Younger fans weren’t sipping the evening’s signature lemon drop cocktails or sitting among the cast in the staged living room during Getting Younger’s live broadcast, but there was no mistaking their presence.
“Every Tuesday I’ll be coming to you live from Union Square in New York City giving you a chance to chat with the stars of the show and the stars who love the show,” host Taylor Strecker said during the first episode of season five’s weekly, interactive pre-show. “Anything can happen. Because it’s your show. You’re in charge. Literally the show is for the fans by the fans.”
It’s been a grueling 10 months since season four’s cliffhanger: Will Liza (Sutton Foster) and Charles (Peter Hermann) finally date? Fans were eager to engage on the topic. By the time Getting Younger started at 9:20 p.m. on Facebook, the video reminding viewers to tune-in and send the cast questions was viewed 6.2k times and had 318 reactions. It had been posted on Facebook six hours earlier.
The interaction between the audience and cast on the weekly pre-show epitomizes Younger’s social strategy. Although only 12 episodes air each year, the social media team behind Younger keeps fans engaged year-round with exclusive interviews, memes and games that are released regularly via Younger and the cast’s social media handles. This engagement between fans and the cast was critical in building Younger’s audience. The strategy helped boost the show’s audience by 65 percent from Season 1 to 2 among viewers age 25 to 54.
It’s also indicative of a necessary aspect of modern TV. To develop and nurture a fan base around a show, there also need to be engaging and interactive touchpoints. “Fans want to follow characters and plotlines—and interact with other fans‚across all platforms at all times,” says Ona Weber, director of social for TV Land. “The linear show is just part of the experience of modern television.”
During Getting Younger, fans ask questions in the comments section of the Facebook video and the cast answers them live. They also tweet throughout Younger, adding color commentary in real time. During the season five premiere night, #YoungerTV trended in the national top 10 on Twitter for almost two hours, peaking in the #3 spot. In total, there were 105K engagements across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, an increase of 26 percent compared to season four’s premiere, according to ListenFirst, a social media intelligence firm.
At about 9:10 p.m. the cast—minus Hilary Duff who was sick—walked from the makeshift greenroom to the set. It resembles the apartments Josh (Nico Tortorella) and Liza live in, with exposed brick and carefully curated oddities, including a brass palm tree and knick knacks lining the bookshelf.
Between sips of their drinks, the cast answers viewer questions: Who is the most like their character? Shor is quick to answer: “I’m not. Just because I can’t with the shapewear.”
Shortly after, they get to fan questions. Danielle D. writes, “Molly Bernard, you rock, I love the strong woman you portray as well as the vulnerability she has displayed. What do you hope is next for her.”
Bernard—who reads the monitor before Strecker recites the question—is visibly touched. Her mouth forms an “Aww” as she reads. Later, Margaret C. asks: “Will anyone from Liza’s old life find out?” The cast ponders that questions while trying not to give any spoilers away.
The night’s first fan poll asks viewers: In the season four finale, why do you think Charles is calling Liza? Is it to discuss her future at Millenial? He needs a babysitter? To profess his undying love? Or, was it just a butt dial? Strecker advises viewers to cast their vote in the comments section.
Five minutes later, the results are in: 88% said “love.”
Fans didn’t have to wait long to learn the answer. Shortly after Getting Younger wrapped and viewers got their long-awaited answer. Meanwhile, assistants start breaking down the set, placing glass items used to decorate the set in boxes. The casts sticks around, though. They’ve got to get ready to live tweet the season five premiere.