When TV times are tough, the TV answer is to find brands that work, usually ones that have a historical brand equity value. And not just on network or even cable TV, but with new technologies.
"The Streets of San Francisco" and "Hawaii Five-O" are just some of the names being floated around by networks for future projects. CBS will look to revive the two TV series. Going back to last year, you can throw in NBC's "Knight Rider" in the mix.
Now new local TV station-based digital signal networks, like Retro Television, are becoming the haven of the likes of "The Lone Ranger," "McHale's Navy" and "The Addams Family." And, of course, there are a number of Internet-based sites from a number of movie/TV studios.
Mind you this is not all to get older viewers who used to watch the originals. It's the younger generation, who may have heard about these classic entertainment brands and are curious enough to take a look-see.
And that's all that marketers want. Just a little bit of daylight. Typically, these shows have just a same cover for their very different books: cop shows, sci-fi shows, and a talking technological car. NBC's "Bionic Woman? No, that didn't work as an ongoing series. But it did grab an initial audience. Fox's "Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles"? That show did both.
Going forward, you wonder where this is all going. More retro brands? Fewer? All this seems sort of arbitrary, especially since many of these new series seemed to have very little to do with the original premise, the period, or the casting. You can look at CBS and say all it is doing is more of the same: procedural crime dramas
Consumer product marketers understand this, especially with more than a few companies looking to take forgotten food and consumer products brands (with still some brand equity), slap a new face on it, and start selling. As with TV, wherever there is some emotional attachment, there can be some consumer money that goes along with it.
Of course, nowadays just any TV brand name, old or new, isn't enough to make things fly -- not with the likes of ComicCon on the rise and lightening-fast digital guerilla marketing ready to pounce.
There is little downside. (Okay, maybe those $5 million pilot episodes get expensive). The truth is that it's harder and harder to get sampling. Viewers who are wistful over "F Troop" or "Delvecchio" are still valuable core consumers that TV executives can least afford to neglect.