8 Lessons We Learned from the 2013-2014 TV Season

Year-round programming strategies notwithstanding, we've reached the conclusion of the traditional September-to-May television season. While some things always seem to stay the same (The Big Bang Theory might outlive us all), each year manages to bring significant change to the television landscape, in one way or another. So just like we did at the end of the 2012-2013 TV season, we thought it'd be useful to look back at the last nine(ish) months and take stock of what we learned in 2013-2014. Here are the eight big takeaways:


1. The broadcast model is really struggling—even at CBS


As broadcast network ratings have existed in a perpetual free fall over the last half-decade, CBS long remained an outlier, the last bastion for hope in the traditional honest-to-goodness broadcasting model. While ABC, Fox, and NBC propped themselves up with Shonda Rhimes and singing competitions, CBS somehow managed to churn out new hits in both the comedy and drama realms. That wasn't the case in 2013-2014, however. No, 2013-2014 was very different, and for CBS, probably kind of scary. 

In the all-important 18-to-49 demographic, CBS's ratings are down a troubling 17 percent from the 2012-2013 season. Most folks would agree that ABC (down 5 percent from 2012-2013) and Fox (on par with last year, somehow) had disastrous seasons, and yet their ratings didn't fall nearly as far as CBS's did. Now, it's important to note that A.) CBS still tops its competitors in total viewers, B.) It's pretty easy to experience gaudy percentage drops when your ratings are relatively high to begin with, and C.) CBS still has The Big Bang Theoryall 14 NCISes, and solid ratings performers all over the schedule. 

But consider this wild fact: CBS is only bringing back TWO shows from its 2013-2014 freshman class: The Millers and Mom. The other six newbies—IntelligenceHostagesWe Are MenThe Crazy OnesBad Teacher, and Friends With Better Lives—have all been dispatched to the big Netflix queue in the sky. Two out of eight doesn't elicit full-on abject horror, but when we're talking about CBS, it's close—especially when both The Millers and Mom could have very easily been canceled based on their performance (The Millers is almost certainly riding the ratings coattails of Big Bang).

Perhaps the most telling pieces of evidence we have about CBS is what the network did at the Upfronts this year. First, the Eyeball picked up two more additions to the lucrative, old CSI and NCIS franchises—or, as I see it, the CBS equivalent of reaching for a binky. Second, CBS shifted its schedule around more than expected, and much more than in recent memory, which is a signal that Les Moonves and Nina Tassler know that things need to improve, and fast. 

CBS will probably be fine, especially because ABC seems dead-set on developing and airing some of the worst shows on an annual basis and because Fox is hamstrung by music competition fatigue and its failed comedy expansion. But you never know with these things. NBC, our collective punching bag, was in a tailspin for a decade before finally turning things around this season on the back of a few big hits. 

Full disclosure: TV.com is owned by CBS.


2. But the struggles aren't entirely due to terrible programming


It's easy to point to declining ratings on broadcast and assume that the numbers are low because the shows aren't any good, or because can't stand up to cable. However, I don't really think that was the case this season. While there were a few awful new series out there—We Are MenSuper Fun NightDadsHostages—many of the freshmen were at least mediocre and watchable in a very inoffensive way. 

If we acknowledge that the pilot system is a broken, dumb crapshoot, any season that yields Sleepy HollowTrophy WifeEnlistedThe Originals, Brooklyn Nine-NineThe BlacklistReign, and Almost Human should be labeled some kind of success. Even second-tier stuff like About a BoyGrowing Up FisherThe Tomorrow PeopleResurrection, and Mom was pretty good. Mix those in with creatively strong returning series like HannibalThe Good WifeParenthood, Person of InterestThe Mindy ProjectArrow, and a dozen other rock-solid, shows and I'd argue that broadcast television is in a good place. People just aren't watching it how they used to.


3. Football is television's most popular—and most valuable—show


Okay, so we probably already knew this. But now there's even more evidence! Of course NBC's Sunday Night Football ended the season as the highest-rated show on television, and of course CBS will continue to screw up our DVRs on Sunday nights because it's willing to let football overrun into primetime. However, in 2013-2014, we learned that the broadcast networks are willing to let football hold court during the week as well, as CBS put in the big-money downpayment for the rights to eight weeks' worth of Thursday Night Football. And might I remind you that those eight games will be simulcast on the NFL Network? That's right, football is SO valuable that CBS is willing to air simulcasts, in primetime, on the most profitable night of the week. That's nuts.


4. Time slots don't matter, unless the networks decide they do


The more you follow the television industry, the more you realize that network executives are always going to make the decisions they want to make, using whatever logic they want. As viewers, we want to think that a good show that's doing okay in a poor time slot might have a better chance of survival, because we assume that decision-makers recognize all the same things that we do about a show and the context in which it airs. While there's little doubt that people like Fox's Kevin Reilly or ABC's Paul Lee see what we see—and that they know so much more—it doesn't always translate in the ways we would like. 

In 2013-2014, Reilly and Fox scheduled Enlisted for Friday nights, delayed its premiere from fall until January, and then pulled the show from the schedule because of underperformance. Wait, you mean you're telling me that a show stashed on Fridays behind the low-rated and soon-to-be-canceled Raising Hope isn't going to thrive? WHAT? 

Similarly, over at ABC, Paul Lee slotted Trophy Wife into the network's rebooted Tuesday lineup. The logic made sense at first: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a success at 8pm, which would buoy The Goldbergs, which in turn would help Trophy Wife. Well, you know how that went. Trophy Wife limped through the season in a problematic time slot, all while ABC refused to try scheduling the show behind Modern Family. While the post-Modern Family slot hasn't exactly been automatic gold, it made little sense for ABC to keep Super Fun Night and Mixology in that time period while Trophy Wife, the most obvious potential Modern Family partner in five years, was never even given the chance. 

In these two instances (and surely many others), the networks set their shows up to fail, then sent up the proverbial white flag when it actually happened. So is there any point left in time slot strategy or schedule flexibility?


5. Big and/or familiar properties don't automatically lead to success


Hollywood is always looking for the path of least resistance with regard to drawing viewers, and we're currently in the midst of an era defined by franchises, adaptations, reboots, etc. This season, the networks trotted out a number of notable projects that were either based on or affiliated with something else: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.DraculaIronsideOnce Upon a Time in WonderlandBad TeacherThe Tomorrow PeopleRake, Chicago P.D.About a Boyand The Originals. A few of those series have been granted a second season, but none of them really lit the world on fire between September and May. 

If we read the tea leaves a bit, this season's failed franchise-y projects suggest that the networks should quit rebooting really old projects that trade in nostalgia (IronsideThe Tomorrow People), or hoping that recent iterations of any given franchise will immediately continue to pay dividends (Bad TeacherWonderlandRake). 

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was obviously the most high-profile project in this lot, and its struggles illustrated that no level of box office success can convince people to change the channel to ABC every week, especially during periods where the show doesn't connect to the films, or when it's not that good to begin with. There are a number of reasons to keep mining franchises for more content, but the networks need to be smarter about it. 


6. Everybody—and I mean everybody—wants a piece of the original scripted programming pie


This trend has been building for years and years, but it does feel like we've passed some kind of point of no return with the number of networks and channels and online platforms producing original scripted programming. A decade ago, the broadcast networks had to deal with HBO, Showtime, and the occasional solid entry from the big cable channels like FX, USA, and TNT. Now, Sundance is making some of the best television around, and Discovery is putting huge amounts of money into projects like Klondike. Guys, WGN America is making scripted TV now. WGN AMERICA. And that's just on the actual boob tube. On the web, it's Netflix and House of Cards, it's Amazon and a dozen pilots for our viewing pleasure, it's Hulu and its co-productions, it's freaking Crackle and Yahoo and Microsoft/Xbox, it's a dozen new companies every week. 

This glut of additional original programming is going to have a substantial impact on the industry. Not only is it already harder for the broadcast networks to compete for viewers and talent, but there's also a chance that the TNTs and the Amazons of the world will buy less syndicated (or library) content. Why spend millions of dollars on Castle reruns when you can try to pump out your own Castle rip-off?


7. Embracing the silliness of your show's premise is always the way to go


At this time last year, the most outrageous two series appeared to be Sleepy Hollow and Reign. And here we are 12 months later, and not only have they both procured second seasons, they're among the more well-regarded offerings of the 2013-2014 season. While I wouldn't name either show as one of my absolute favorites, I think we can track some (though not all) of their respective successes to how clearly they commit to their weird and silly storylines. Flat-out owning what doesn't appear to work on paper goes a long way toward improving the show—because everyone understands the tone and purpose—while making it easier for the audience to give you the benefit of the doubt. We want to laugh with these shows, not at them.


8. Unless you're The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family, comedy is now almost exclusively a niche business


I've hammered this drum a couple times over the past year, but the comedy situation isn't getting any better for the broadcast networks. Yes, we can all point to The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family as poster children for the triumph of loud, broad comedies, but at this point, we should really only be talking about The Big Bang TheoryModern Family's ratings aren't what they used to be, and we're now in year five of that show not producing another solid comedy performer in the 9:30pm time slot.

Across the five networks, the comedy outlook is bleak. ABC canceled six sitcoms (Back in the GameMixologyThe NeighborsSuburgatorySuper Fun Night, and Trophy Wife) in 2013-2014. CBS canceled four (Bad Teacher, The Crazy Ones, Friends With Better Lives, and We Are Men) and lost How I Met Your Mother. Fox ditched five (American Dad! which is departing for TBS, plus DadsEnlistedRaising Hope, and Surviving Jack) and never aired two others (Murder Police and Us & Them). And NBC said goodbye to five as well (CommunityGrowing Up FisherThe Michael J. Fox ShowSean Saves the World, and Welcome to the Family). Even some of the projects that survived, and that we love here on TV.com—Parks and Recreation, New GirlThe Goldbergs, even Mom—have relatively low ratings. Less than three million people watched the New Girl finale live! It's crazy to think that Fox built an entire comedy block around that show less than two years ago. 

This season really showed that the problem isn't that all network comedies are bad, or that people don't like them; it's more that comedy has become so niche-ified that very few sitcoms are going to lure that old-school, massive live viewership. Our comedy tastes are much more specific and individualized and after a decade or more of shows that appeal to more personalized tastes, we don't want to go back. ABC and NBC both tried to reestablish the importance of the family comedy this year, but simply not enough people are going to care deeply enough about shows like Growing Up Fisher to keep it around. It was a fine, well-meaning program that no one is ever going to create a hashtag campaign for—not like they did Community

Plus, comedies aren't EVENT PROGRAMMING; maybe you feel like you can wait until five episodes of The Mindy Project build up on the DVR without being spoiled. With more personalized viewer tastes and fewer reasons to watch immediately, the networks are going to have a hard time convincing us that we need to watch comedy live. Sadly, this trend will probably continue into the 2014-2015 season.


What nuggets of wisdom have YOU gleaned from the 2013-2014 season?


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Sorry, Reign is considered good TV?
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Well, it was better than last season, so that's a start. Not all of the shows that got cancelled deserved it, of course, but such is the way of the world. Overall, I'm very happy with TV these days, and there are still plenty of good things to watch year round. I think what should have been learned is that we should no longer have two seasons--Regular and Summer--but three. They need to have a regular season "A" and a "B", because long hiatuses kill decent shows. Nothing I lost this year was a big deal to me, and that's a good thing I reckon. Oddly, the one I'll miss most is ABC's the Neighbors. And the one that got to stay I love most was Nashville. Revolution became somewhat respectable, but I won't miss it, now that it's gone. NCIS and CSI till your eyes bleed, that's the stuff...
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-Your season finale must be at least twice as long as a regular episode, possibly spread over two weeks, if you want anyone to notice it.
-Penultimate episodes now get as much hype as season finales.
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Aw, you just like saying "penultimate, and so do I:-)
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You now have the penultimate reply Muderboy :)

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That Cote de Pablo & the character Ziva David are far more popular than Mark Harmon, Gary Glasberg & Les Moonves believed. More than 10 months later and more fans then ever are demanding her return. Gary & Mark wanted the show to go back to a season 1 feel, but with that comes season 1 demos. Oops. Also that Gary Glasberg cannot develop a character that fans like, Ellie Bishop most recently. Even non-Ziva fans are asking for Bishop to go. Gary & Mark choose to keep her, so fans are going instead. NCIS is no longer the #1 show or even the #1 drama. That left with Cote de Pablo. Ziva & TIVA brings the fans.
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And how exactly would you have kept Cote de Pablo on the show; chain her to a desk? It was made quite clear that she was the one who wanted to go, and even a proposed raise wasn't enough of a lure to keep her around. Deal with it, because the producers have done so in the manner that they saw fit.
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to keep shows on that many of us like, find a way of charging us directly to offset the lack of the larger numbers they need. A buck a show would create millions.
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Producers aren't afraid to kill some of their main characters, Allison Argent, Will Gardner and Damon also..
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Hollywood just pumps out the same old Social Engineering liberal swill anyway. Hollywood has become the sewage dump for society. Blacks, Homosexuals and feminists have taken over the industry and make America look like a third world country to the rest of the world.


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It's ok to voice your opinion...hey I am all for voicing how you feel. But when you say something with venom that can hurt someone then no...you insinuated that blacks, homosexuals and feminist as sewage dumps. That is nothing but hate. When as a society will we stop spewing all this hate...and stop using any type of forum to do so.....yes Hollywood may be a sewage dump but blacks, homosexuals or feminists have little to do with that.....
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no your head is up your ass deary.....He still is a fucking idiot...but yes he has a right to voice his opinion...but on the other side I also have a right to voice my opinion....what I should have said that was a fucking ignorant statement.....since I don't know him personally nor would I ever want to. But in the same line of things..who and the hell pulled on your chain....I really am getting tired of trolls trying to stir up things when it didn't even involve them in the first place....so piss off.....
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The real problem is he's not saying it with venom. He's saying it with poo for brains.
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Still fucking stupid. Assholes.
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I'm getting tired of venom getting cut from this site but base level drooling retardation being allowed through.

It's unfortunate.
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Except "drooling R-word" is just as bad to say....
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Staff
big ups to SOCIAL ENGINEERING
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I half agree with you, and thats the closest thing to support you'll get. Everyone mindlessly follows hollywood/celebrities, and they like to attack you to try to deter you from sharing your opinion.
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Network TV FAIL, Cable TV WIN.
They just haven't learn't from Cable TV. I'd rather watch a 'bad' B grade cable show over a 'good' A grade network show.
At least cable will show adult content and explore new concepts, while networks are still stuck making 80's PG rated shows no one is interested in, unless their spectacular, and those shows are 1 in a network tv million.
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I didn't learn anything. The world of TV production is still as confusing to me as ever. Or maybe that's a lesson; "I learned that I didn't learn anything." TV is still as unpredictable as ever. What worries the most is the sustainability of TV productions. An increasing number of TV/on-line shows are competing over smaller shares of the cake, while costs are rising. At some point there will come a point when making TV is simply not sustainable, not when the costs of episodes are in the millions. It's a shame it the quality of TV, or the amount of TV shows, will start dropping in the future if costs have to be cut.
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1. Never watch a new show again (especially a genre show on FOX).
2. Binge-watching is NOT the future - it's the here & now. DVRs & Netflix prove it every time
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CBS should've kept The Crazy Ones and gotten rid of the crapfest known as The Millers!!! Surviving Jack and Enlisted deserved more of a chance. Sucks about Community, but it was expected. Growing Up Fisher should've been given more of a chance, and Parks and Rec should never have been! Modern Family is hit or miss nowadays, and Trophy Wife should still be around. The people running the networks are morons!!!
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Commercials can be decieving. After seeing this seasons Commercials for the new shows, I thought Intelligence would be the series i would keep watching after it's cancellation and Almost Human would be a torture to watch. It turned out i had it backwards.
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The main thing I learned is that I need to stop expecting any different behavior from the networks. They're just going to keep making idiotic decisions and keep trying the same old thing.

We've had this discussion before. The TV landscape is vastly different that it was 10 years ago and as long as the basic cable channels want to try their hand at original programming and we have the streaming services starting to throw their towels in the ring, it's going to continue to change. The networks are either playing dumb, taking their sweet time to actually address the changing climate, or they are just that oblivious to what is going on.

I'm curious to see this discussion next year, assuming that Fox keeps with its plan for year-round programming. Do we see the otehr networks jump on board or will it implode?
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"we have the streaming services starting to throw their towels in the ring,"

I think you have the wrong metaphor. When you throw your towel into the ring, it means you give up.
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Thanks for pointing that one out. This is why I shouldn't try and type things or think with a migraine. :)
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Actually, she mixed up two metaphors:
"Throw your name into the ring" meaning to try out something and "Throw in the towel" meaning to give up.
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You haven't got it, either. It's "throw your hat into the ring" to suggest that you're willing to take a chance.
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What I learned this year is what I learn every year......reality TV is a joke that puts no talent,zero charisma,unlikable morons with the personality of a dogshit on TV but good scripted shows with talented actors get cancelled before their time.When was the last time you bought a CD from an American Idol winner,or a cookbook from the winner of Master Chief.Not me,don't care.But that's what sells,a professional chef screaming at a contestant for over cooking eggs,or Kim Kardashian complaining she can't catch a break while she relaxes in her giant posh home,never having to go to work and don't get me started on Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty.To me,why would I want to follow someone else's dream come true while I sit there on the couch doing nothing with my life.Better to go out there and follow your own dreams or meet interesting and intelligent people and having real-life experiences rather than seeing others do that on reality TV.
Unfortunately,TV execs care more of keeping trash reality shows on TV for as long as possible because it's cheap to do.But 'real' reality is that people work hard at their jobs and want to come home and watch good scripted shows that entertain you and grab your imagination.I don't blame people for watching reality TV,after all,it's junk food TV and it's an addiction,but TV execs are digging their own graves if they don't get in touch with 'reality' and listen to what fans of scripted series want.There's only so much patience a viewer has before they move on to something else for entertainment.I,myself,feeling frustrated from seeing my shows get cancelled before their time or wasn't happy with the new crop of new shows,became a gamer.I still got my TV series to watch but when nothing else is on,then I rely on my video games to entertain me.Or I simply go out and hang out with friends.
Television's future is in jeopardy if TV execs keep taking viewers for granted.The clock is ticking and they are running out of time.
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nicely done. I'll add 1 more.

9. Supernatural needs to end.
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Season 8 of Supernatural had one of the most epic cliffhanger ending and then they shit all over it with the worst piece of shit case of the week season ever, instead of having a solid story good story the whole season... When a show is this old the only people still watching are the once that want to see their story to continue not stagnate on lame ass cases that don't matter at all. They should stop catering to those that havn't watched every single episode and show their true fans the respect they deserved... man that was longwinded, but I care and seeing other series bloom. even on the same network just gets me more upset.
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Brookyln 99 & Goldbergs are great comedies
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Trophy Wife was better.

I like the Goldbergs, but it needs to establish an identity that doesn't seem a ripoff of the Wonder Years. And, as a rough contemporary of Adam Goldberg, I can point to any number of timing inaccuracies.
For example, they were all fans of "The Goonies" (1985) before "Return of the Jedi" came to theaters (1983).
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they aren't in any particular order. it's always 1980-something. i dont feel it's a rip off of the wonder years at all.
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As stated on The Goldbergs, the stories are told from Andy's memory and he doesn't get all the dates and facts right.
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The 80's were just as long ago for me as they are to Mr. Goldberg (and his team of writers), and I remember the difference.
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The character Adam Goldberg, not the actual person and his writers. It's the reason the show is explicitly stated as taking place in 1980-something.

Jesus Christ man are you being purposefully thick?
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Adam, not Andy of course.
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Broadcast TV has to compete with the spectacular Cable shows, the internet and video games for the entertainment dollar. It doesn't help that all Broadcast TV can do is take one show, make 17 exactly like it and then cancel anything outside of that formula. Never give a show a chance to grow an audience, just change it's timeslot and cancel it. They're dinosaurs. I looked at the fall preview, I see 5 interesting shows that maybe 1 will survive the season only to be cancelled next season and about 30 huge hunks of whale turds that only a moron would approve for the primetime schedule.
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Community doesn't fit your complaint... it is certainly different from anything else on TV, and NBC gave it five seasons, and never tried it in a different timeslot after they sent it out to die bravely against TBBT.
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They moved it in the first season from 9:30PM to 8PM and they selectively changed it's starting date every season based on whims.
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They ran about six episodes at 9:30 before they dropped it to 8:00. Then in year two, CBS moved TBBT to the same timeslot and NBC never gave Community a different timeslot, even when it was obvious that although Community's fans were fiercely loyal, there weren't enough of them to make Community a strong challenger to TBBT. They just kept stringing us along.
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There are not really many good (or any, even) answers in this article to the points made.
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Sole nugget of wisdom I've gleaned from the 2013-2014 season (and probably the previous years too): DVRs and the internet killed the broadcasting model. Nielsen better come up asap with a better system than their outdated 'boxes' to calculate the average viewership of a show; and advertisers must find a way to properly used those 21th century communication tools to get to the viewers, 'cause, at the end of the day, advertisement is the whole raison d'être of the television industry, and right now they are not getting their money's worth.
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I agree. DVRs have killed the whole concept of timeslots. I don't even know when my shows really come on. They are all DVRed and I will usually binge watch several episodes. In fact, I binge watched most of this season of DaVinci's Demons today.
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Oh and I found out Nielsen etc only counts DVR watching if it occurs 24 hours after the show airs. How about just counting me as a viewer if I bother DVRing the show.
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" How about just counting me as a viewer if I bother DVRing the show"
Nielsen isn't interested in whether you're watching the show or not. They're figuring out how many people are seeing the commercials. If you aren't seeing the commercials, then the advertisers who pay for the whole thing don't really care what you do. Watch, don't watch, DVR, whatever, Nielsen is there to tell the advertisers how many people are seeing their ads.
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"14 NCISs" - snarf. Awesome.

Great point about the comedies - I keep them stashed in the Hulu queue for nights when there's just a bit of time before we want to go to bed. Even my beloved Community fell into the space-filler category this year. You can binge watch 4 comedies like it's nothing, and if you miss an episode - eh, most of them aren't really serials. I wouldn't dream of paying iTunes for a Mindy Project that expired like I would for a missed episode of Person of Interest.
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I would consider that wild CBS fact, but the reality is that the 2 they kept aren't worth keeping either. They stunk at developing new programming last year, and it looks like they're going to stick with that plan again this year. Their shows are all aging out and they have no idea what to develop that will maintain their audience demand. The new NCIS and CSI spinoffs both looked terrible in their backdoor pilots. CBS will be in trouble by this time next year, and half its existing shows will be slated for cancellation within 3 years, that's my prediction.

Terrible programming, terrible marketing, terrible scheduling - I'd say the struggles are due to that. And how does Arrow factor as "creatively strong"?

Sports still don't matter to the conversation IMO, they are a thing that happens, the light up different regions in different ways and then they disappear, they are a quick boost of ratings followed by no network loyalty or return.

Time slots always matter, as do following programs, lead-ins, and counter-programming. Why the nets tried to pretend they didn't and turned their schedules into swiss cheese, I don't know.

Was Dracula a familiar property beyond the name? Nothing I heard about it said it was. Here's the thing, shows need vision, passionate creators and showrunners who want to say something, and it shouldn't matter substantially to a network whether it's new or a reboot. However, the nets create these passionless, drab, "just find someone to run it" reboots of existing properties and get a mediocre product in return.

It amazes me that original scripted programming, something that a decade ago was deemed dead in the water thanks to the influx of cheap, popular reality programming, is now found on every outlet possible. I blame computers, man.

No, embracing the silliness of your premise CAN be the way to go, but look at Almost Human with all its brainless future-cops material, the show's Ken Doll scene being the pinnacle, that show's silliness helped it fall flat on its face. Then again, maybe the message there is that if you make a dumb show, go whole-hog or go home, because Almost Human really didn't go whole-hog, that's for sure.

Perhaps sitcoms are a niche business, but perhaps the problem is that there's no voice for programming anymore, ABC tries to be the female-friendly network and the family-friendly network, CBS tries to be the edgy network, Fox tries to be the edgy and young network, NBC tries to tread water as they flail about wildly with no clue as to how to develop a cohesive schedule and marketing plan. The Big Bang Theory is on top not because it's niche, but because it takes its niche and makes it successfully available to others, making it broad programming. Other shows fail to do that, and the networks don't realize that developing a show means creating a market AND creating a series for it.
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" CBS will be in trouble by this time next year, and half its existing shows will be slated for cancellation within 3 years, that's my prediction."

That's not nearly as bold a prediction as you seem to think... it's true of ALL the networks, based on history. Very few shows last very long. Sure, Friends ran for 10 years. How long for Perfect Couples? Lost ran for 6, but FlashForward stumbled through 1.
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CBS hasn't been in trouble in a while, they've been solid - even making it to "America's most-watched network" a few years in a row - for the last decade thanks to a strong list of dependable shows. But they've let those shows age out without much new development coming in, so as we get closer to more shows ending like NCIS and CSI, there aren't enough strong performers being groomed for those slots. Even NCIS:LA is getting up there in years, I think 6 now. And yet they don't have anything strong on the horizon, they're doing ok with Elementary but that's all I can think of, their portfolio of dramas is aging out while their portfolio of sitcoms now is one show that's rock solid and a handful of middling-performers.

So while ALL of the networks are showing gaps in their own ways, I see this as a bigger shift for CBS because they didn't screw up the way NBC or Fox did... until now.
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I think you're missing the point. CBS has had declining viewership over the last decade, just like the other networks have, for largely the same reasons... people have other choices now. Yes, CBS had the biggest piece of the pie for several years... but every year, the pie was smaller.
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I didn't miss any point, CBS total viewership was up in the 2012-2013 season, not down, your argument is based too heavily on opinion, not fact.
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Short version: too many cooks spoiling the broth, and most don't even know how to cook, they were hired because they know how to put on an apron.
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I think seasons should be 13 eps like in other countries. Good shows would rotate all year long and that way also actors would be free for other projects, movies, theatre, etc. Viewers would have more variety and hopefully more quality too.
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The problem is that shows lose momentum if they're off the air for half the year. (13 new episodes + 13 reruns = 6 months)
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Well, I don't see how Downtown Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock... to mention some lose momentum... I think Canada does the same isn't it true? (Motive, Cracked, Saving Hope, Rookie Blue, Artic Air, Republic of Doyle, etc.)
As I said the idea is that there are 3 or 4 sets of series per year that rotate... instead of taking the one "main series" on and off every 4 weeks or so, doing reruns and getting a lot of boring episodes...
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You didn't list a single show that I watch. So, zero momentum.
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That is exactly what I was thinking too! I would love to see networks offer original programming for at least 48 weeks a year. You can have 4 different series of 12 episodes or 3 series of 16 episodes. I find that as long as there are good TV offerings throughout the year you barely notice the long hiatus for your favourite series. However, something like this would require bold moves by the networks to order enough new series to fill a year. In the end, the big 4 networks would rather play it safe and order long winded seasons of established series or spinoffs than gamble on entirely new content.
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In that case I am afraid regular broadcasting is in deep sh$t... What else can we say? It is not those who are stronger that survive but those who adapt...
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"That is exactly what I was thinking too! I would love to see networks offer original programming for at least 48 weeks a year."

That's wishul thinking. You already have a couple of networks that don't even schedule a full prime-time schedule.

If the networks had to schedule 48 weeks of original programming, it would cost them far more money, and they're seeing shrinking profits, not rising. They went to reality shows because they're cheaper to produce.

Then, there's the studios. Studios LOSE money selling programs to networks. They can make it up by subsequently selling the successful shows in syndication... but you can't sell a 12-episode series in syndication.

Bottom line, to get 48 weeks of original programming, you're going to get a lot less scripted programming and a lot more Hollywood Game Night.
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Three factors as in the first lead to the second and the third
1- TV Executives do not have any patience

2- People do not want to invest in a show that gets canceled after one season. Thus, lower ratings for every other show, every time a good show gets cancelled. This happened to me after cancellation of Awake.

I am not even in the US to count as a viewer BUT I can count on the human aspect of things that we do not want to invest in a show unless we are sure.

The truth is JUST because a show doesn't meet the viewer count BUT has potential and NEEDS time to develop, it gets canceled.

3- Since we live in a fast (food, TV, Movie, etc) world, and as I said in factor number two, we do not want to invest when we are not sure. There is a question of how do we become sure? we read the four episode reviews, listen to critics, check out the comments and so on.

It will take the same amount of time as watching them if not more, plus some of us will watch too, but what this definitely means is that the writings can impact us, can direct us and guide us towards a certain pattern of things we should be liking and watching.

This is aside from the imported shows, branching out successful franchises, developing more of the same genre i.e vampires, witches, serial killers, reality TV.

So not only the people in charge are impatient, they are copy cats, they ran out of creativity, imagination and original ideas.


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"I am not even in the US to count as a viewer BUT I can count on the human aspect of things"

Since the networks are not making any money off you, why should they care about your opinion?
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why did you?
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The networks and cable need to find a new model. Very few people believe the "more channels is better" concept. In the past year, I've watched less than a dozen channels. And most of what I watched was delayed with the use of my DVR. Besides sports and news, I haven't watched anything live in more than a year. When you look at the channel list on your cable/satelite, you might have hundreds of channels, but an awful lot of them have the same parent corporation. I really think they'd produce better content if they'd scrap 3/4 of those channels and focus on making a few channels that are much better. With the current model, that won't work well, but that's why revenue models have to change. Until they do that, people will continue to move towards online streaming at an ever-increasing rate.
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I agree. I don't remember the last show I watched "live". My wife watches Scandal "live" only because if she doesn't her facebook feed will disclose the plot. All my shows are DVRed and most I wait halfway through the season to watch them because I'm so busy. I also hate starting a new show only to have it cancelled. I *loved* Dracula and Almost Human. Both gone. At least they didn't end on serious cliff hangers. I can count the number of channels I watch regularly. AMC (for The Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels & Mad Men). FX for Sons of Anarchy, Fox for Sleepy Hollow and SyFy (Who never met a good show that couldn't be cancelled). I watch a few shows on CBS (Elementary & The Mentalist). There you have it. Besides Football and Tennis and the news, my entire viewership despite an ungodly # of channels and an outrageous cable bill boils down to 2 network stations (now that Dracula and Almost Human) are cancelled and the rest is cable. I really wish Network TV would get with the program and start playing some original stuff. Honestly, I'd rather have just network tv and Internet access and call it a day.
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I agree, most of the channels on cable/satellite are junk. Unfortunately they are here to stay because they are so cheap to operate. Many of the specialty channels or sister stations are run by minimal staff and computer automation. They probably don't make much money if all they offer is commentary, pre-recorded stuff and syndicated series.
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I have learned that no one really knows what will take off and what won't. In addition to all of the cancellations, the fact of the matter is that AOS was supposed to be the big show of the year. Instead, it wasn't; that honor went to other shows (Blacklist, Resurrection, Sleepy Hollow, etc). The point is that nothing is ever for sure.
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Executives know nothing as usual. TV viewing has changed but they are stuck in the 80s.
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You know nothing Executive Snows!
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Ygritte should punish them.
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The one lesson I've learned is that network televison is dead. I don't think I've watched more than 2 shows a year for the past 5 years. Lame, unfunny comedies and boring dramas with the same tired premise done over and over again has made me happy there are cable networks.
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The corpse is kicking. There's still piles of money to be made from broadcast networks.
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I watch almost exclusively short-season original programming (10-13 episodes) on cable and broadcast networks. It's difficult to wait a year (or longer) for the next season to air but it means that there is little filler, weak episodes created to fulfill a 22 episode commitment.

When I do watch broadcast programming, it was for programs like Agents of SHIELD, Person of Interest, The Tomorrow People, Intelligence, Believe and Unforgettable, and, unfortunately, I believe only AoS and POI were picked up for another season. I thought those were all good programs but it seems now that if a program isn't an instant hit, there is no patience for an audience to develop. There is less pressure on cable, where an original series can receive 2-4 million viewers and still be considered respectable. So, that's where much of the more creative work is occurring.
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I think the problem is, the network execs have no idea how to create a following. They throw some crap up in the air, point a fan at it and see what sticks. Instead they should 1. work towards building hype for a show using non-traditional media. 2. Recognize that folks under 25 pretty much only watch stuff on their computers for the most part (My 18 & 20 year old daughters & 19 year old son will sit in their rooms and stream stuff from the DVR or off Netflix and Hulu to their laptops rather than walk into the living room) 3. Build some buzz for a show using social media *while* its on the air. 4. HAVE SOME GD PATIENCE!
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Unforgettable is essentially a summer show - so it starts its third season on June 29th :)
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How about: Limited (about 13) episode runs may be the way of the future.
Sleepy Hollow was given a limited run and turned out to be a success. Dracula had only 10 episodes, and despite failure was still allowed to run it's full course. Unless a show really sticks, there's no need to cancel a limited run show. And allowing a show to be given a chance tends to lead to less upset viewers, especially if you can wait until fans forget about the show before you cancel it. If a show is a hit it can be renewed for a full season next year, like Sleepy Hollow.
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The problem is that what networks pay for programming does not cover the actual production costs. Studios make their money from shows that are syndicated (sold directly to TV stations, to fill non-network hours.)
To be syndicated, a show generally needs to have enough episodes to be "stripped", or run every weekday. That takes a minimum of about 65 episodes, with 90 or more preferred. If a program can't be syndicated, they have to charge the network more for it, and the networks really, REALLY don't want to pay.

One of the ways the networks used to save money is by airing the same episodes twice. Today, with a vew exceptions, networks are moving away from airing reruns because they don't draw ratings (TBBT can win it's timeslot with a rerun. All others, exit by the side door.)
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I agree with you. NBC did not let Believe run its full course which was rather stupid because it was only a 13 episode season and had it aired all of the episodes, it would have ended after all of the other regular programming had ended. I'm upset that it wasn't renewed, but I don't understand why it wasn't allowed to finish airing with only 4 episodes left.
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They could still burn off the remaining episodes during the summer, if they were filmed. Although I'm seeing episode 10 listed for May 25th. So although it's cancelled, they do seem to be airing all the episodes. They just skipped a week or two.

My point was that limited run episodes are going to become more common for new shows, although that doesn't mean they might not cancel a show before the end of the run. 13 episodes fits nicely into a single box DVD set.
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"My point was that limited run episodes are going to become more common for new shows,"

This would require a fundamental change in the economics of television production. As it is now, networks don't pay enough for shows... the studios that produce them lose money on their network airings. They make money selling the shows in syndication, which requires at least 65 episodes for most shows, and 90-100 is the preferred minimum. If the studios make lots more of shows that are 13 episode one-season-and-done series, they'll go bankrupt.

Syndication as the true source of money for the studios is why there was the brief flirtation with 10-90 deals in the last couple of years. If the first pickup automatically gets you to syndication numbers, it takes some of the financial worry away from the studio.
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I never said that ALL seasons would be 13 episodes, only the first. You can still have a full 20+ episodes the second season. The only difference is in the first season order.

And networks aren't there to cater to producers. It's the problem of the producers to worry about making enough money. Networks don't care if the producer looses money.
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Do the math. With 24-episode seasons, you can syndicate if you last three years. With 13-episode seasons, you can't syndicate until you get 5 seasons.

And no, DVD sales and Netflix are NOT the new syndication. They are a potential revenue stream, but not even CLOSE to the same magnitude of $$$.

Seinfeld went into its first syndication deal for a billion dollars (with a "B"). Netflix is not paying a billon dollars for a single show, no matter how popular. If you are lucky enough to make $3 for each DVD set you sell, you've got to sell 333 million sets to get to a billion. That's one set per American. I know it SEEMS like Seinfeld DVD sets are everywhere, they did not sell 333 million sets. If a show lasts 13 episodes, it's not going to have a DVD set, much less sell millions of units. Except maybe for Firefly.

Finally, show producers get 13 episodes (and get paid for 13 episodes) whether the show airs 0, 1 or all 13 episodes.
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It's not about the show producers, it's about the networks. If a show is going to be cancelled, it would be cancelled anyways regardless of whether it's 13 episodes or not. Limited runs for new shows can still allow a show to be renewed for a full season and still get a long run. All it does is to make it easier for the networks to cancel a show without having to make a long commitment. And it also allows a show producer to get a full 13 episodes when they may have only got 8 or 9 before.

Besides, DVDs and Netflix are the new syndication. You don't need 65 or 100 episodes anymore. Under the old model, if a show got cancelled after 13 episodes it disappeared.
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Ad rates are set during sweeps. Therefore, you need shows that are drawing ratings during sweeps. It's no coincidence that nearly all network shows end their seasons within a few weeks of each other.

Believe wasn't drawing, so it didn't air during sweeps.
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"TV" is definitely changing. Like "18-49": Nielsen itself says half of the younger end are "Zero TV" households, watching shows online and not on a TV set. And cable TV/etc. is fading slowly, too. Why pay and suffer commercials? Especially when the alternative is to watch wherever and whenever you want (in crisp HD on an iPad or whatever).
Side note: It's no wonder networks love Twitter: it encourages viewers to watch live, it sells networks info on their twittering viewers' overall interests and lifestyles, and offers all twitterers up as very specific advertising targets.
Seasons: Yes, decades ago US TV had one season (latin for "time for sowing"), but now it's past time for networks to officially schedule other seasons. The hiatuses and random series start dates increasingly confuse many TV watchers because almost nobody sees the ads for new episodes & series during those long spells of reruns. Even great-grandparents are streaming other shows or watching other networks.
Shorter # of episodes: Orphan Black's 10 episode first season kept interest high, and is near-sprinting through season #2. It's an absolute joy not to have "filler" episodes or worse, "clip shows" (ones where the episode is mostly scenes from previous shows as flashbacks). Sure, all stories have their own best pace, and I enjoy those that take their time when necessary, but obvious filler is obvious.
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I'll agree with you that all stories have their own best pace. But fillers also have their purpose (not clip shows though, those are terrible). Not every episode needs to advance the story arc. Sometimes you need a breather. Some of the best episodes I've seen, especially of long running shows could be classified as fillers - and it's those episodes I go back to when I'm in the mood to re-watch, but don't want to binge watch most of a season because of a connecting story arc. Of course there are loads of terrible filler episodes out there. I'm not going to deny that - but the good ones let the viewer take a step back from a heavy myth arc, give us a good laugh in an otherwise tense storyline, give us a different POV, let a character shine that doesn't usually get the spotlight or have great one-off character that we'd love to see again (and sometimes do). Examples: SG-1' highest rated episode on tv.com is Window of Opportunity - a filler episode. Buffy has Once More With Feeling. Supernatural has the hilarious The French Mistake - if there ever was a show that really needed a well made filler it's that one. Person of Interest just had the great RAM a while ago (but POI is tricky - just when you think its just a filler episode - it turns everything on its head and the filler's suddenly extremely relevant to the plot).
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Well stated. In longer series and more traditional "villain of the week" TV, a filler every now and again can indeed provide welcome relief. The better ones seem to be those that explore the depth of the characters. (Somehow I was reminded of the one Lexx episode I ever saw, Brigadoom. .... Then I googled your Buffy episode and saw it's also that show's musical foray. Interesting.)

Also, just to clarify from my previous comment, I'm not suggesting an end to shows with 22+ episode seasons, or even the "villain of the week" approach. It's just that allowing shorter runs has many advantages and I'm glad American TV is finally starting to embrace that.
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Once More With Feeling is the very definition of the perfect musical episode. For one, because it makes perfect sense in-universe why people are randomly bursting into song (demon, of course). It also let's secondary characters shine and, what I thought was pure genius - the most compliated dance number with the most dancers and acrobatics - was not done by the main characters but by a random dude and the people from the street. Takes all of 8 seconds "They got the mustard out", indeed (it makes sense in context). What we get from the main characters is a lot of character insight and heartfelt (and heartbreaking) song moments.

Sorry if I rambled, I just really love Buffy. And this particular episode. I'd highly recommend this one and Hush from season 4, even if you've never really watched Buffy. Hush is Buffy's silent episode. They showcase two of the more unusual things Buffy has done and are some of the best the series has to offer.

And you're right, shorter runs do have their advantages. Look at Orphan Black, Banshee, Justified or Game of Thrones. But they also have one major drawback: you have to wait 9, somtimes 10 months for them to continue (or 2 years if it's Sherlock). I'd say quality over quantity every time, but I still think that both longer and shorter series have their merits. They just each have their own pros and cons. Network TV seems to have arrived at a point where they realize that too.
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Being someone that does not live in America (i'm from the UK) i always find it strange when you have your "mid-season breaks". I know that this has always been the way in america but it just seems pointless as people forget when things are due back on and can miss episodes because of this, Also that i've noticed that you at times have an episode one week but not the next, then it's back on again for two weeks then off again. How are people supposed to know whats on and when with all the breaks in the series, it's stupid and just easier to wait and watch it all online. There have been quite a few good series that have been cancelled due to "lack of ratings" and i wonder how much of that is more down to the way TV is scheduled as opposed to the programme itself ?????
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Mass-market TV is seasonal. In the summer, TV has lots of competition from activities that can be done outside, and even the best programs have a hard time drawing an audience. As a result, networks barely try to capture an audience and take whatever they can get.

In the fall, people are starting to spend more time indoors. This is the time period where networks intensely try to capture an audience for their programs. This is when networks trot out what they consider their best new shows. The competition is fierce.

In the winter, outside activities are few, and much of the month of December is occupied with holidays. Since large numbers of people are doing things other than sitting at home watching TV, the networks let up a bit. After the holidays, however, TV has little competition for peoples' time. Because of this, the networks coast, and offer reruns of their shows.

As the spring come around, the networks, trying to hold on to the audience they have, get fiercely competitive again. New shows are launched to replace any that failed the previous fall. Existing shows go to new episodes again, to try to keep people inside, glued to their televisions. Around Memorial Day, the networks give up and stop trying to keep people inside.

Cable channels, on the other hand, are starting to counterprogram the networks, offering new shows while the networks are in reruns, to ty to nibble away at the network audience. And every once in a while, a network runs a new show in the summertime and is startled when it finds an audience (Happy Endings).
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At the same time, programming is changing, because as you guys said, the audience is changing their habits. Not everyone wants to wait a week or two for another episode anymore, so a lot of other things come into play...
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Also, the Nielsen's sweeps periods still seem to be a thing in the US. (Someone tweeted they were doing their diary while watching The100 just last night.) Those are around 4 weeks approximately every November, February, and May (and July, according to Wikipedia). There's a strong correlation between new shows during these periods, and reruns outside them.
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The Neilsen sweeps are just an artifact of the seasonal nature of mass-market broadcasting. They're timed to the ends of each season I described above, and around sports seasons, as well (Baseball has a winner just before fall sweeps, football has a winner just before winter sweeps. Basketball and hockey season never actually end, so sweeps ignore them.
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I absolutely agree with you.
I believe shorter seasons, as you say, are a key factor to keep the audience hooked. It's happened to me before that the show I myself watch are sometimes full of filler episode through a season and I simply (as well as other viewers) stop watching. Where's the fun on a show that only keeps it interesting on season premieres, finales and mid-seasons?
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I grew up in a time where TV shows had 30 or more episodes a season. Sure, there was a lot of filler, but you grew to love the characters and couldn't wait to see what was coming up next week. Reruns were confined to the holidays and summers, but you didn't mind (too much) because you knew they'd be back with new shows very soon.

I hate these 13 week series where you have to wait 9 or more months to find out what's coming next. Unless a show is fantastic, and there's way too few of them, I'd just as soon forget they existed and watch something different. Now there are exceptions to that (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Homeland) but you'll notice I haven't listed any "network" shows there.
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But time's changed. Audience's changed. People don't watch TV the same way they used to. So the writing has to adapt. The broadcasting is still adapting because nowadays, the change is constant.

Hiatuses and breaks make the cliffhangers more spectacular. That's for the audience who wants to be mesmerized and sit around and wait for the next episode.
Broadcasting changes in every country and with today's social media, with every spoiler on your timeline or your facebook wall, piracy is growing as well... and the audience gets used to that sense of speed. You download, you watch, you don't wait. Not for commercials and you most certenely don't wait for THEIR schedule, you watch when you want.

My point is, you can't think TV ,like you watched it some years ago. It's a never ending change...
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A traditional season was 26 episodes, each rerun once, giving 52 airings of the show per year. However, networks pre-empt even popular shows for event programming, so the typical full-season order dropped to 24, and then 22 episodes. There may be a trend to drop further to 20 or 21 episodes, particularly in shows that are ordered for a full season at a time.
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You totally made me think of Castle, with the annoying way it forgets the "Beckett's mom" story line until it needs a cliffhanger. But I like Castle despite that, because at heart it's a fun (sometimes silly fun) character show. I guess it's like the article's #7, "embrace your show's silliness." That's a writing thing, but I would add that it also requires good acting to sell it.
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Castle started with a strong case-of-the-week plan, and has added more serialized storytelling as it has aged. I'm not entirely sure that's an improvement. (I'm not a fan of huge secret conspiracies as a dramatic device, because it impacts my willingness to suspend disbelief.)
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I think the notion of shorter seasons is catching on fast. Even shows that got longer season like Once Upon a Time or Teen Wolf divided it to 2 different arcs - essentially 2 extra shorter seasons instead of 1.
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That's also used to keep the audience hooked. Attention span on today's audience is getting shorter, and if you don't throw a lot of action so they do't get bored, your ratings drop.
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But the second half of OUaT was itself split into two smaller arcs. One, the fight against the WWotW, and a time-travel story.
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"Embracing the silliness of your show's premise is always the way to go"

Exactly. I really loved intelligence, but it took itself far too seriously. Way too heavy handed patriotic speeches. They should've taken a good look how Stargate SG-1 used to do it.
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The thing about comedies worries me, I like my dramas as much as the next person but I don't want all drama all the time, it's too much, it's too heavy, and it generally doesn't take long for dramas to go from generally happy/content people will a few problems to everyone's fucking suicidal and the world's fucking ending, take Sons of Anarchy or Supernatural for examples, SoA started out with some dark history but the characters didn't let it keep them down, there were moments of levity throughout much of season one, but now so much has happened, we've lost so many people and everyone's that's alive has had something horrible done to them and I have to eat a bucket of ice cream just to keep form self harming after an episode. Supernatural has always been funny but this last season in particular was showing it's age, Sam and Dean have both died now like a dozen times or more, been through a number of apocalypses for (most of which they inadvertently caused), betrayed one another a hundred times, have their girlfriends killed, have their parents killed, have had pretty much everyone that's ever meant a damn to them killed. They don't trust each other anymore and they don't have anything to be happy about, I've been missing the middle of the day porn watching Dean or old and the Sam that would be grossed out by it. Now Dean can't work up the energy to eat a bacon cheese burger and Sam couldn't give a shit one way or another. Dramas need to work to manage the depressing, for every two or three loses the writers need to throw them a win, just to keep the characters and the viewers from wanting to eat a bullet.
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Did you really miss the point of him not eating the cheeseburger? or miss Sam crying his eyes out once Dean died? I'm not trying to put down your opinion or anything because part of it is valid but honestly the two examples you just used contradicted your point
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I get why he didn't eat it but I wouldn't say it contradicted my point, my point is dramas can get too down in the dumps and forget that you need some fun, the characters get put throw the rigger one too many times and the joy leaves. I know Sam got emotional at the end there but all season long he's been like "we're not brothers anymore, we're team mates" and was really distant, so even though in that last scene it wasn't like that, for twenty two hours before that he was totally disinterested. I understand the significance of the scenes and they support what I'm trying to say, dramas darker and darker the long they last, the stakes get higher, the characters have been knocked down and kicked one too many times all the smiles are gone.
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No I fully understand. They rarely ever have a laugh anymore. Remember when they used to play pranks on each other? But still, your two points about Dean not even eating a burger (which was Crowley's point) and Sam not caring, which I will give to you did seem different than his season long stance against being brotherly with Dean, but really I mean that played itself out. Brothers get pissed at each other and take time away but in the end when death is looming, you get over it. Sam admitted he had lied about being okay with Dean dying and when he said he wouldn't do the same. I think with how epic the show is and the crazy shit they go through, that the show is still good at emotional impact, even when we've seen is mostly before. The circumstances and where the brothers are in their lives makes it all the more different and allows the stakes to still be high enough for the audience to care.
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After 2013-2014 tv season I am absolutely sure that young teenage girls dictate the shows. Soupy girly shows go to 6-7 season, while a good tv show with a little bit of action strugles to get to season 3.
Yes USA is the big provider of TV and Yes americans dictate what show is good or not, but please take a look at the forums and you'll see that there shows that are being watch world wide. It would be awesome if networks provided a system where non US viewers can have an impact on the cancelation decisions !
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Well, there are things such as iTunes and what not where international viewers and their money speak for itself.
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Shipping can only go so far IMO; Reign got renewed but it couldn't sell itself as the next Game of Thrones it was posing at, because even its demographic can tell the difference.

Star Crossed, Beauty and The Beast, even The Vampire Diaries had the same problem. There's got to be more to the story than which girl and which boy end up together
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This isn't exclusive to this season, but hiatuses are SO EFFING ANNOYING.
As I've stated before, I don't live in the US, and so I don't watch these shows live, so my eyes don't matter to these networks, but I really think the era of watching shows live, and having to put up with one week on - three weeks off kind of broadcasting is dying. I know several people who stockpile episodes of their favourite shows to watch all together, because waiting sucks. We've become so used to everything on demand that this attitude is spilling over into our viewing habits.
I'd say a lot of networks could benefit from shorter seasons, the way they do things on the cable networks and in the UK and Ireland. People have short attention spans, not to mention, they are watching more than one show at once, it's a bit much to expect them to remember and remain invested in a show if it's not going to be on for two - three months at a time.
The longer seasons also affect quality, case in point being New Girl. This season was awful. For me, there were maybe a handful of laughs in the whole season, and the whole thing just felt disjointed, partly because of hiatuses, and partly because of filler episodes to make up the 22 episode order.
Finally, there are some shows that just don't know when to quit. I've given up on quite a few shows because the quality suffered due to network greed or creator egotism. I think at some point, the creators just have to stand up and say, this is the story I want to tell, and it only makes sense if it lasts for X seasons, or X episodes, and I won't compromise the quality of my show by changing it. I realise that these people can be replaced, but networks should recognise that if a show stops being good, people will stop watching.
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Count me in as a stock piler... LOL I only watch new shows week by week (or whatever the schedule they have) most of the shows I really like I hoard them and then binge on them...
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Great points, and very well said.
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More quality less quantity, no show can sustain 22-24 eps in a season, although our 6 eps a year is not enough, American cable nails it perfectly, 8-13 eps a year and the quality is consistently high. I totally agree with you, and I'm one of those people that stockpile episodes I'd rather wait longer in between series, and then watch it all in one go, it's easier to follow the story and if a show is good I always want to watch more than one episode in a row.
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I think its no one's fault per say. TV is no longer a small box anymore but a thing which can be seen over your watch, moreover on your glasses. Plus there has been so much tv recently that no amount of user can match the standards which was set up for pre internet era. As the editor wrote, every week someone new is picking up original scripted series, and truth be told cable and streaming site has given some of the best tv shows we have seen in years. As far as comedy goes, i don't see it even in the shows which are getting huge ratings, (hinting at u TBBT, which is nothing but sexual jokes wrapped in the cloak of pseudo science).
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The USA network came out with Sirens and I really tried to like it, but it, too, had so many sexual jokes (some were funny, but many were not), that I couldn't watch it anymore.
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* There are only so many hours in a week. Currently, it's often Wednesday or Thursday before I finally get through all the Sunday programming. Sports is something that men can watch and much of other TV is too 'female-focused' -- meaning it's too focused on 'triangles' 'relationship' stuff that mostly seems just there for female viewers, etc. -- for men to 'stomach'.

* Regarding comedies, no network stuff compares to Seinfeld and such. And then there are excellent shows like Veep, Silicon Valley, and even The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, etc. We can watch funny shows that are actually about something and have some intelligence to them.

* I only watched The Crazy Ones because Sarah Michelle Gellar/Prinze was in it. Other than that show, Penny Dreadful and Silicon Valley are the only two new shows that I remember even watching the pilot of.

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-Spinoffs are not automatic pick ups. The makers of How I Met Your Dad and Bloodlines seemed like they just expected auto bids.
-TV show popularity needs to find new methods of gauging real popularity due to internet viewing.
-TV shows like Sleepy Hollow survived for 2 major reasons. a) Shorter seasons with little filler allowing for a straight and consistent story... something FOX is screwing with by extending season 2. b) It didn't just sound like a pitch for a 2 hour movie. (Yes, Sleepy Hollow is based on a short story but it was tied into a police procedural which works).
-Big names can matter... when they're good and put into a role they've excelled in before. Congrats to NBC for realizing this and getting James Spader for The Blacklist.

One thing to note is American Horror Story has been incredibly successful as an anthology. FX is already trying another one with Fargo and HBO had a first season success with True Detective. I gotta think this is something the big four networks should try.
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-TV show popularity needs to find new methods of gauging real popularity due to internet viewing.
I couldn't agree more on this one. It reminds me that only recently someone asked why would anyone watch a show online if its on a free broadcast network


And very quickly it turned into - why does anyone still bother with watching stuff on broadcast network?
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This is so true.. So many of the people ruing their fav shows getting cancelled dont realize that alot of the viewership is on the internet and is touch to measure.. I Loved Awake, Pan Am, but they never really got a chance
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The network is utterly not interested in people who aren't watching the show live, because THEIR CUSTOMERS DON'T CARE about people who aren't watching the show live.

Your argument is pretty much the same thing as complaining that the railroad doesn't care enough about the hoboes who ride their trains. If you aren't paying your way, you don't get to complain about the service. Broadcast television is paid for by the advertisers, not you.
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It is the future and to dig up an old phrase "the future is here." With technology broadcasting scheduling is becoming obsolete and networks have already been scrambling to make sure they can still sell ad space for shows online.
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that nelison rating is utter garbage. dvr, on the go catching up on a episode etc . is what is happen
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People who watch programs from their DVR skip over the commercials. Broadcast television is supported by selling commercials. Therefore, people who watch programs from DVR are useless to the broadcasters. Advertisers are NOT interested in how many people watch the show... they're interested in how many people watch the commercials.
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You're both correct. The ultimate point is that the advertisement model continues to fall apart. The big networks need to revitalize their model or eventually they will be outclassed as internet downloads will take over. It's not a question of "if" but "when" it happens.
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This is why most TV networks, internet providers, cable companies and cell providers are merging into one huge media conglomerate. Everything is connected. As people shift away from live TV to internet streaming, the media companies will just jack up the prices of your internet bill....or create new streaming packages to replace the old cable packages you just abandoned.
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Honestly, I stopped watching TV on an actual television years ago. The idea that I have to watch a certain show at a certain time is dying (and quickly) and networks don't seem to realize this.
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Of course the networks realize this. Next you'll be complaining that local telephone service providers don't realize that cellular service is rising and landline service is declining.

The networks know they're on a sinking ship. However, there's still money to be made (and lots of it, just not as much as before) on that ship.
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The advertising dollars for live broadcast television are huge. I work with TV dollars on the Canadian side and prices charged for 15 or 30 sec spots can be quite substantial particularly for hit shows like The Big Bang Theory, reality programming or even award shows. All the networks here are trying to supplement their revenue with streaming services(phones, website) but really those platforms cannot bring in the same kind of dollars that an old fashioned TV ad can.
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I learned that the networks like to retread old ideas and shun new ones. Keeping or canceling a series seems to depend on the roll of the dice. Some series with poorer ratings were kept longer while other series that were actually showing improvement or had better numbers seemed to get canceled very quickly. I do disagree with shifting days and times for shows. It does not gain as many viewers as it loses when people can't find a show or it goes on hiatus for three weeks. It does help for the networks to put shows in time slots partnered with shows that might attract the same audience, but putting a freshman show up against NCIS, or 10 p.m. on a Friday night does not really support these shows at all. Sometimes there are surprises like the sleeper hit Sleepy Hollow that has a wacky premise but characters that are entertaining and endearing that you just want to believe or escape into its nonsensicalness for an hour. It helps to have beautifully written dialogue and visual creativity like Hannibal does, because its' timeslot and haters who never watched it really don't help it. "Rake" had an unlikeable character and nobody watched it. Dracula was getting better and improving but it got cancelled too. Do no Harm, was pretty good, too bad it wasn't promoted enough, and it was put up against NCIS, I at least got to see the burn off episodes. Sometimes a network makes a mistake and puts a show in what would normally be a dead spot, and it turns out better. If "Hell on Wheels" had not been moved to Saturdays, I might not have found it.
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The decision to keep airing a show, or take it off t air, isn't as simple as ratings. It's also things like "how much does this show cost us?" and "are the ratings likely to improve?" and "have we anything on hand that can do better?"

Then you factor in other, even less tangible questions... "Is this show's creator important to us going forward? (ABC/Shondaland, Fox/Seth MacFarlane, NBC/Dick Wolf)

The TV execs are working on more information than you have., which is why even people who follow the industry full-time can't be 100% accurate in guessing what the network will decide to do.
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You could have summed up most of this article with "Some people are really stupid. Network executives are people too."
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Not always the executives' fault!
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Don't you go trying to bring facts and rational logic around here. We don't take kindly to that sort of nonsense. All we need is our righteous indignation, a scapegoat, and a whole lot of auto-correct to make sense of our incoherant ramblings!
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Why are there so many people who don't understand what business the broadcast TV networks are in? They are NOT in the business of delivering quality programming to viewers. You are NOT their customer. They are in the business of delivering eyeballs to advertisers. Way, way too many Americans are willing to wait to see a show if it means they can skip the commercials... and the way that program is paid for is by the commercials. (I think Community poisoned its own well because you pretty much had to be watching it on a DVR so you could go back and catch all the side-jokes.) So football wins ratings because fans want to know what's happening as it's happening. To a lesser extent, also other sports and "audience participation" reality shows (ie, singing competitions.)

Original scripted programming is going to phase off of broadcast TV, because it costs too much for the ad-supported model. Broadcast TV isn't going anywhere, but it'll be news, sports, reruns. Original scripted programming will shift to cable, and there will be a vast implosion of what gets produced. Eventually, it'll shift to streaming services, with viewers having complete choices as to when they watch... binge, one per week, one "whenever".
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The biggest lesson I've learned this year especially is that good shows get cancelled and talented actors are lost to our screens.
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I still don't get why millers was saved but not the crazy ones. Maybe it was because it was too expensive to keep robin williams on for a show that wasn't doing too well in the ratings, but keeping millers over williams?
Also cbs should've dumped 2 and a half men. Making jon cryer's character as the horndog replacement with kutcher playing the 'normal' guy was a mistake. No one can replace sheen in that role, that was his show the way spin city was mike j fox's show. They should've just canned the show after sheen was fired. Sure the funeral segment with all the women he slept with was great, but after that it was downhill.
I used to like 2 broke girls, but now that show is mainly built on crude sex jokes. Max could've solved their problems by taking that 1 mil check from her boyfriend, but of course that would've been too easy...
I don't really see what is so great about mom, ferris always has that deer in the headlights look and what's with the overuse of the classical music for that show?
Chuck lore's main good show is big bang mainly because i enjoy the scifi jokes, but if not for that his other shows are just overrated imo.

abc: shield was soso, the beginning was boring, but to be fair the ending got better thanks in big part to the events of captain america tws. So while it was a nice concept, i think that they tried to make this show a part of the movie universe did more of a disservice because the show had been a letdown compared to the movies. Now that next season they are starting over, maybe it can be the show it could've been. If they can get a few superpowered heroes and of course characters we actually know besides guest stars from the movies, then i think the show can do better.
Modern family is still one of the better shows even if it is on the decline, but i do agree it is stupid they keep putting crap shows to follow it. Maybe they could've put subergatory after i stead of before then that show might've survived. Subergatory wasn't too bad, but i kinda stopped watching that because i didn't have time for it anymore.
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The primary reason is that The Millers is owned by CBS and Crazy Ones is owned by 20th Century Fox. All things equal, networks are going to keep the shows they can make the most money on in the back end.
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Not just the cast, multi cams in general are far cheaper than single cams. Also Millers had higher ratings.
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Well they could put anything after Big bang and it could've had higher ratings. I think they could've swapped crazy ones with millers and see if the ratings would've stayed high. But that said, it is what it is. Unfortunately Crazy ones was canned and cbs kept millers and 2 and a half men.
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Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar would have been an expensive pair to keep, yeah...

And I agree with you on Anna Ferris' look.
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I've learned that networks don't know when to quit a show.
(all those next seasons that shouldn't be given out are destroying shows that could have turned great if they didn't get canceled. Those long standing shows (on the decline, that should have stopped ages ago) are keeping their place while good freshmen shows don't get a chance just because they need their place for new shows.)
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The networks are (and always have been) desperately trying to give you exactly what you want, assuming "you" are representative of a very large number of people. Qute frequently, people want more of what they already liked. (This is why sequels exist). So, if a show still exists that has nearly half of the original cast from when it premiered and people are still watching, it's going to keep limping along. Sometimes, the show is successful at introducing new characters (Law & Order, ER). Sometimes they are not (any number of shows that limped on after main actors decided they wanted to do something else.)
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Or are they just watching cause they've got nothing else on when they can watch. A habit is hard to stop unless you take the product away and give us something else to get addicted to.
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Sequels are not limited to TV. Look at what movies get made, and which ones make money. People are PAYING to see characters they already know they like, even if the movie isn't really that good.
Books are hard to market to publishers, unless part of a trilogy or longer series.
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There are only so many hours in a day and only so many shows that a person can follow/ commit to. There are numerous shows that people I know rave about... Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, that I've never seen. Not because they are bad or because I don't want to watch them, there were just other things I wanted to watch or do.

Also, people get into a pattern. I still watch Revenge. I don't particularly care for it, but I started watching during the first season, I liked it, and I kept watching if for no other reason then to see how it ends.
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That pattern will undoubtedly destroy my life. There are numerous shows I watch weekly, that I'd rather like to stop watching, like Awkward and New Girl, but after three or four seasons, I just can't stop watching them, you know?
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Shows that take too long to become watchable or are nowhere near what they advertised don't stand a chance. Also a lot of shows had a cool premise but were poorly executed. Take a show like Intelligence, they had no clue how to make a chip in your head cool and functional for television. Same goes for Almost Human, that show could have been so much fun to watch but wasn't.

When it comes to comedy. I don't think the comedy genre is dead (I love VEEP), it's just that what makes people laugh changed over the years and yet they are still forcing silliness, dysfunctional families and laugh tracks on us. Entire casts of people making jokes and trying being funny is just annoying. The most funny characters on tv aren't in comedies nowadays, which says a lot. Also there are a lot of current events or social stuff to make fun of so stay away from family and kids...

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"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was obviously the most high-profile project in this lot, and its struggles illustrated that no level of box office success can convince people to change the channel to ABC every week,"

MAS would have been fine if it was a superhero TV series. It's not. It's not really intended to be, either.

If it had done what the box office successful Marvel movies did, then most likely it would have convinced people to change the channel. Granted, they couldn't afford to do that. But they didn't cash in on the box office success of Marvel superhero movies because... no superheroes.
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I highly disagree. It's not that Shield wasn't "as advertised" because it was exactly what it was advertised.

The problem with Shield is that it was spot on in this article. They assumed existing brands are enough. It's not like you need actors that can act, writers that can write etc
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Well, I would disagree with that. I think there was a heavy emphasis on the movies early on, implying that it would be something that it wasn't.

The early episodes were much more Alias than The Avengers movie.
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I agree that this show wasn't "like" the avengers, it wasn't supposed to be and people didn't expect it to be.

The amount of people that would come and say "boy, we expected to see them battling huge lizard aliens in new york but they didn't so we hate it" are extremely minor.

It was clear early on even before it aired that it was going to be about secret agents. That's what it was advertised - a procedural show that would involve weird stuff. Sort of X-files meets Alias.

The reason it was a flop (and Shield is a flop compared to the massive hype they build for it) was simply because it's a bad show.
It was poorly made and yes, the reviewer is correct on it, they had expectation that the brand names would be enough.

It wasn't. The public still wants actual quality entertainment.

But... Like all of Joss Whedon's shows that are a huge flop, the excuses keep coming in.
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I'd say you're both right, in some ways. The fundamental issue is that the show wasn't very good for a long time. It's good now! But ABC also just assumed (hoped) that people would tune in because of the association with the film franchises.
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You misunderstand what purpose drives the show. ABC/Disney would LOVE if it were a hugely popular show, but the point of the show is NOT success as a TV show. The point of the show is to drive Marvel fans to see Marvel movies in theaters.

Significant portions of the first third of the season really need you to have seen Iron Man 3. There's parts of the second third of the season that reference Thor 2, and huge swaths of the third part that follow from Cap 2. If you're going to these movies as they come to theaters like a good little consumer, then all the parts fit together. If you're a "wait for DVD" or "wait for Netflix" type, or (horrors!) someone inclined to skip any of the Marvel Cinematic movies, they're not shy about telling you that you're missing something, to try and goad you into a behavior that creates higher revenue for Marvel Studios.
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Alway offer what you're actually selling: there's nothing wrong with comercial decisions, but if you're selling a fairytale romance then offer a fairytale romance (it works for both Once Upon a Times), if you're selling a dystopian future then offer one (Revolution), if you're selling "passion" then don't go Betrayal.

Sleepy Hollow woeked because if offered what it was seeling (and more), The Originals worked where Secret Circle and Tomorrow People couldn't for the same reason,Hostages and Intelligence didn't because they didn't know where they were going.

Networks don't have to do Game of Thrones, they don't even have to do a new CSI or OUaT franshise, they just have to be consistent with what they are offering, even if what they are offering isn't Emmy material.
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There was a big trend of death this year. One aspect of that trend was there were many, many characters killed off this year and not just minor characters, but big characters on their respective shows (i.e. Allison on Teen Wolf, Carter on Person of Interest, Kevin on Supernatural, Will on The Good Wife, Neil on Once Upon a Time, and so many more). Additionally, there was a lot of stories surrounding death. Sleepy Hollow being the biggest example with the Headless Horseman being Death, one of the four horseman of the apocalypse. Additionally, the "other side" was a large part of The Vampire Diaries season with many ghost characters and interaction. Everything from Teen Wolf's threesome sacrificial death to The Tomorrow People's dead dad scenario to Agents of SHIELD's Coulson's search for the truth of his "death". I'm only mentioning a few, but the list could go on and on.
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Once Upon a Time always kills a male character.
Season 1 Grahama, Season 2 August, Season 3 Neal

Teen Wolf took out Allison cause she asked (and Aiden is totally insulted you didn't mention him)

Frankly, death is always part of the drama. You might equally say there's a lot of romance in the air. If you compare it to last year, the ratio will probably be the same.
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Aiden was my least favorite character. No tears were shed when he died.
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To be fair, death has always been around on Supernatural, especially post-season 5, where the writers seem to be cleaning house and killing EVERYONE that isn't Sam, Dean or Castiel... and even so, Cas DIED in the third episode of this season (he was brought back by a Gadreel-possessed Sam) and Dean (spoilers) DIED in his 1 on 1 showdown with Metatron... though his death only lasted 5 minutes and ended with one of the most shocking shots in Supernatural history.
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Death was common way before season 5. Ash, Joe, Ellen, their dad, the blind psychic (forgot her name), Bella - I could go on.
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True, but the deaths of everyone prior to season 6 had deep impact to Sam and Dean. Jo and Ellen's deaths, for example, were really well done and the haunted the characters for the rest of the season. Compare that with, say, Rufus's death in season 6 where the boys pay their respects but do nothing else, or Meg's death in season 8, which doesn't affect them at all despite Meg turning over a new leaf.
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Death is a powerful dramatic tool, and has been common for the entire history of television. Lots of shows figured about it explicitly (Perry Mason was defending people from jaywalking tickets) and others used it implicitly (danger drives a lot of drama, too.)

Now, sometimes you have to kill off a character to make the danger seem significant. (Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Redshirt beam down to the planet...) Sometimes you even have to kill off a main character (sometimes for dramatic reasons, sometimes for other problems (RIP, Pierce Hawthorne).

And there are a few genres where death isn't that significant anymore. Every main character on Star Trek has been dead. Every soap opera ever. And comic books.
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