Can Disney Launch a Non-Marvel/Star Wars Series? Plus Ginny & Georgia’s Bonkers Opening…

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If I thought last week was “light”, then this week is a feather. Sure, we had one big hit (Ginny & Georgia), but after that, the streamers released barely any notable titles.

Which is actually a good thing! (For me, at least.) It gives me space to opine/revisit other topics I’ve wanted to explore more in depth. For example, Disney had a mission in Q4 to launch new shows that didn’t come from Marvel or Star Wars IP. Did they succeed?

That plus The Menu, The Pale Blue Eye, Kaleidoscope, The Walking Dead, my breakdown of TV Time’s TV list by streamer, some great data on TV shows in Europe and Latin American from Digital i, a new Netflix datecdote about South Korean content, and a whole bunch more. 

Let’s dive in.

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. market and compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, TV Time trend data, company datecdotes, and Netflix hours viewed data, Netflix Top Ten lists, Google Trends, Samba TV, and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of January 2nd to January 8th.)

Television – Disney’s Search for a Non-Star Wars/MCU Hit TV Show

Back in September, after Andor came out, I remember asking myself, when is the next Star Wars or Marvel TV coming to Disney+? And what is it? I honestly didn’t know. Which seemed strange. Shouldn’t a Mandalorian or Iron Wars or something be coming soon? 

Nope. Instead, Disney launched three big original series, but none of them were set in either the Marvel or Star Wars universes. (Technically, Andor episodes kept coming out well into November.) Strategically, I like this move from Disney, as they need Disney+ to broaden out. Here were the three big releases in Q4:

  • The Santa Clauses (based on the Tim Allen Christmas films)
  •  Willow (based on the 1980s Lucasfilm fantasy film)
  •  National Treasure: Edge of History (based on the Nicholas Cage/Bruckheimer adventure film series)

While it’s a good move to broaden out the types of franchises on Disney+, strategically, did it work?

Not really. 

On the good news side, all three shows made TV Time’s rankings, and Willow and National Treasure both had extended runs:

The problem is that these shows didn’t do well on any other metric. On IMDb, all three shows are on the lower end of the review total (5.5 on 27K reviews for Willow, 5.3 on 7.4K reviews for National Treasure, and 6.3 on 8K reviews for The Santa Clauses. Yes, both Willow and National Treasure were campaigned, meaning deliberately downvoted. Still, the total reviews feels low for both.). The Santa Clausesas I covered last week—had the most viewership, and will likely get some repeat viewings in future Christmases. Assuming the budget was low-ish, that’s a fine performance. (But this franchise doesn’t really lend itself to spin-offs or non-Holiday TV shows or films.)  

Meanwhile, on Nielsen, both Willow and National Treasure have so far missed the Nielsen rankings entirely. That puts them below Ms. Marvel, the worst performing Marvel series so far. I’d add, Show Labs (from Plum Research)—another data source I’m incorporating in 2023 into my ratings—says Willow had about 20 to 30% as many unique viewers as either She-Hulk or Andor in their opening weeks.


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The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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