Enlarge / Welcome to the nerdiest, most-inside-baseball TV event this side of network upfronts. (credit: Nathan Mattise)
AUSTIN, Texas—Familiar IP runs rampant on TV these days no matter where a viewer turns. Netflix openly exploits its access to the Marvel universe and has a penchant for reinvigorating classic IP across medium (from Wet Hot American Summer to Fuller House).
Small cable networks offer numerous examples: CW has opted for DC with Arrow and The Flash; FX has Fargo; SyFy has The Expanse; Showtime has American Gods; and on and on.

Even the big networks have embraced this, and recently they can’t seem to leave vintage movies alone (whether we’re discussing Fox’s Minority Report and Lethal Weapon attempts or NBC’s departed-too-soon Hannibal).
At this summer’s ATX Television Festival, execs from major players like HBO, Freeform, Marvel, and Dreamworks took the stage together hoping to shed some light on the trend. High rates of IP recycling haven’t coincided with a lack of engaging originals (see: Stranger Things, Mad Men, Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul, The Americans, GLOW, etc.).

Evidently, the modern TV landscape offers room for both, so why the glut of familiar franchises? Everyone in attendance had plenty of theories.
“To start, it’s a risky business, and most of the stuff we develop just fails,” Marvel’s Grant Gish said. “But when you have a leg up—a great book, comic book, old movie, or TV show—it eliminates some of that.” Gish notes a known Marvel entity carries with it automatic audience awareness.

And if network execs remain conservative when greenlighting productions, assurances of an inherent audience can go a long way.
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