2018 Upfronts: Millennials' Reboot Challenge

By Jeanine Poggi | May 23, 2018 |

Once again, TV networks are reviving old series for their new seasons, a strategy designed to capitalize on built-in fan bases of the originals.

The tactic has yielded some serious successes. NBC just renewed its revival of "Will and Grace" for two additional seasons after the sitcom debuted last fall to more than 10 million viewers. ABC's reboot of "Roseanne" arrived in March to over 18 million viewers (not including delayed viewing) and will be a centerpiece of the alphabet network's fall schedule.

This year's crop of reboots include "Magnum P.I." and "Murphy Brown" on CBS, as well as "Charmed" on The CW.

Still, the question remains: What kinds of audiences will show up? Plenty of people remember Tom Selleck as the irrepressible investigator Thomas Magnum. Some even remember former Vice President Dan Quayle's 1992 slam on the fictional character Murphy Brown for having a baby while unmarried.

But those people are likely not the elusive young millennials that many advertisers want the most. Ad Age interviewed its own staffers of varying demographics to see how the reboots might resonate. Spoiler: there was plenty of bewilderment.