CBS lets kids, parents, and teachers watch Kid Nation, but not TV critics

CBS has decided not to allow TV critics to preview the first episode of Kid Nation, which debuts tomorrow night. But teachers, kids, and their parents are getting to watch.

While movie studios regularly decline to let film critics preview (usually crappy) movies, “it is comparatively rare in TV, where, I can personally testify, even the worst premiere episodes get sent to critics,” Television Critics Association President Dave Walker told the Hollywood Reporter. While he says that “appears to be both pre-emptive and last-gasp damage control,” the network says it’s just about marketing.

And as the paper reminds us, not previewing a new series “is a marketing tool that CBS also used in 2000 for the first installment of ‘Survivor,’ which also created a stir in the weeks leading to the premiere because of its premise of marooning people on a deserted island.” Oh, we were so innocent then.

However, CBS is showing the series to some people. Advertisers were able to watch it, and now CBS “has set up screenings of its controversial reality show at a number of elementary schools around the country,” Variety reports.

“Students, parents and teachers have been invited to screenings set up by local CBS stations in major markets such as Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Denver,” and Variety says CBS “is bypassing traditional media in an effort to build positive buzz.” Whether or not works will be clear when the ratings and reviews come in after the debut.

The critics aren’t watching ‘Kid Nation’ … yet [Hollywood Reporter]
CBS screening ‘Nation’ for schools [Variety]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.