High school. An overachieving girl. A popular varsity player. Cheesy songs played in between. The plot seemed all too familiar: the show must be High School Musical—except that it’s not. It’s actually Glee, a new television series from Fox that, at surface, looks and sounds a lot like that overly popular Disney made-for-television movie.
I didn’t think Glee was very different from HSM after watching its pilot episode. I only remember Ryan Seacrest plugging the show during the last episode of American Idol. I obviously didn’t have the means to watch it—until I got hold of through a video streaming website It had its weird moments and the characters can get one-dimensional… but how can anyone not get entertained with a show that features music performances from practically all genres?
Glee’s Television Performance
Okay, maybe a lot of people—eight episodes after, Glee isn’t exactly the cup of tea of Americans on a Wednesday night. Shows in the US are known for the tight competition they are subjected to. In its timeslot, Glee’s average rank ranges from fourth to fifth, with shows like Criminal Minds and Modern Family leading by at least 2 million. According to Nielsen, it currently ranks 29th among all primetime broadcast shows with viewers from 18 to 49. Given the unspectacular rating of the show, how does it manage to thrive? After all, its production must cost a lot more than regular US shows—rumors point to 3 million dollars an episode! Think about securing licensing each song, releasing a studio record of each, and even paying amazing talents like Lea Michele (ie the lead of the seminal musical Spring Awakening).
Again, how does it manage to thrive in the overly competitive US series arena, where advertisers consider the ratings foremost?
You guessed it right. The show is exploring an altogether (not-so) new battleground: new media.
Glee’s Musical Success Online
Four episodes into the show, Glee has surpassed the 1 million download mark. All of its songs are on the Top 200 downloads of iTunes, probably much to Columbia Records and Twentieth Century Fox’s euphoria—and relief.
This is not the only indicator of the show’s success in the new media landscape. Its promo clips, usually aired on Youtube, has an average of 200,000 hits—not to mention at least a hundred raving comments. A measure of its success online, also, would be Youtube artists’ covers of the hit songs from Glee, such as this one:
Glee’s Social Media Thrust
Broadcast media might not reflect the popularity of the show, given the fair ratings it has been receiving. It has officially invaded Facebook, with almost 600,000 fans lively joining in on the discussions started by the page’s status updates. A single update alone would have at least 500 comments. And, yes, that includes me. 😛
What makes Glee’s Facebook page a cut above the rest is the interesting ‘inside scoop’ on what’s up with the show. It even posts teaser photos of the show. Music performances of the show—in hi-def—can also be watched here.
That’s not the end of it, really. It also has a Twitter account—not just of the show, mind you, but of the characters themselves! Here’s one of the tweets of Coach Sylvester, the boyish coach of the cheerleading dance team: It’s a little known fact that @finniswin is functionally retarded. His very presence lowers the average IQ by 15 points. Mind you, she actually strikes conversations with people in Twitter! Glee also maintains a wiki site, where users can freely contribute content. One of the submenus says ‘100 Reasons to Watch Glee’ and a page fan fiction and fan posters.
Personally, I have never seen my social networking sites that convoluted with episodes of a US series—not even my original favorite, Desperate Housewives. 😉 Now, if you yourself honestly can’t get enough of the show, you better head on to the show’s fansite, You can even download podcasts about the show here.
Wouldn’t you want your favorite television show to speak the way Glee does? I’m glad mine does. 🙂