'Tis the new TV season to be jolly.
With ratings down 24 percent in the current season, ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. commissioned 30 pilots -- more than any other network -- for the 2002-2003 season in the hopes of finding a fix for its problems. It is estimated that ABC will eventually replace over 30 percent of its 2001-2002 primetime season. Family comedies and escapist dramas are priorities among its new shows. As for the other networks, Fox, which needs an overhaul, had 28 pilots; CBS (Cell Broadcast Service) See cell broadcast. , with problem spots on three nights, had 24 pilots to consider from, and NBC NBC
in full National Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. commercial broadcasting company. It was formed in 1926 by RCA Corp., General Electric Co. (GE), and Westinghouse and was the first U.S. company to operate a broadcast network. , with its aging lineup of comedies, had 22 pilots, just above the WB with 21 pilots. A total of 125 pilots were presented.
Networks are playing it safe with promotable franchises and high concept escapist fare; these franchises could have syndication payoffs rather than immediate ratings (especially if networks produce their shows). On the drama front, the networks looked over 51 pilots, while comedies, as usual, made up the lion's share with 64 pilots. Reality shows covered five pilots, "dramedies" covered 2 pilots and three were from yet unnamed genres like NBC's Rerun re·run
The act or an instance of rebroadcasting a recorded movie or a recorded television performance.
tr.v. re·ran , re·run, re·run·ning, re·runs
To present a rerun of. .
Despite their staggering failure rate last season, comedy is still king for the U.S. broadcast networks, with ABC having 16 sitcom pilots in production. After seeing its Friday night numbers plummet, ABC is considering resurrecting its kid-friendly TGIF-branded sitcom lineup in the hopes of stopping the Nielsen blood-letting. Susan Lyne, ABC Entertainment's new president, said, "Family-oriented comedies were a staple for ABC and a big part of its success. There really is an opening for us there, and an opportunity to refocus Verb 1. refocus - focus once again; The physicist refocused the light beam"
focus - cause to converge on or toward a central point; "Focus the light on this image"
2. our brand and re-identify us to our audience."
NBC, with eight sitcoms currently on its schedule, is looking to add two more for the next season, while Fox, which already has 10 comedies, also wants to add a couple more. The exception to the comedy rule is CBS, which commissioned 11 drama pilots.
The reason for the emphasis on comedy is largely financial: networks are under considerable pressure to develop hit comedies because of sitcoms' lucrative back-end syndication revenues. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , one hit sitcom pays for a whole lot of failures. Despite viewers' obvious appetite for dramas, broadcasters continue to devote more development time and money to launching new sitcoms because the networks that have planted the most hit sitcom blocks in the 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. hours have typically won the season, or have finished second, with adults 18 to 49.
But establishing new hit comedies is harder than ever, with the networks caught in a programming Catch-22: there are fewer successful comedies on the air, and thus there are fewer protected time-slots to launch new comedies. In fact, more than half of the lead-out sitcoms on the broadcast networks are failing to retain an acceptable percentage of their lead-in audience.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. some industry sources, the trouble started with a uniformly weak midseason slate of shows. Roy Rothstein, vp and director of national broadcast research for Zenith, a New York-based media buying company, wrote in his midseason report, "Midseason is traditionally known as a period in which new shows are launched on the back of established hits in hopes of filling holes in the network schedules." But this year in particular, Rothstein noted, "the midseason has been extremely disappointing. More than half of the series that joined the schedule since January have been canceled, many without fulfilling their total midseason commitments." But, as a newspaper headline once bannered: "In TV, It Can Always Be Worse."
Carolyn Finger, vp of TV tracker.com, an Internet-based research company, noted, "it just gets down to brass tacks brass tacks
Essential facts; basics: getting down to brass tacks.
get down to brass tacks Informal , where so much is being expended on pilots and there being so few time slot Continuously repeating interval of time or a time period in which two devices are able to interconnect. opportunities for success -- there is much less tolerance for failures off the bat."
Network strategy, though, could make a new show a sleeper in the sense that a possible hit could be held off of the upfront, to keep the advertising inventory. So, if the economy does indeed pick up mid season, the networks will be ready to rake in rake in
Informal to acquire (money) in large amounts
Verb 1. rake in - earn large sums of money; "Since she accepted the new position, she has been raking it in"
shovel in more ad revenue by hiking prices.
Although the reality craze has settled down from the hysteria of a few seasons ago, reality programming will still make its presence felt. These kinds of programs help networks hold down costs and can be quite profitable.
Repurposing will once again be a big part of the U.S. television landscape, although industry experts caution that broadcasters have to use the strategy judiciously. CBS learned that lesson when it re-aired its reality show The Amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. Race, in March, on sister station UPN UPN User Principal Name (Microsoft Windows 2000)
UPN United Paramount Network
UPN Unión del Pueblo Navarro (Navarrese People Union)
UPN Umgekehrte Polnische Notation , only to generate dismal ratings. Similarly, The March to Madness, a one-hour special promoting the NCAA basketball tournament There are six main NCAA Basketball Tournaments.
Similarly, producers are looking at "windows of opportunity" in order to mitigate as much risk as possible, which means selling a new show to a terrestrial network and a cable network at the same time, especially since cable TV executives are more flexible. For non-U.S. broadcasters this means that shows remain alive even if one network pulls out and international sales become the back-end.
Only two networks, NBC and CBS, will make money this year: NBC $500 million and CBS up to $250 million. Fox, which went from 10.6 million viewers in 1999 to 9.4 million in the current season, has losses projected at about $150 million, and ABC could lose $250 million. To help counter the losses and falling ad revenue, fewer new shows are being cast with stars. In addition, some networks, such as ABC and NBC, won't buy any new shows from the studios before seeing both a pilot or sample episode, and the script for a second episode.