Saturday, March 30, 2019

Weekend Post

It's the end of the season clearance sale!

The TV season that is. 

If you've been watching coverage of NCAA March Madness (on CBS, TBS, TNT, and whatever TruTV is). or one of the other broadcast networks you've no doubt seen promos for exciting new shows premiering this month. 

Except in a few rare cases, these are the shows that networks are just burning off.   Don't expect to see anything great. 

When networks buy shows for the Fall Season in May (the Upfronts) they also buy mid-season back up shows.   They don't know where they're going to put them, but supposedly they like them and want them ready to go. 

Actually, in some cases a network will hold back a show they really love until mid-season because there will be less competition than in the Fall when everybody is rolling out tons of new product. 

Once a network picks up a series the production company usually goes right to work making them.  That way they'll be available should the network need it sooner than expected (there's usually one or two new Fall series that crash and burn immediately after take off), and in such a case the network might order more episodes of yours than just the initial six or thirteen or whatever they gave you. 

What that means is by November a network has a pretty good idea of how good all of their back-up shows are.  And invariably they fall out of love with one or three of them.   So those don't get scheduled in January; they get launched in March/April when the TV season is effectively over.  As a result these March shows have very little chance of getting renewed.   They have to spark like say THE MASKED SINGER (although that premiered months ago) or they're gone. 

So good luck to the shows premiering now.   You'll notice that sometimes networks will play "two brand new episodes back to back!"   That's a dead giveaway for burn-off.

Many of the actors in these March shows are already landing pilots for next season because it's a good bet their current show isn't coming back.    Like I said, it's a clearance sale. 

The networks are just marking time until the summer when they can load up their schedules with reality shows, cheesy game shows, and anything that can be hosted by Steve Harvey.    It's the cycle of life.

9 comments :

therealshell said...

I was alarmed to read that there may be an American version of Love Island, the UBER cheesy reality show from the UK. Reality shows like this one keep the Brits distracted from the fact that the country is in ruins.

https://www.itv.com/loveisland

blinky said...

I assume you are implying that the Last OG is DOA.

Myles Warden said...

TBS has weird cycles and different ways they view ratings. Also, this is the 2nd season for LAST OG and it gets a huge NETFLIX bump once the season is over and it gets sent there. It's probably safe.

Myles Warden said...

Speaking of new shows premiering, would love your thoughts on the Cheers-like "Abby's."

bbison said...

Last OG is in its second season and isn't going anywhere.

Unkystan said...

Ken,
I was watching Abby’s last week and was wondering...I have never heard of a three camera sit-com filmed outdoors before (and with an audience). I don’t see the point...or any advantage. Would you ever want to tackle a directing assignment like this and (besides weather and noise distractions) how would you handle it?

Mike Bloodworth said...

For me, this has always brought up the question, (Please excuse my bitterness & cynicism) with all of the proven writers and potential shows out there, these are the best they can come up with?! What is the thought process of the TV executives when they say, we'll buy this mediocre show over these good ones. Or could it be that the talent pool is so shallow that there really are only two or three good shows a season and the rest are crap. And of the new, unproven writers are they not being considered? Or, is it that they're not as good or innovative as they think they are? If not, and I've ranted about this before, what are kids being taught in colleges and writing classes? I would love to see some of the rejected scripts to see if the people in charge made the right decisions or if their heads are up their asses.
M.B.

Frank Beans said...

Just to state the obvious--networks want predictability over quality, every time. They are in the business of selling ad revenue, not Bringing Fine Art To The Masses. They're not in that altruistic line of work. If it brings in 18-34 year old eyeballs, it's in.

It's a small miracle when a show with actual depth of content gets through. I don't think it's going to happen on network television any time soon.

Terrence Moss said...

Deregulation has killed TV.