The CW has plastered "OMFG" all over their latest Gossip Girl releases. As in, "OMFG! CW Pulls Gossip Girl Streaming!"
As you may have already had to explain to your kids (or had them explain to you), OMFG stands for "Oh My F***ing God," which is pretty profane even for the Godless world of network television. What's next? "Holy S***--House Is Back!" "F*** Me--Brand New Episodes Of Brothers & Sisters!" "Listen Up, C***sucker--Bones Is Back!"
Religious groups in the States, along with the conservative watchdog group the Parents Television Council, have started to take offense at the salacious ad campaign--which is the kind of publicity The CW is probably counting on. If Gossip Girl was a Canadian show, the Rev. Charles McVety would be demanding it lose its tax credits. (As it is it has a Canadian show runner, Stephanie Savage, who will be a guest at the Banff TV Festival this June.) He'd especially say that if he saw the on-air marketing campaign, which makes Gossip Girl look more like "Young People Fucking" than "Young People Fucking":
All this for a series that by any measure is one of the biggest flops in TV history. Gossip Girl barely averages 2 million viewers a week in a country of 300 million. In repeats the week of April 7-13, it ranked 12th among CW shows--like being the 12th highest scorer among the Toronto Maple Leafs--with 1.18 million viewers. It would have trouble cracking the Canadian Top-20 with that number.
CTV was bamboozled by this thing last September, plastering it all over its IFFU ("Ivan Fecan F*** You") wrap-a-round billboard opposite the CBC building in Toronto. After its DOA debut, CTV quickly got wise and dumped it out of its original timeslot, shuffling it off to early prime. (The "hot" new episodes aren't even on CTV's schedule next week.) Images of the Comedy Network's Extras quickly went up opposite the CBC bunker.
So Gossip Girl a red hot hit? LOL. In fact, LOFL. Yet it continues to get referenced as "buzz worthy" on hyperventilating tabloid TV shows like eTalk and Entertainment Tonight. The CW argues that it is a sensation if not a ratings hit and it does rank as one of the most downloaded shows on itunes and in Internet streaming. Still, not a lot of glory or ad money yet in outdrawing Britney Girl. As a TV show, Gossip Girl is still just all talk.
That hasn't stopped The CW in re-upping it for next season. When you've had the kind of year The CW has, you might grasp at anything, too. This season, for example, The CW is down an alarming 38% among its core audience of 12-24-year-olds. OMFG!!
The problem with Gossip Girl is that kids just aren't buying it. You can't tell young adults what the next cool thing is, they have to discover it. Gossip Girl is just a bunch of O.C.-cloned actors playing rich kids running around texting each other on Blackberrys. Who thought that was entertaining?
In an effort to pull this thing out of the ditch, the final five episodes, if the promo clips are to be believed, are just wall-to-wall porn. Hey, sex sells, but every other scripted series is back on Monday nights, too. Besides, people looking for their generic skank fix are already glued to The Hills.
Bottom line, Gossip Girl proves no amount of marketing can turn S*** into gold. LOFL!!