Title Changes That Work

I haven’t had a lot to say yet about the summer series Rookie Blue (ABC’s entry in the Canadian Cop Show sweepstakes), though TV-Eh has had a lot of good coverage of it. The show debuted last night to pretty good ratings, retaining most of its lead-in.

One thing I can say about it now is that if it continues to do well, it will be an example of a show whose last-minute title change helped, rather than hurt it. I’ve had the feeling for a while that when a show goes on the air with a title that’s different from the one that was originally announced, it’s a warning sign: Kelsey Grammer has been in two flop shows in a row that were announced under one title and aired with another; and as I’ve said repeatedly, Knights of Prosperity was doomed as soon as it was no longer called Let’s Rob Mick Jagger. But sometimes a title change is necessary. This show was originally picked up by ABC when it was called Copper, a title that is problematic for a number of reasons: it sounds like it might be about metal, for one thing. Rookie Blue implies that the show is about young and beautiful people (well, if they’re young, they’ve got to be beautiful; it’s TV, after all) and implies a kinship to that other “Blue” show that used to be on ABC. (Plus having “blue” in the title always implies something dirty, even if the show itself isn’t.) People stayed around last night to “sample” the show; I can’t see that they’d have stayed around in the same numbers for a show called “Copper.” It’s hard to say definitively what kind of title does and does not work, but I think it does help for the title to imply something fun or appealing.