The WIT Analysis: CBS


CBS’s Murphy Brown revival generated the greatest social media interest among the network’s 2018-19 shows unveiled last week, The WIT reports.

From Warner Bros. Television, the series reunites most of the original cast, led by Candice Bergen. Coming back some two decades since it wrapped a ten-year run on CBS, the Thursday night comedy places its veteran investigative journalist in the new world order of 24-hour cable, social media and fake news. The trailer on the official Facebook page and CBS’s YouTube playlist (geo-blocked in the U.S.) generated 3.8 million views. Conversation level was moderate, at 2,800 tweets over the week with the official hashtag.

“The online audience is in for the revival of the comedy series, remembering nostalgically the excellent quality of the original ten seasons, and expressing a curiosity for Bergen’s fresh take on the state of the nation in 2018,” says The WIT’s Caroline Servy. “On the negative side, although some wonder if the list of classic reboots will ever end, the main deal-breaker is political, as a share of the audience is declaring itself not interested in ‘another Trump bashing show’—and will probably stick with Roseanne.”

The second most-viewed trailer for CBS is NBCUniversal’s Magnum P.I. reboot, slated for Monday nights in a competitive slot where it’s up against Dancing with the Stars, The Voice and 9-1-1. The Hawaii-set drama stars Jay Fernandez as a mustache-free Thomas Magnum and Perdita Weeks as a female Higgins and hails from Peter Lenkov, who rebooted Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver. The trailer counts with some 3.5 million views and the show has attracted 14,800 Facebook fans as of May 23.

“People have many different feelings about the reboot after watching the trailer, beginning with the commonly shared view that nobody can replace Tom Selleck,” says Servy, noting that the casting of a Hispanic actor in the lead role also generated online commentary. Some viewers wish there had been a connection to the original, such as centering the series on Magnum’s daughter. “Many people fear this will be a rather generic action-filled series,” Servy explains. “However the good-looking trailer, high budget and production values have resulted in some excitement.”

Rounding out the top three buzz-worthy shows for CBS is Greg Berlanti’s dramedy God Friended Me, which has been scheduled in a Sunday 8 p.m. slot. Brandon Micheal Hall (of the recently canceled The Mayor) stars as an outspoken atheist who receives a friend request on social media from God. The trailer had 413,000 views and the show has 3,200 Facebook fans as of May 23.

“The conversations so far revolve essentially about the point of making such as show,” and many of the comments are more about religion than about the show itself. “Beyond such debate are those who call the premise a bit quirky but cute and intriguing, and will give the show a chance.”

For more on the U.S. network and studio lineups, visit World Screen’s Fall Season Grid here.