Written by: Joe Bartolotta
TV networks are having a hard time replacing sporting events and live TV. With new documentaries and scripted programs have been put on hold due to the coronavirus. As a result, network commissioners are looking to the past for inspiration. They are effectively creating nostalgia viewing. New programs are being pieced together out of clips from old movies, newscasts, interviews, documentaries. Footage of major events and random shots of people and places are also being used.
Getty Images is the owner of the world’s biggest commercial film archive. They’re working with several TV companies that are pivoting to using more archived content. They’ve become an extension to the creative teams at production companies. Their work is helping to create dramatic and inspiring narratives. A+E Networks, owner of A&E, History Channel, Lifetime and ViceTV is one of the major TV companies utilizing archived content. Dan Korn is the Vice President of Programming at A+E Networks. He says that there is a clear appetite for nostalgia viewing and escapism during this lockdown.
While all this archived content might hold us over for now, eventually we’re going to need something new. Looking towards the future, it’s totally likely that the pandemic era will become incorporated into the fabric of our favorite shows. Though it might sound strange thinking about TV characters wearing face masks and practicing social distancing, the pandemic is too transformative to not acknowledge. And if this way of life becomes our new normal, it’s hard to see how television shows could avoid reflecting it in some way.