A week ago, three new television pilots were made available illegally to torrent sites around the world. These three are the upcoming Minority Report and Lucifer from Fox as well as Blindspot from NBC. Roughly three months ago, CBS’s Supergirl was pushed out into the world for pirates to enjoy. The same thing happened with NBC’s Constantine and The CW’s Flash.
I am one of those people that downloaded and enjoyed watching these television pilots. But I’m actually kind of new to the whole “watching television pilot leaks” thing. I didn’t know this isn’t a new thing. It turns out there have been more television pilots that have been leaked to the public way before this! There’s FlashForward, Chuck and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I still think it’s a startling trend and I just gotta ask how is this possible? How are all of these shows getting leaked?
The simplest and most logical answer would be that pirates are just getting really good at getting these shows. They do seem to focus on television pilots about, well, geeky shows. Two of the three recent leaks are based on established franchises; Lucifer is a DC/Vertigo character and Minority Report is based on the 2002 film starring Tom Cruise. Blindspot may not seem like a truly geek show as it’s about a amnesiac woman who’s been tattooed with clues to future crimes but… no, wait. I’m wrong. It does have a somewhat geeky premise, doesn’t it? And the previous television pilots were pretty much geeky sci-fi shows as well, weren’t they?
But I don’t think this may be the case. I may sound like a total nutball for saying what I’m about to say. I don’t care because I honestly believe it to be true. I do think there’s an actual conspiracy behind all these leaks. It’s not pirates that are doing it, but the television studios themselves! Yes, the very same people that shouldn’t want their precious pilots to be leaked out are actually the ones doing the leaking! You may think that the television networks have no reason to leak the pilots themselves. But in actually, they have lots of reasons! I’ll just name two of them here.
First off, the instant publicity the “leak” garners from the press. Entertainment sites are very good at finding these leaks and instantly broadcast it on their front page since they want to be the first ones to report on it. This news gets passed on from site to site so that everyone who’s got an Internet connection finds out about the leaked shows. Honestly, it’s a great way to let the public know about their upcoming shows. Just a week ago, I didn’t even know there was a show called Blindspot before the leak. But I do now!
Second, it gives a chance for potential viewers to change their minds about a program way before it matters. Take the Supergirl pilot for example. When the first trailer came out, people hated it! The tone felt like some weird mix of teen drama pep with The Devil Wears Prada. A lot of people, fans especially, hated the presumed tone of the show and pretty much written it off from their viewing lists of 2015.
Then the pilot was leaked. The general consensus from the people that got the leaked television pilot of Supergirl? They actually liked it! Or, at least, they said that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be. I don’t think these same people would’ve watched the first episode during its intended scheduled premiere!
Of course, I don’t have any proof of this conspiracy theory. After all, it is just a theory. But it does seem to fit well with the current publicity strategies of viral marketing. This in no way ensures a show will be successful. I mean, Constantine was cancelled after 13 episodes only (even if it was a brilliant show). But I think networks are taking whatever they can get. If leaking a television pilot helps them get viewers, good for them. I wish them all the luck.
Do you think the television networks are the ones leaking their own pilots? Let me know in the comments section below!