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When a long-running reality franchise needs a refresh to drive television ratings

When a long-running reality franchise needs a refresh to drive television ratings




Reality TV has become an undeniably critical part of the entertainment industry. However, as competition continues to proliferate, long-running reality franchises can have a hard time staying relevant, losing viewers and ratings.

For one network, recognizing the impact of competitive programs on their viewership, the need to drive television ratings on one of their long-running reality franchise was apparent. To find their way back to higher ratings, they sought a richer, more nuanced understanding of the emotional connection viewers had with their program over the course of its run.



Magid’s approach to testing the show included a longitudinal EmotionalDNA® (eDNA) analysis. The exploration illustrated that the audience was perceiving a drop in several key dimensions of the series, with viewers finding it less dramatic and more repetitive over time. Between 2014 and 2020, the show’s emotional score dropped from 28% to 19%.

While viewers found the program less dramatic and more repetitive, showrunners had actually incorporated more drama – featuring it in every episode when it was previously used sparingly. Its constant usage not only made the show repetitive, but left viewers feeling more desensitized and less impacted by the emotional beats.



» Longitudinal eDNA analysis
» Program Consulting



Magid recommended spacing out elements of drama with elements of levity, humor, and uplift to make the show more fun to watch. The network communicated these findings and recommendations to the show’s production team, who made impactful changes to the tone and plot of the show’s upcoming season.

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