The Secret Circle Fan Campaign Continues to Make Magic
While it’s true that some ‘Save our Show’ campaigns can be pointless affairs filled with sound and fury that ultimately signifies nothing, the group behind the Save the Circle campaign are surprisingly savvy and enterprising with their efforts to return cancelled TV show The Secret Circle to our TV screens.
Chevron One readers will know that we have an enduring soft spot for this show. Secret Circle articles and interviews have graced our pages for almost a year, so it seems only fair that we now turn the spotlight on the show’s staunchest defenders. Save the Circle is, in their own words, a a campaign aimed at bringing the freshman series back to television – through petitions, campaigns, social media, and various other means. This week I sat down with the irrepressible Abbey White, spokesperson for the campaign, to discuss its goals and achievements to date in deeper detail.
I kick things off by asking Abbey directly what the campaign hopes to achieve.
“There are several goals, and I’m very realistic about them,” she says with a smile. “Our number one goal obviously is to get the show back. Fans are dedicated to the show. They will be dedicated to any network – whether its The CW or ABC Family or MTV that picks it up.
“But another thing that is really important to us is showing our support for the show. A lot of fans didn’t realize the shape it was in towards the end of the season. The Save the Circle campaign actually developed out of a group of fans who were tracking the ratings during the last month of the show. We were really aware of what was happening. We felt we didn’t really get a chance as a fan base to say how much we really loved the show in a positive and constructive way. I think a lot of this is us channeling our love for the actors, and Andrew [Miller] and the crew over the past year in a way that is constructive. In the end, even if it doesn’t get put back on, we want this to be how the show is remembered, as opposed to fans just yelling at the CW!”
But Abbey and her fellow campaigners want more than just their show back on the air, and it isn’t long before the thorny subject of the Nielsen Ratings system comes under discussion.
“We want to raise awareness about the Nielsen ratings system and how this recent explosion of ‘save our show’ campaigns isn’t so much just about these hardcore cult fan bases,” says Abbey. “I think it’s a sign for Networks that something about the ratings system isn’t working if each season you have all of these shows getting axed followed by large numbers of people giving a public outcry.
“The CW had a really huge ratings drop between last season and this season for all of its shows. But these ratings aren’t as honest as they could be. We want to highlight that maybe it’s time we consider a new system. I know that [CW President] Mark Pedowitz said that this was something that was important to him, especially headed into the new season. CW shows are teen oriented. You don’t have to watch TV on tap anymore. You have the internet. You can watch online, or on a mobile device or DVR. It’s no longer necessary to be in front of your television, but we don’t have a ratings system that properly catalogs all the ways that people are watching. It’s not benefiting the viewers and the fans, obviously, but it’s not benefiting Networks or advertisers either. We want to say hey, there’s a problem here and you need to address it – for everyone involved.”
Clearly, many fans were deeply upset when the show’s cancellation was announced. I ask Abbey if the immediate groundswell of support for the show that followed the news surprised her.
“Yes,” she laughs. “It was the reason we decided to do this. We were told that as the ratings were going down people weren’t watching anymore. Then came the news about the show being canceled. And then something incredible happened. We trended three topics worldwide on Twitter. It was something big. It was saying something. That was really the moment where we realized there was a following, and maybe that following wasn’t being heard. This was our opportunity. The fan support that came afterwards and how excited and revved people were – and continue to be – was amazing. People are still in this. I think it’s a testament to the fan base and how much the show was loved. I’m glad that we took that initiative.”
Featured video: The Secret Circle Episode 1.20 ‘Traitor’ Webclip. The Cloak/Uncloak Spell becomes the inspiration for a branch of the campaign.
Part of the Save the Circle campaign includes three individual petitions which fans can sign to register their ongoing support for the show. To date the petitions have garnered over 73,000 signatures with one of the three (a Twitter oriented petition) becoming the third highest ‘Twitition’ ever signed, accruing 16,000 signatures in just four days.
As part of their efforts to draw attention from MTV, Save the Circle also created a ‘Save a Witch’ donation scheme to the Make a Wish Foundation, with donations from fans made on behalf of MTV. It’s clear that the campaign is, on the whole, both highly organized and well thought out.
I ask Abbey to tell me a little more about ABC Family, Syfy and MTV – the three contenders for a potential series pickup, and what Save the Circle is doing to attract their attention.
“We chose each Network for a very specific reason,” Abbey explains. “A lot of people don’t know what goes into a Network pickup. It’s not just ratings. It’s budget. You also have also look at whether the show will align with the rest of the programming.
“We had a very rough idea budget-wise what was being spent on The Secret Circle. Coupled with a show like Teen Wolf, we thought MTV could potentially capitalize on that. We launched with the ‘Save-a-Witch’ campaign, which was essentially a donation campaign. I love Make-a-Wish. It’s something that is personally very close to me and I know that it’s close to Andrew, and I’m really glad that we did it because even at the end of the day if we don’t get our show back a lot of kids and a lot of families are going to be positively impacted by this. You can’t tell me this was for naught,” she laughs.
“We have over $2,500 specifically for our campaign, but then Andrew auctioned off a signed poster that went for over $5,000! Obviously someone really loved the show. They liked the cause and they wanted to support it. So total for that right now is $7,500 dollars. I’m very proud of our fan base and our ability to unite under such negative circumstances. It’s really been a great thing to see.
“One of the reasons we chose Syfy is because the programing matched, and the ratings actually matched very well with a lot of their younger-targeted shows. We’re also looking at targeting advertisers that are currently on the Syfy Network, but it’s a work in progress.
“With ABCFamily, we started a bulk mail campaign, similar to the Jericho and Community campaigns. We wanted to do something witty with it, so we decided to to the Cloak-Uncloak Campaign. With this sort of campaign, you want to send as much as possible, because each item represents the voice of a person involved. So we decided to go with coins, the idea being the CW has cloaked our show, and we just need ABC Family to uncloak it for us.
“I don’t want to give away yet how many coins we’re talking about but they’re shipping out today and it’s a lot of coins! We have a group of fans that will be there video-taping the event. We’ve coordinated it with FedEx. We’re going to get to see them drop it off and see some onsite fan reaction to all of these coins.
“The goal with each of these campaigns isn’t necessarily to convince them that they should pick it up. It’s to put us and them on the radar. We had someone who contacted us at the very beginning of the campaign who said the most successful campaigns are the ones that are supported by the Media. It puts pressure on the Networks – not necessarily to respond in the way that we want them to, but to respond. And any kind of a response is a good response.
We wanted to do things that would benefit the fans and get our point across but also grab people’s attention. We think each of our campaigns, in their own way, have done that.
I ask Abbey if there is anything she would like to say to fans on behalf of the Save the Circle campaign.
“I guess I’d like to say thanks and behalf of the campaign to every fan that stuck with us through this. We’ve noticed everyone’s efforts and we support them all, big and small. We appreciate the media taking us seriously. Go check out the campaign!”
Save The Circle is a fan led campaign that was started in April of 2012 to encourage a season 2 renewal of The Secret Circle on The CW Network. TSC aired on The CW from September 15th, 2011 to May 10th, 2012 and was officially canceled on May 11th, 2012.
Upon news of TSC’s cancellation, Save The Circle quickly switched gears and became a campaign aimed at bringing the freshman series back to television. Through petitions, campaigns, social media, and various other means, Save The Circle seeks to prove there is still a strong following for the series, a solid demo market for advertisers, and a place for it on either network or cable television.
To find out more about the Save the Circle campaign and learn how to become involved check out the official website at http://save.thesecret-circle.com/ and the official Twitter @savethecircle