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How would you redo show schedules?

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View Poll Results: How would you redo series run?
Leave it alone, it has worked for 50 years.
6
24.00%
Mini-seasons
2
8.00%
Straight through run
16
64.00%
Other - specify
0
0%
Twikoff, because I do not watch tv
1
4.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

How would you redo show schedules?

Old 05-27-05, 03:25 PM
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How would you redo show schedules?

After seeing the Lost threads, and agreeing to some extent, the networks need to try and figure out a better way to do schedules. How would you redo scheduling for your favorite shows/network?
Here is a breakdown of last season of Lost: 9 aired/1 off - Thanksgiving week/2 aired/3 off/3 aired/2 off/4 aired/3off/2 aired/2 off/5 aired including 2 hour finale.

So for Lost would you leav it alone (right)?
Follow the Monk and Southpark mini-seasons? Lost would have been 13 episodes/13 off/last 13 episodes.
Or the wet dream of series fans, straight episodes. Follow the 24, The Shield formula.
Something else.


I would like to see networks develop good shows and further improve the HBO/FX lineup, and have a timeslot(s) and rotate great shows into it after a straight run. I wish F/X would not overlap their shows like they are about to with Rescue Me, Over There and Nip/Tuck. I would like to see all of these, and the Shield rotate the Tuesday night 10/9 slot.
Old 05-27-05, 03:54 PM
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Is my goal trying to maximize the profit for the network or trying to be the darling of internet forum geeks?
Old 05-27-05, 04:18 PM
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Both, how you would like to see it in a way that the networks might eventually change.
Old 05-27-05, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cusm
Both, how you would like to see it in a way that the networks might eventually change.

As a pure fan, I think 16 episode seasons are ideal. That's a 4 month run - so a straight run-thru is certainly doable starting in early Sept or mid-January.


As a network exec, you're stuck working around sweeps, so for a standard 22 episode series, I'd do something like:

1. Mid-October start - 8 eps through November sweeps into mid-Dec (skipping T-giving obviously).*
2. Repeats or alternate programming for a month (mid-Dec to mid-Jan).
3. Mid-January resume - 7 eps through February sweeps into early March.
3. Repeats or alternate programming for the rest of March.
4. Early April resume - last 7 eps taking you through the end of May sweeps.


* Alternatively, start in early-Sept with 4 eps. Repeat those 4 episodes (for those late on the bandwagon) in October and then pick up from there (with the schedule above)
Old 05-27-05, 05:27 PM
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As much as I hate more breaks, what you outlined above is tons better than the helter skelter mess they use now, and I think they loose viewers because of it.


Who decides sweeps? How long before sweeps, like the Neilson households, are recognized as obsolete.
Old 05-27-05, 09:29 PM
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There are plenty of people in the industry that always have a thousand reasons against this, but I'm for 22 episode seasons two times a year. Have one start in August and one in February. That makes for new episodes 44 weeks a year, with 4 weeks of each season having repeats. Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years week for season one. The second season, Memorial Day, Easter, Independence Day and some random week in August.

The problem with that is that the networks are getting more and more ridiculous about paying for new shows, which is somewhat understandable given the ridiculous amounts of money they started paying the actors. One person should not get a million dollars for a 22 minute program. They've inflated the network tv actor's salaries so much that they can't even afford to program on Saturday nights anymore.

Expecting each network to come up with twice the amount of programming that they have now isn't feasible. But likewise, it's ridiculous that on the networks, aside from crap reality shows, there are a handful of scripted shows airing this summer. Like three or four shows, all on Fox. Thankfully there's cable, but still.

People just don't go out in the Summer like they did in the early days of TV, as American Idol, Monk, Amazing Race, Big Brother and many other program's ratings attest to. It's a shame Fox's year round schedule, for the most part, fizzled out due to the quality of the programs, because that might have finally revolutionized the other networks.
Old 05-28-05, 12:45 AM
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But technology will change things dramatically.

I think the very idea of "seasons" could dramatically change over the next 3-5 years.

Two reasons for this:

1. Neilsen Media Research is seriously looking at increasing the number of metering devices monitoring TV viewing activity from 1,200 to as many as 50,000 and may increase the level of monitor so you have essentially sweeps-level monitoring the entire year, not just in November, February and May. That could mean much more detailed breakdowns of viewer demographics to see what viewers really want, and also will essentially end the whole idea of sweeps periods; the broadcast and cable networks will no longer have the incentive the "overload" programming at certain times of the year.

2. The arrival of on-demand TV viewing (thanks to very fast data cable TV connections and specially-modified PVR's) will essentially render the whole idea of program scheduling obselete. Imagine programming your PVR in 2010 and instead of the PVR waiting for the actual broadcast time to record the program(s) it will just download the program(s) at a preset time of the day, so by 2010 instead of having to decide which show to watch and which show to record due to conflicting schedules you can download it all to watch on your own PVR at your own leisure. On-demand technology is starting to roll out, but it will be extremely sophisticated and powerful by 2010.
Old 05-28-05, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RayChuang
I think the very idea of "seasons" could dramatically change over the next 3-5 years.

Two reasons for this:

1. Neilsen Media Research is seriously looking at increasing the number of metering devices monitoring TV viewing activity from 1,200 to as many as 50,000 and may increase the level of monitor so you have essentially sweeps-level monitoring the entire year, not just in November, February and May. That could mean much more detailed breakdowns of viewer demographics to see what viewers really want, and also will essentially end the whole idea of sweeps periods; the broadcast and cable networks will no longer have the incentive the "overload" programming at certain times of the year.

2. The arrival of on-demand TV viewing (thanks to very fast data cable TV connections and specially-modified PVR's) will essentially render the whole idea of program scheduling obselete. Imagine programming your PVR in 2010 and instead of the PVR waiting for the actual broadcast time to record the program(s) it will just download the program(s) at a preset time of the day, so by 2010 instead of having to decide which show to watch and which show to record due to conflicting schedules you can download it all to watch on your own PVR at your own leisure. On-demand technology is starting to roll out, but it will be extremely sophisticated and powerful by 2010.

I just read that Neilson signed an agreement with Tivo, but only as tool not to be used in the actual ratings. I did not know that sweeps only decides the advertising prices for local broadcasters only, and that it is based on a written log of the participants - this is even more outdated than I thought it was. I know the networks are afraid to go away from sweeps as it may mean less money they can charge their advertisers.
Old 05-28-05, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Cusm
I did not know that sweeps only decides the advertising prices for local broadcasters only, and that it is based on a written log of the participants - this is even more outdated than I thought it was. I know the networks are afraid to go away from sweeps as it may mean less money they can charge their advertisers.
Actually, with Neilsen possibly going to 50,000 meters (now practical thanks to cheap computer hardware), we could see the disappearance of written logs because the 50,000-meter sample would be far more accurate than today's 1,200-meter plus written log method. Yes, it would reduce network advertising rates during February, May and November, but they'll probably make it back by charging a consistent advertising rate for the entire year.

Last edited by RayChuang; 05-28-05 at 11:25 PM. Reason: correct grammar
Old 05-29-05, 12:24 AM
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I say 2 seasons each year. Different shows each season so they have time to film. This way, they can run whole seasons without needing reruns (as Alias and 24 did last season) So 24, CSI, Alias, etc. will run their 24 episodes for 24 weeks. When they are finished, the new season of Joey, ER, CSI: NY, etc will start up and run their 24 episodes. When these are done, 24, CSI, Alias will be back for a new season. Repeat.

With 24 episodes each season, it does give 4 weeks for when the show isn't show for specials occasions (Oscars, Superbowl, Christmas specials).
Old 05-29-05, 01:50 AM
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I live overseas, and so get the 22 week straight through run for programmes they show. That's all fine and dandy, until I have to wait 7 whole months for the show to come back. By then I've forgotten what was happening, and it's just too damn long in general. Leave it the way it is now.
Old 05-29-05, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by resinrats
I say 2 seasons each year. Different shows each season so they have time to film. This way, they can run whole seasons without needing reruns (as Alias and 24 did last season) So 24, CSI, Alias, etc. will run their 24 episodes for 24 weeks. When they are finished, the new season of Joey, ER, CSI: NY, etc will start up and run their 24 episodes. When these are done, 24, CSI, Alias will be back for a new season. Repeat.

With 24 episodes each season, it does give 4 weeks for when the show isn't show for specials occasions (Oscars, Superbowl, Christmas specials).
I like this idea the best although I'd probably lower it to 22 episodes of each show giving 8 off weeks for mini-series, Oscars, Superbowl and the like.
Old 05-30-05, 07:49 AM
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It depends on the show. Something like South Park or a sitcom can take a several week hiatus because there's usually no story arc. A schedule of 13-on/13-off/13-on would be a disaster for something like Lost or The Shield. There is no black & white answer.
Old 05-31-05, 12:42 PM
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Ummm...a Shield season is only 13 episodes (I think s3 was 15).
Old 06-01-05, 02:14 PM
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I'd offer three different season lengths to the producers: 12 episode, 18 episode, and 30 episode. My schedule would involve straight through runs (excluding holiday weeks that have to be skipped). I'd start 12 and 30 episode seasons in the fall early enough to finish the 12 week shows before Christmas. The 18 week shows would fill in for the 12 week shows and run through spring/summer. I'd still have a summer slate, which would be a few new 12 week shows and reruns of the really successful shows that would hold up well.

I see the following skip weeks:

Easter
Memorial Day
July 4
Labor Day
Thanksgiving
3 weeks of Christmas-New Years

12 + 18 + 12 = 42 weeks plus 8 skip weeks gets me to 50. I think that's pretty much where we're at now on most channels. Obviously, some shows would get pushed into parts of those skip weeks (like Monday before Thanksgiving) in order to accomodate specials my network would air.

To the extent my network aired reality, I'd try to push the half hour shows that repeat well over the hourlong variety that networks seem to prefer these days. I don't see why you couldn't do a show like Fear Factor in a more condensed format that would allow for more flexibility. Same goes for something like Big Brother or even Survivor (though you'd have to even out some shows like that to get a better payoff than an immunity challenge on the "off" weeks).
Old 06-01-05, 02:49 PM
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All seasons would be 16 or 17 episodes long. That would equate to three television seasons per calendar year. Each season would be shown every week w/out interruption, w/ repeats of each night's primetime schedule shown later that night during the graveyard shift after the news and the late-night talk shows. Nothing will interrupt this schedule (that means you, Mr. President) unless it is specifically planned for months in advance (like the playoffs). Everything will be shown in HDTV, including Survivor and TAR.

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