a close second, garnering 350,000 mentions on Twitter in its premiere week. Among comedy programs, ABC’s “Black-ish” was the standout hit in social buzz, reaching 126,000 mentions.

Overall, ABC’s marketing was fundamental in prepping the Twitterati. With their #TGIT campaign, it was easy for fans to latch on and hang around until the 10pm ET slot. Spredfast’s report concludes, “of the 211,000 Tweets mentioning #TGIT on the day of the premiere, more than half (57%) of mentions were driven by fan retweets.”

spredfast tv graph

The most retweeted #TGIT tweet (say that ten times fast) came from the network itself. “Grey’s Anatomy,” the least popular show on Thursday’s line-up, tweeted a tune-in reminder.

Spredfast also writes that while #TGIT was successful, it was “Scandal” fans that ruled the conversation around it, proving that “if you want passionate fans to talk, give them something relevant to talk about.”

But that was just the first week. While the major networks are still in the game, its the CW that’s worth watching. The premiere of “The Vampire Diaries” on Thursdays and its new program “Flash” and “Supernatural” on Tuesdays are starting social conversations, too:

But in week 2 (10/2) the premiere of The Vampire Diaries on the CW gave ABC a run for its money, with ABC and the CW achieving 364,000 and 217,000 mentions respectively.  In week 3 (10/9), ABC only dropped a slight amount to 338,000 mentions, while the CW dropped 50% to 108,000  mentions.

We’ll check in throughout the season to see if the CW’s vampires will beat ABC’s gladiators on Thursday nights.