How to Promote Kings in 60 Seconds or Less – A Little Bit of Advice for NBC

So we all knew Kings’ sad, official fate. But last week’s TCA Summer Press Tour was the first opportunity for NBC execs to say something… ANYTHING about Kings since obviously giving up on the show succeeding even before the show premiered (and it looks like NBC is doing it again with their upcoming post-apocalypse drama Day One, digging its grave before they’ve even gotten comfortable filming).

Series creator Michael Green mentioned in his thanks and goodbye note to fans about while NBC welcomed the religious content on the show, they didn’t want to market it at such.

Angela Bromstad, NBC’s president for primetime programming, expanded on that at last week’s press tour (via

“It was a great production, but our challenge now is, you need to sell something. People want to know what something is about.”

Kings was a complex idea. It was originally developed when I was [at NBC] before. We didn’t make it [then] because we thought it was a little too high brow and too difficult to sell in a 30 second slot. It doesn’t mean we’re not looking for big ideas [but] they have to be big ideas that the audience can grab on to.”

A lot to take away from that short quote. Aside from Kings, we can gather NBC would rather not be bothered in promoting “high brow” programming, so called “smart” programs that actually makes viewers think. A quality that many critics and fans alike clamor for on television, but rarely get it, especially on broadcast television.

They do like big ideas, but what they are really looking for is a Hollywood blockbuster not necessarily Oscar material. Though who says they can’t have both?

Well, that’s all material for another discussion. Probably the biggest tidbit from that quote is Kings was too difficult to sell in a 30 second slot.

When you look at the 30 second promos NBC did run, like this incredibly ambiguous early promo and the horrible failure of the equally ambiguous (not in a good way) viral campaign, you can see they were either at a complete loss, didn’t care, or just had incompetent/uninspired people handling the show at 30 Rock.

I’ll go for a combination of all three.
But really? They couldn’t find a better way to promote the series?

I’m definitely no video editing expert, and I’m sure more talented whiz kids younger than my 22½ years can do even better, but I managed to find at least four ways to promote the series that at the very least gave the average viewer a little more than butterflies landing on the top of an M16, lots of pretty people and that guy from Deadwood. Add in some good voiceovers and zingers from the show itself and you’ve got some attractive marketing.

Here they are…

Kings is very much a political drama, sharing qualities with such great politically-infused dramas on all ends of the spectrum from The West Wing to Battlestar Galactica. This promo focuses on that, a man chosen to lead a people, a nation after war. Rebuilding ravaged lands, gaining the trust of the people, and then losing it thanks in large part to his own actions.

Now this first video I had made was a minute long, 30 seconds more than that informal challenge I took from Angela Bromstad, but then I thought, well I’d just be proving her right. So here’s both the original 60 second version followed by the 30 second version (which I did for the other three categories as well).

60 second version:

30 second version:
That background scoring should be familiar… just a looped version from the very first scenes we ever saw on Kings.

So, politics not interesting to many people? Well, how about family? Everyone has a family, whether they’re close or not, never known them or known them so long you don’t want to know them. Family is something most people can relate to and family dramas have been part of television since forever. Of course on Kings, we saw many facets of what makes a family, and family ultimately was a huge part of the show.

60 second version:

30 second version:
The song used here is “Sanctuary” by Filipino rock band Callalily off of their debut album “Destination XYZ” under Sony Music Philippines. Find out more about them at their official Yahoo group.
More Callalily on Callalily

NBC may not have had a problem with having a series with religion a core part of the story, but hell if they actually have to promote it! Some have brought up NBC’s troubles with The Book of Daniel (which coincidentally also starred Susanna Thompson!) were definitely more far reaching than Kings’ ever would be. A pill popping priest that talks to Jesus? That’s not going to go over well with the devout. But a very respectful and actually very loyal adaptation of a well known Bible story? It might just work!

If NBC didn’t want to promote the religious aspect to certain “non-religious” parts of the country, how about targeting promotion in areas that do cling to … religion take their faith seriously with ads that play up the religious aspect of the show. Kings, a positive religious series.

Now for me who has grown up in a Catholic household and maintains that belief I grow up with, though not as devoutly as others, the fact that the story was based on a Bible story was just one thing that made me interested in the show in the first place, but not the only reason. And despite my Catholic school education, shame on me if the only thing I remember about David and Goliath was that the little guy won.

So really, religion was just one part of the series, but for some it could have been the biggest selling point.

60 second version:

30 second version:
The song used here is OneRepublic’s “Mercy” from their debut album “Dreaming Out Loud” under Interscope Records. Go to their official website for more info.
More OneRepublic on OneRepublic

Let’s be stereotypical and get out the women demo. The CW is now concentrating all their efforts in catering to the female demographic by producing dramas about rich teens, rich young adults, and small town teens that become rich young adults. Throw in some very beautiful men and women, some even top model-worthy, a touch of male-driven action, and the soapy elements of love triangles, lies, deceit, and sex and you’ve got the shows everyone will be “tweeting” about!

Well, Kings had all that. The small town boy from a farm falling in love with the rich princess and vice-versa. Families frowning upon the budding romance. What’s more Gossip Girly than that?

Not to mention the whole other side of the spectrum with just plain ol’ romantic dramas and comedies. The King and Queen, the family guardian and the palace guard… love is in the air.

60 second version:

30 second version:
The song used here is “I Won’t Miss This Chance” off of the sophomore album, “A Little Too Perfect,” of the Philippines’ “rockoustic heartthrob” Sam Milby. Go to his official website for more.
More Sam Milby on Sam Milby

NBC didn’t want to mention “King” or “David” anywhere near each other in promotion for the show.

Well, if NBC couldn’t (didn’t want to) find politics, family, religion or love as adequate ways to promote the series, then they might as well have just thrown all caution to the wind and just gone with it.

DAVID. GOLIATH. KINGS! Coming soon to NBC =]

I made that as a funny, but it might have actually been a good way to go.

So what do you think? Any other suggestions?
Should (Could!) they have focused on Jack’s love life? Maybe a “Love” spot on Silas and Rose? “Family” spots specifically on either of the Benjamins and Shepherds?
Definitely a “Hey BSG fans! Your show may be ending, but here’s another one to fill the void!!!!!!!” spot during the Galactica finale.

Remember, just for the on-air promos. Talk show guestings, the Super Bowl snub… those are posts on their own!

7 thoughts on “How to Promote Kings in 60 Seconds or Less – A Little Bit of Advice for NBC

  1. I love this!! This show was sublime, and any of these promos would have been better than they way NBC promoted it. I only knew about this show a few weeks before it was canceled. It was doomed, unfortunately.

  2. Absolutely amazing. NBC… they’ve lost their way. NBC falls, and soon. And you can be sure there’ll be all the blood required. lol. 🙂

  3. Hey it took forever to find a page like this for KINGS on a web. A friend of mine is huge Fan of KINGS and had never discovered this page. My friend is the one who mentioned KINGS to me. I never heard of KINGS until I met my new friend. NBC advertisement, marketing for the show was anemic.

    Apparently KINGS is being discovered online NOW.

    Those who want to save it should email, or mail Jeff Gaspin to BRING KINGS BACK.

  4. Indeed. Shame NBC.
    I really like this show, I wished I knew about it before it aired.

    I suggest you should make another web-page so people can find all these clips together with ease. I found it informative. In addition, I enjoyed most of the clips.

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