Will Shows Made For Teens Ever Be Cool Enough?

- The Bold Type -
Will Shows Made For Teens Ever Be Cool Enough?

Before it was Freeform, ABC Family produced several successful television shows like Pretty Little Liars, Baby Daddy, and Switched at Birth. The network was renamed and rebranded in 2016, and since then, the network has produced several popular shows tailored to Gen Z and young millennials. Thing is, though, they rarely make it past three seasons.

Is it because the material isn’t cool enough for the intended audience? Are the shows too cliché and cheesy? Or, are not enough young people watching a network for young people, because young people don’t watch network TV?

Freeform was designed to capture a new generation of socially and politically “woke” teenagers and young adults. Disney executives noticed that millennials were on their way to turning 40, and wanted Freeform to attract the “Becomers,” which is a term they coined to name their audience members who, as Britney Spears would say, were not a girl, not yet a woman.

Unfortunately, some of those shows the network launched for those Becomers came off as too try-hard. In 2016, six new shows never made it past the first season, with only the supernatural drama Shadowhunters making it to three.

In 2017, only one out of the five scripted shows made it past two seasons, one of them being the wildly successful show The Bold Type, which ended just this year. (We'll circle back to that in a bit.)

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