- NetflixTed Sarandos, Chief Content Officer
- HuluCraig Erwich, Senior VP Head of Content
TV Show 'Pitch': Keep Ginny Baker in the Game
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Every night, millions of Americans sit down and watch TV. Or the DVR it. Or stream it. Some watch it to forget their troubles, others for pure enjoyment, and some for tight writing and compelling acting. Either way, we're drawn into these mostly fictional worlds that creators, writers, actors, producers, studios, etc create for us to engage in. And, we, the viewers, vary by age, gender, beliefs, race, occupation, and so forth. But, for one night, we are united by our like interest in a show.
The show that this petition is specifically about is called 'Pitch' that originally aired on FOX for one season before it was cancelled on May 1, 2017. I want to say that 'Pitch' was about the first female baseball player (Ginny Baker) in Major League Baseball, but it wasn't just about that. It wasn't just about her journey on the field, but off of it as well. It was about management, the league, and how society at large perceived her place in baseball, it was about relationships whether they be personal or professional, it was about identity, and belonging, it was about admitting when you need help and accepting it when offered, it was about making mistakes, it was about love and family, it was about life.
Some say that the premise was cheesy and/or far fetched, and regardless of what some say, the story was and is necessary. Because, once many gave it a chance, they not only appreciated the story, they loved it. The characters were well developed, the acting was great, and the writing was phenomenal. 'Pitch' didn't just entertain, it made you think and relate to what was going on with Ginny Baker and co.
'Pitch' was diverse and inclusive: Ginny Baker, the lead character, was a black woman; Eliot, Ginny's social media director was Asian; and Oscar, the GM, was latino. There was a woman in high powered position and woman who was a stay at home wife and neither were talked down upon to build the other up. Both of these ladies' life choices were seen as valid. There was Mike Lawson, the all-star the aging catcher with bad knees who was at the end of his career without a ring who served as mentor/friend to Ginny. Blip Sanders friend and teammate of Ginny along with his wife Evelyn who is also a friend of Ginny and is looking to spread her wings. 'Pitch' explored all of these characters and emphasized that all of their experiences were valid and important.
But, 'Pitch didn't have the ratings and although that tells a story, it's not of one you would think. 'Pitch' was supposed to premiere in the Spring, BUT that was changed due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy who stars in 'Scandal' as well as the decision of ABC to shorten Scandal and move it to the second half of the TV season. FOX wanted to capitalize off of this 'empty' slot and see if they could fill the void while Scandal was on hiatus, which is why it was moved to Fall on Thursday 9 EST/8 CST. The problem with this move was: 'Pitch' had to compete with NFL, MLB post season, and Shondaland (shows created by Shonda Rhimes that are incredibly popular and have an entire prime time night).
Furthermore, many shows or, at least, many shows that network studios want to excel, are paired with heavily popular shows. 'Pitch's' lead in show was 'Rosewood', a show that only had a few thousand more viewers than 'Pitch', but 'Pitch' managed to have a higher rating share (percentage of people actually watching during this time slot) than 'Rosewood' as the season progressed. This doesn't even factor into the fact that Thursday night on FOX has become the equivalent of Friday Night Death slot. In the past few years, almost no news shows succeed there or they are moved to other nights to prolong their life cycle. But, 'Pitch' was put there because they had no where else to put the show. So, it had to go up against heavyweights on other networks all while having a weak lead in, which put them in a position where ratings were already sparse.
Quite a few baseball fans said that the show appealed to them, but that they wanted to watch real baseball during the post season rather than the fictional version. Some even went as far as saying it should air in the spring, which was the original plan. Either way, they were interested in watching only AFTER baseball ended (the crowd FOX was trying to capitalize on--BTW, they rarely promoted this show during the World series and showed another show instead before/after the game went off). Others had said, that they were interested in the show, but put it off to watch later because there is so much content to catch up on (which is a huge problem in entertainment and why ratings plummeted from the golden years where 12 million didn't even hit the top 10 for some nights and now 12 million can be a top show for a night).
Despite this show being led by a black woman who is an athlete, this show is for everyone: girls, boys, athletes, bookworms, stay at home parents, working parents, those who hate sports (yes, they have a huge following by those who hate sports, but love the show), and those who love sports; it doesn't matter if you're white, black, mexican, asian, etc. Because, despite the premise sounding narrow and niche, it honestly is for everyone. This isn't just about saving a show, but rather, keeping alive a show that addressing social issues in an authentic and relatable way. And the topics that 'Pitch' addresses doesn't just connect with it's American audiences, but those who watch overseas as well or in the neighboring countries. It just needs an honest opportunity to thrive, which is why we need your help.
Please sign the petition to keep this bold, phenomenal show alive. We need all of the support we can get so that streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or MLB Network can pick up the show and keep Ginny Baker on our TV screens.
- Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer
- Craig Erwich, Senior VP Head of Content
TV Show 'Pitch': Keep Ginny Baker in the Game
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