Original Series Pitch for Newhouse TRF ClassPresentation Transcript
Jack and Jill Sundays from 9 PM to 10 PM Chris Butler, Caroline Corcoran, Anna Germanidi, Matt Orenstein and Yuxi Wang
Project Objective and Overview
To create a program concept for a signature series to enhance the programming of a specific cable/broadcast network.
To profile the target audience in terms of demographics and other characteristics by way of a focus group.
To analyze and report the subsequent research.
Jack and Jill: An HBO Original Series
The show centers around two characters, Jack and Jill, and their relationship over the span of approximately twenty years.
Each episode takes place during a certain point in time, revealing something new about Jack and Jill’s relationship. Although there is a continuous story arc, the episodes do not take place chronologically.
While each episode serves to depict a point in time where Jack and Jill may or may not be together romantically or geographically, a world event serves as the backdrop for each episode, by some means affecting the trajectory of Jack and Jill’s relationship for better or worse.
Upon meeting in one of their undergraduate classes at the University of Michigan, Jack and Jill spark a romantic relationship, unbeknownst to one another, that will unfold tumultuously over the course of twenty years in the wake of world events that will affect the trajectory of their relationship for better or worse.
As history plays out and the global political landscape evolves, so does Jack and Jill's relationship. As Jack moves from internships in New York and Washington to diplomatic aide-ships overseas, Jill takes the broadcast journalism route, traveling the world as a news correspondent with little time for relationships or commitment.
Wherever they are and although they may not be together (and even sometimes in other relationships), Jack and Jill are always in each other's thoughts as the constant clash of coincidence versus fate will determine their future as the world turns.
Potential Timeline and Examples of Historical Events
meets = Jack and Jill With traces of the ambiguous romantic trajectory found in How I Met Your Mother … Flashbacks akin to those in.. The college experience explored in.. The exploration of socio-political events as in .. meets
Jack (Colin Hanks)
Jill (Jenna Fischer)
HBO: 28.5 million subscribers
Netflix: 23.6 million subscribers
Showtime: 18.2 million subscribers
Starz: 17.3 million subscribers
One-hour original dramatic series:
HBO: True Blood , Treme , Boardwalk Empire , Game of Thrones and Luck (Fall 2011)
Netflix: House of Cards (2011)
Showtime: Dexter , Shameless and The Borgias
Starz: Spartacus: Blood and Sand , Camelot , Torchwood (July 2011), Magic City (2012) and Boss (TBD)
Potential Sunday Night Competition
Jack and Jill versus…
Jack and Jill will air Sundays from 9:00PM to 10:00PM and attempt to win its hour in the crucial 18-49 demographic.
The show will also be made available through HBO GO, the network’s Internet streaming service which will allow HBO subscribers to enjoy Jack and Jill on-demand and on the go – reaching the widest possible audience through both traditional and non-traditional mediums.
Method: Pilot Test
Compiled focus group guide with basic info about the show and the casting, a preemptive questionnaire and key questions to ask.
Pilot tested the guide with two female Newhouse grad students who were HBO viewers and fell into our target demo.
We revised our focus group guide based on the information that we gathered from the pilot testing.
Method: Focus Group
We conducted 2 focus groups with 14 subjects in total, 10 female and 4 male.
Subjects were college students, ranging from undergraduate to PhD students.
They were recruited by email as well as announcements in classes by the group members.
The subjects had to be HBO viewers in order to participate.
Method: Process and Questions
First, subjects were asked to complete a consent form and a preemptive questionnaire with basic demographic information and questions about their habits in watching TV in general and HBO in specific.
Then they were shown a PowerPoint with basic info about the show and its structure, as well as its proposed casting.
Some of the key questions were relevant to:
What they liked and what they didn‘t like about the show…
How they felt about the proposed casting…
How much they identified with the characters…
How they felt about the nonlinear structure…
Which historic events they would like to see…
If and how they would watch the show regularly…
Focus Group #1:
Group members were generally positive with reservations…
Historical events were a big draw-in.
Interest in tone and character development.
“ I like it as a timeline of historical events because it kind of reminds me of Forrest Gump which I think has such a wide appeal because you learn about things in history class and they ’ re boring and then seeing a story makes it real. So I love that about it because I think it ’ s fun and it ’ s not done too often. I didn ’ t think about what I disliked yet, but you can come back to me. ”
Focus Group #1:
Non-linear story structure not well-received…
Desire for a “ thread. ”
“ I feel like what you need is a thread at the beginning of the episode… where it is in the present day. I think that might also help build a rapport between the characters, because it might get a little confusing if, because it ’ s non-linear, if you don ’ t see it develop over time, the relationships between the characters might be completely different every episode and you don ’ t see that build. I know when I watch shows that I like, I like knowing what the interaction between some characters is going to be. I think your audience might not get that . ”
Focus Group #1:
Paralleling historical events and events of their relationship
Concern about how certain events would be handle
“ You ’ d have to really be careful around things like the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, because they ’ re too emotional and they ’ re a little too close unless you really have the right one. ”
“ Have you thought about doing some known international events? ”
Discussion and Conclusion
Show’s premise fits HBO’s programming
Not interested in certain historical events (9/11)
Interest but issues:
Jack as Diplomatic Aide
Time-line: Interested in both current events & older events to inform younger generations.
Limitations and Future Steps
Lower end of the target demo regarding age
Media Student Discourse
Time of Day
Sample size and Frequency
Definition of “historical events”
Difficult to pitch non-linear events with linear love story without a clip or pilot.