Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, talks a lot about how “passionate” viewers are for "Once Upon A Time," "Revenge," "Shark Tank” and other ABC shows.
So the network went to a few select producers, he says, and gave them essentially free reign to do their most “passionate” projects.
During ABC’s upfront presentation, for example, producer John Ridley talked about the creative freedom he has with his new show "American Crime."
To listen to other producers, this hands-off approach has been in part how HBO has worked for many years – resulting in great successes such as “Game of Thrones,” "True Blood" and others. At the same time, HBO hasn't been immune to failures.
David Fincher, executive producer/director of “House of Cards,” might crow about getting the same freedoms from Netflix.
This trend is good news for creative people, even considering the obvious differences and rules about content on pay networks as opposed to broadcast networks.
Creative freedom for producers allows viewers to enjoy shows with distinct individual voices, rather than having programs watered down by disparate added “notes” from a bunch of TV executives.
But even with great creativity in content, you still need great creativity in marketing -- especially in this era of growing media choice. Programming executives can only hope there is equal “passion” about the marketing. ABC's “Scandal” stars showed some of this passion with their dips into social media.
The downside: Though some studies suggest social media is a valuable tool for some portions of the TV business, other studies say it doesn’t necessarily drive viewers to the screen.
Experimentation will be the key. But meanwhile, cheer creative freedoms -- no matter where they come from.