There's a lot riding on "Modern Family," which the network
acquired in 2010 after its freshman season on ABC for a reported
$1.4 million per episode. It premieres on USA Sept. 24. It will air
five nights per week in prime time and serve as a platform for USA
to launch its own original comedies.
The network estimates there's only 8% duplication of its
audience and "Modern Family's" on ABC, and Ms. Shapiro said there's
a significant opportunity to attract a chunk of the about 10
million people who watch the sitcom on broadcast. There's reason to
be encouraged. "The Big Bang Theory" on TBS regularly pulls 3
million viewers in prime time, and during one week in April, seven
reruns of "Big Bang" were among the top 40 cable TV shows.
While "Modern Family" has a respectable social presence, it
doesn't generate the same buzz as other TV hits of its size, Ms.
Shapiro said. This is something she is looking to change.
"There are limitations ... when you only have it on for a half
hour a week," she said. "We think there is the opportunity when it
comes on USA with the increase in frequency ... that gives us the
ability to socially enable and super-charge this in a way you could
never do on a broadcast platform."
USA is ripping a page from its "Psych" playbook (whose super
fans are "Psychos"). In March, "Psych" allowed viewers to vote on
an alternate ending for its 100th episode. The campaign generated
166,000 social mentions and 13 trending hashtags; in comparison,
"Modern Family" averaged 43,000 social interactions in 2013,
according to Trendrr.
The network will feature Mofys in a series of tell-all spots
tentatively called "Mofy Anonymous" or "Mofy Testimonials." It will
also embark on a nationwide search for the ultimate modern
Every episode will have a second-screen component that includes
trivia, polls and custom advertising content, among other features,
and during a Sunday night segment titled "Modern Family Live" it
will show real-time results from second-screen engagement on-air.
Participating accrues points, and those with the most at the end of
the night will be featured on-air as the night's super fan.
USA will also tap the reach of its parent, NBCUniversal and
Comcast, making the
show a marketing priority across the company's portfolio of TV
networks and digital platforms. Ms. Shapiro even sees the theme
being integrated into NBC's news division, which could tackle
themes related to modern families.