Without an Aftershow, What Would Fans Do?

By Karen Fratti 

As most television marketers focus on gathering a fan community around a show, the “aftershow” is becoming a necessary accessory for any new hit programming. It’s almost a chicken-egg situation — do shows like The Walking Dead or The Bachelor have aftershows because of their dedicated social media following and fan base or does Bachelor Nation exist because there is an aftershow?

We may never know. Two shows that already have a cult-like following—BBC America’s Orphan Black and HBO’s Game of Thrones are getting aftershows this season. Orphan Black’ after show, After the Black, hosted by Ajay Fry, Morgan Hoffman and Teddy Wilson, will be a half hour panel discussion but the real draw for viewers will be the weekly airing of an exclusive sneak peek at the following episode.

HBO seems to see another route for its Game of Thrones aftershow, though the name is similar. After the Thrones will be hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, and will only be available on HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO On Demand. That barrier to viewing follows the same pattern as HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher aftershow, in which he holds an extra discussion with his guests, available only on its digital platforms. Instead of keeping viewers up to date, it’s more about driving them to other corners of their properties—forcing the hardcore fan who don’t have a subscription to sign up. But won’t most hardcore fans already have one?

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Lest you doubt the power of the aftershow, note that AMC’s Talking Dead repeatedly shows up on the Nielsen Social ratings for Sunday nights. Just this past Sunday, the aftershow took the fifth spot with 52,000 tweets by 98,000 authors. The Walking Dead was in the second spot Sunday. There was a also a cliffhanger, which usually drives more social traffic during an aftershow. ABC’s The Bachelor’s aftershow, Bachelor Live,  also drives social traffic on big, dramatic nights. Both of those, though, air directly after the broadcast, on television. Who knows if HBO fans will go the extra mile and fire up their apps to gush about the latest happenings in Wistero.

In either case, it’s not a bad way to get eyeballs.