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Old 11-30-06, 10:31 AM   #1
DJariya
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Confused about logic on cancelling TV shows

I'm puzzled on the logic of how TV networks cancel shows. I know that a network normally sees the pilot before the up fronts in the spring and orders the show for 13 episodes. Let's say by the time the show airs in the fall and 8 or 9 episodes have been filmed thus far, but the ratings are bad on the 1st 2 episodes and the network pulls the plug. Now don't you think that's a serious waste of time and money. I would think it would make more sense to let the remaining episodes you bought and paid for air and just cancel your remaining order of the 13 that were never filmed. I know that sponsorship plays a role in this, but if your paying millions of dollars for stuff that's already been shot I would rather just let them burn off.

That would be like someone buying a combo meal and only drinking the soda and throwing everything else in the trash.
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Old 11-30-06, 10:38 AM   #2
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If a network thinks that they can make up any loss by airing some other show that generates higher ratings and thus higher commercial ad time than the cancelled show, then of course they are going to do that.
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Old 11-30-06, 10:43 AM   #3
rfduncan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Dog
If a network thinks that they can make up any loss by airing some other show that generates higher ratings and thus higher commercial ad time than the cancelled show, then of course they are going to do that.
THAT and the production company of the series stands to make more DVD sales in the remaining episodes stay unaired. Curiousity factor will lead several to purchase the "complete series" set featuring never aired episodes (plus in the case of Firefly you get naked Mal!).
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Old 11-30-06, 10:52 AM   #4
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The studio and production company that makes the series is making money regardless. Getting paid by the network to make the series and possible DVD sales.

But, for example on a show like 3 lbs that was just canned. Let's say CBS paid Paramount $1.5M per episode for the 8 that were shot. But, since only 3 have aired, your talking about $7.5M of lost money! I mean isn't a show still making money with all the commercials that air. Even on a deadzone night like Saturday, re-runs of CSI or NCIS are still making money just by them airing.
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Old 11-30-06, 10:55 AM   #5
bboisvert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJariya
I know that sponsorship plays a role in this, but if your paying millions of dollars for stuff that's already been shot I would rather just let them burn off.
It depends. If you're 'burning them off' but it's getting lower ratings than a repeat of L&O or CSI would get, you're throwing good money after bad. It's best just to take the hit on the show upfront than exacerbate the situation by continuing to air a show that no one is watching.


That being said, I think that networks are far too quick these days to cancel shows. I think the competition from other media in addition to cheap programming alternatives (reality shows, game shows, the aforementioned L&O repeats) prevents networks from letting a show find an audience.
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Old 11-30-06, 10:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
DJariya

The studio and production company that makes the series is making money regardless. Getting paid by the network to make the series and possible DVD sales.

But, for example on a show like 3 lbs that was just canned. Let's say CBS paid Paramount $1.5M per episode for the 8 that were shot. But, since only 3 have aired, your talking about $7.5M of lost money! I mean isn't a show still making money with all the commercials that air. Even on a deadzone night like Saturday, re-runs of CSI or NCIS are still making money just by them airing.
They spent the money already, whether they air the episode or not. As has already been stated, if they know the show has no future and can get higher ratings (which will translate to higher revenue later) by throwing up a rerun of something else, then it's economically logical to air the more successful show. You already spent the money.

Do you play poker? One of the fundamental rules is not to chase your money. It's the same principle. Once you put money in the pot (or purchase episodes of a show), the money is spent. The pot odds of each betting round should be calculated based on what's in the pot, not how much of it was at one time yours. Same thing here. They already purchased the episodes, regardless of whether they air. Once the decision is made that the show will not continue, the ratings estimates (pot odds) should be calculated based on what shows are available, not what you spent at one time to get them.

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Old 11-30-06, 11:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJariya
The studio and production company that makes the series is making money regardless. Getting paid by the network to make the series and possible DVD sales.

But, for example on a show like 3 lbs that was just canned. Let's say CBS paid Paramount $1.5M per episode for the 8 that were shot. But, since only 3 have aired, your talking about $7.5M of lost money! I mean isn't a show still making money with all the commercials that air. Even on a deadzone night like Saturday, re-runs of CSI or NCIS are still making money just by them airing.
In your example, the $7.5M is a sunk cost. It's gone. Whether they recoup those costs by airing the episodes or by reruns of NCIS doesn't matter. They'll air whichever brings the most money back in, which is likely to be NCIS reruns.
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Old 11-30-06, 11:13 AM   #8
DJariya
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So, if I'm interpreting this correctly:

A) Network buys show, pays for 13 episodes.
B) Fall comes around, 2 episodes air, ratings stink
C) 9 episodes have been shot, network cancels show
D) Network throws up re-run of current higher rated show
E) Network making money off re-run that's already bought and paid for and has
made it's money back
F) Re-runs of shows that are already paid for and have made their money back
already will help recoup some of the losses on new show that was canned.
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Old 11-30-06, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJariya
I'm puzzled on the logic of how TV networks cancel shows. I know that a network normally sees the pilot before the up fronts in the spring and orders the show for 13 episodes. Let's say by the time the show airs in the fall and 8 or 9 episodes have been filmed thus far, but the ratings are bad on the 1st 2 episodes and the network pulls the plug. Now don't you think that's a serious waste of time and money. I would think it would make more sense to let the remaining episodes you bought and paid for air and just cancel your remaining order of the 13 that were never filmed. I know that sponsorship plays a role in this, but if your paying millions of dollars for stuff that's already been shot I would rather just let them burn off.

That would be like someone buying a combo meal and only drinking the soda and throwing everything else in the trash.
To use your example to give some real world perspective*, when I worked at McDonald's, people would order the combo meal and not want the drink, because it was cheaper to buy the combo for the fries and sandwich than it was separately. A more drastic example was the old ladies that would buy Happy Meals for the Teenie Beanie Babies, and then throw away *all* the food.








*(outside of Lala-land that is )
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Old 11-30-06, 11:20 AM   #10
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Pretty much.

CBS could replace any lowly rated show with a CSI and see improvements.
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Old 11-30-06, 12:03 PM   #11
rfduncan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJariya
D) Network throws up re-run of current higher rated show
E) Network making money off re-run that's already bought and paid for and has
made it's money back
F) Re-runs of shows that are already paid for and have made their money back
already will help recoup some of the losses on new show that was canned.
Also there is another option, they end up online with some additional advertising or sometimes they end up on the network's secondardy cable channel (e.g. FX or Bravo) where the show might garner similar ratings to what is normally aired there - that in my opinion is the smart thing to do, but what do I know. I just want to see the unaired episodes televised if it is something like Wonderfalls or Book of Daniel.
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Old 11-30-06, 12:51 PM   #12
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Just a couple of things:

* First of all, a DVD release is not the issue in many cases. You're likely not going to see 3 LBs or even The Nine go out on DVD. I say that because of the shows like The Inside and Eyes that haven't been released.

* The other big thing is that subbing in the rerun of a proven show is often less about making more money to recoup the loss and more about delivering the ratings that the advertisers for that hour have already paid for so they don't have to give them make goods. I imagine the extent to which this is the case has a lot to do with how much inventory they held back for spot. I think I read NBC held back a ton of inventory for spot this year, and that might have something to do with their willingness to stay with Studio 60 or Friday Night Lights.
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Old 11-30-06, 01:20 PM   #13
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Your first mistake is implying there's logic when it comes to television networks..
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Old 11-30-06, 01:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichC2
Pretty much.

CBS could replace any lowly rated show with a CSI RERUN and see improvements.
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