Could Pitch Get MLB Replay? Plus: Why World Series Promos Were Oddly Scant

Pitch‘s well-received yet lightly watched freshman run was a hot topic at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Wednesday.

As previously reported, Fox Television Group CEO Gary Newman said during the executive session, “We were very proud of Pitch…. I don’t think the performance level enabled us to make an early decision about it, but as we get to May, we’re certainly going to consider it.”

In the name of adding to what Newman called the baseball drama’s “loyal core” audience, the exec was asked if Season 1 might get a replay on the MLB Network — especially since Major League Baseball has been an active partner in the series, allowing unprecedented access to stadiums and assets.

“I don’t believe there have been discussions about that,” Newman told reporters. “My recollection is we replayed the pilot, maybe on Fox Sports, but I don’t believe it was ever pitched to us to have the show on Major League Baseball [Network].

“We certainly would be open to it, but I can’t guarantee it,” he added. “We have rights holders and profit participants and we always want to do what’s in the interest of them, but I think [MLB Network] is the perfect place to expose the show to the audience. I will look into that.”

In that same spirit of seemingly organic cross-promotion, TVLine asked Newman if Fox could have done a better job of pitching Pitch to viewers of its extremely well-watched World Series coverage. (Fellow freshman Lethal Weapon instead seemed to get the lion’s share of in-game touts.)

“Look, we have a lot of priorities,” Newman conceded. “We were not only trying to build our fall shows, but [the World Series] was… where we began our launch of Star and The Mick.

“We gave Pitch a fair amount of promotion there,” Newman continued, citing camera shots of series stars Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar sitting in the stands.

“We really adored Pitch,” Newman asserted. “I’m kind of a sports fanatic, so this was a bit of a dream show for me.”

Averaging a 0.8 demo rating across its short freshman run, Pitch was Fox’s No. 5-rated drama this fall, tying Rosewood and besting The Exorcist and Scream Queens.

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  1. I think it would be smart not just to promote the sports angle of the series which is why I almost didn’t watch it. I think this is a show that could really appeal to a female audience. Certainly, I found the feminist angle, the show’s diversity, the possible romance between the leads, and the fantastic character-driven writing all appealing. And wouldn’t it be smart to really promote how it comes from the same writer as the much bigger hit, “This is Us?” There are definitely some similarities structurally between the series. Sure, the fact that Dan Fogelman writes both series is out there. But I doubt that many people or the average viewer know. I know it’s on different networks but it seems some kind of cross-promotion might work. And maybe they can find ways to give the show time to find an audience. It really is a great show that deserves more viewers. And it was definitely one of the best new shows (though let’s be honest there just hasn’t been many this season) this year.

    • I totally agree! I love baseball plus the whole feminist angle appealed to me, so I was onboard with Pitch from day 1. But there are so many appealing things about it that it should be easy for Fox to gain a larger audience if they just put any thought into promoting and marketing it.

      Maybe they don’t want to mention a competing network’s show, but let’s face it: This Is Us is a huge success and Fox mentioning they have a show by the same creator isn’t going to impact that. And in my opinion, Pitch is his superior show…

    • Ally Oop says:

      I agree. I watch for the drama, the romantic angles and the female empowerment angle. Baseball has nothing to do with why I watch. My favourite shows on TV are Orphan Black, This is Us, Call the Midwife, Outlander and Nashville. Obviously all the above 3 things are in play on those shows too.

  2. Rachel says:

    I loved this show! It’s definTly a nice change from all the other shows that are so similar.

    • :-) says:

      So far removed from thecthe crime / medical procedura. I love it. Characters you can care about. Drama that makes sense. I love how it shined a light on the pressures of being the 1st person or a unique person in a situation.

  3. Brandon S says:

    He says “was” every chance he gets. I may be reading into it, but that seems like a fork in it.

    • :-) says:

      I noticed the use of past tense verbs also

    • marenfriedman says:

      I noticed that too. Everything is past tense. “We adored Pitch”. I really hope this doesn’t mean it’s been cancelled. They need to give this show a second season at the very least.

  4. YestoKylie says:

    This show has to be renewed

  5. Katherine215 says:

    Matt, thanks for the asking the promo question. As a huge Cubs and Pitch fan, I watched every minute of the WS and I saw *very* few promos for the show, which made absolutely no sense if you’re targeting sports fans.
    If you’re not targeting sports fans, or not just sports fans, then they shouldn’t have emphasized the baseball angle as much as they did (which I realize is difficult when it’s such a big part of the show). As Amber Topping mentioned above, there are a lot of really appealing non-sports elements they could have focused on – diversity, feminism, great characters, etc.
    This is a quality show on par with (or better than, imo) This Is Us, and I’m disappointed it didn’t generate nearly the same level of interest. Do better, Fox! Air it again, air it on MLB Network, just get it some viewers!!

  6. Jared says:

    If Fox does renew Pitch they are going to need to broaden the promotion not make it even more niche than it already is. I think that was a major mistake by Fox to begin with and why more viewers didn’t tune in.

  7. Jill says:

    Promotion was one thing, time slot was the other. Up against the NFL most Thursdays and Chicago Med & CBS Comedies and after Rosewood it was set up to fail, I think. I rarely watched live, I DVR’d it and watched later , most weeks. I love Pitch & hope it will come back. Maybe it could do well with New Girl & The Mick? Or Sundays?

  8. KLS says:

    Yes, promotion during the WS was a missed opportunity (I do remember printed ads behind home plate though), but I agree that the real misstep here was scheduling. Th @9pm during football season has become a difficult slot.

  9. TvDiva says:

    Thank you for covering Pitch. Also for asking about promotion. I initially did not watch the show due to thinking it was just about baseball. A friend convinced me to watch. Shock One this show is about way more than baseball, Shock 2 MPG/Zack is one hell of an underrated actor, Shock 3 there is no weak link or SL in this show. Fox needs a new approach and needs to take a second look at Pitch.

  10. JudyVee says:

    My husband and I both love this show! Hope it returns.

  11. Jim John says:

    Since you didn’t post my previous comment I see you’re uploading only positive ones that means the show is a total failure proof is in your postings give it up make up some room for something really worth watching

  12. Erik says:

    I almost didn’t watch this because it looked like just a sports show but a friend told me to give it a try. This is my favourite new show of 2016. Also the only thing I watch on Fox because everything else Ive liked had been cancelled.

  13. Jennifer Biller says:

    My favorite new show of the season! FOX, please relaunch the show with a more omnipresent ad campaign and pick a good time slot. The show is quality. If people try it, they’ll be hooked. Please TVline help get some more eyes on it. I fear it will go the way of the other great shows we’ve loved and lost: Veronica Mars, Freaks and Geeks, and Emily Owens.(Yes, I know the last one was a reach, but Justin Hartley!) I watch Pitch weekly and have never been counted in the ratings. I’m so tired of all the medical and police dramas. Pitch and This is Us are character shows that leave you wanting more each week.

  14. Jim A. says:

    I had extremely low expectations for “Pitch” but watched it because NYPD Blue alum Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Dan Lauria are in it and I ended up liking the show a lot more than I thought I would. The supporting cast is really good, the stories are interesting and while you have to accept that it is TV, it doesn’t seem too unrealistic. I think the Ginny character is a little too cocky for a rookie, I mean in the pilot episode she walks in a Major League clubhouse for the first time and walks right by the manager like he is a door man. I’m a huge baseball fan so that little stuff bothers me a bit, and I think Ali Larter’s character is a little over the top but the show is otherwise really good. It could use a little fine tuning of course, but it is better than a lot of shows that have been on for a long time.
    I hope Pitch returns!

  15. ninergrl6 says:

    I love Pitch & think it needs better promotion, but this comment absolutely floored me: “I don’t believe there have been discussions about that… I don’t believe it was ever pitched to us to have the show on Major League Baseball [Network].” WHY THE HELL NOT? Yes, the show is about much more than baseball, but come on, they had a built in potential fan base and haven’t even *considered* that option? That’s just bad business.

  16. queensgirl says:

    I never understood why they premiered it during the baseball season.

  17. Ally Oop says:

    I’m not a baseball fan so I was going to pass on the show but gave it a two-ep shot to be fair and I loved it. Along with Queen Sugar and Designated Survivor, its one of 3 new shows on TV I really like. I wonder how many baseball fans actually like the show. It seems to me more popular with the romance/drama viewers.