Let me begin this post by saying that I do not like Glee. In fact, I hate it. But for some reason I am addicted to The Glee Project – a new performance competition reality show on Oxygen brought to you by the makers of…you guessed it.
With this new series, the makers of Glee have been able to appeal to a wider audience and build even more excitement about their brand (as though there wasn’t enough already). Since this program airs on Oxygen instead of Fox, viewers that may not have tuned in to the original show are now getting exposure to the brand.
In addition to appealing to a new audience with a reality show, the competition also appeals to the Gleeks of the world by providing an inside look behind the scenes. Here’s how the show works: each week there is a theme, and the contenders are given a homework assignment according to the theme. They all perform their homework assignment in front of Glee’s casting director, Robert Ulrich, and one popular cast member. The cast member then chooses a winner for that week’s assignment, and the winner receives one-on-one training with the cast member. Then, all of the cast members work with the vocal arranger and songwriter, Nikki Anders, in the recording studio, and the show’s choreographer, Zach Woodlee, to put together a music video that relates to that week’s theme.
After the music video, 3 contenders are chosen to perform a “last chance performance” for the director, Ryan Murphy. Murphy then selects one contender to go home. The winner of The Glee Project earns a 7-episode stint on Glee. The reasoning behind this is that the original cast of the show are seniors now, so Murphy needs to start writing in new cast members to take over the club once Rachel, Finn, and the gang graduate.
As you can see, everything about this new series is interwoven with the original series. This makes it easy for new fans to get involved in the original series, and makes it easy for die-hard fans to find interest in the new one. I would say that The Glee Project has mastered this delicate balance flawlessly.
The show leaves out all of the things that I hate about Glee (cheesy scripts, obnoxious characters, and an unrealistic depiction of high school), focuses mainly on the performance aspect of the show that I do like, while simultaneously including all of the things that Gleeks love (their favorite cast members, fun songs and dancing, and slushies to the face).
Since the winner of the show will be appearing on Glee, the chances that someone who has never watched the show on Fox, but followed The Glee Project on Oxygen, will tune in to watch the winner perform when the new season of the original show premiers this fall are pretty high. Will I tune in even if my favorite doesn’t win? Or, even if my favorite does win? The jury is still out on that one. But chances are that a lot of people will.
No matter who wins, fans are still able to vote online for their favorite contender to win the Bing Fan Favorite competition. The winner of that competition receives $10,000 and a live performance. This is another way that the show gets new and old fans involved in the show – it gives them a voice.
Glee is known for providing a voice to the underdogs. I’m here to do the same for you. Are you trying to expand your audience? If they can do it, so can you!
What do you think? Do you know of other brands that have done something similar? How about a brand that has tried, and failed?