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Are TV Show season's getting too short?

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Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Old 01-27-11, 06:30 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
And who is going to pay for this?
Apparently no one, since writers should write "for the love of writing and not the love of the dollar bill."
Old 01-28-11, 05:24 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

I was dissapointed when they canceled According To Jim because I had penned a dozen episodes out of my love of the craft.
Old 01-28-11, 08:20 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

I'm going to come at this from the point of view of the consumer who expects to get a certain amount of entertainment value for their $$$ and say that I think the writers union and networks are being cheap bastards by turning a 22/23 episode season into 2 - 11/12/13 episode seasons, then charging $35/$40 for what I consider to be half a fragging season. I'm not paying full season prices for half a season and I'm sure there are plenty of fellow consumers out there who feel the same way. I view it as lazy, money-grubbing assholes who only turn out a season of a show, then charge exorbitant prices for it. seasons should sell for the price of a full 22/23 episode season. -kd5-
Old 01-28-11, 09:46 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by TVWriter2B View Post
Therein lies the rub. Television (be it cable or network) and even movies, to a further extent, need writers who write for the love of writing and not the love of the dollar bill. We, as a nation, have apparently decided that if there is nothing in it for the individual, it isn't worth doing. I speak for myself here when I say I write for the sheer joy of putting words to paper. Sure I have my own responsibilities (college, work, home, etc.), but I still make time to create for the purpose of creating. I have had five of my short stories published in a small, local paper. I may be only one person, but if these television executives tap into the American writers they would have more than enough material for the next ten years of series (even if it was only for one season). Being a writer is not a glamorous job and pays very little, especially for those of us trying to break into the industry. And when the networks (cable included) chop away at the season length, it closes the door even further on those with the talent to bring TV back to the Golden Age.
Did Matt Weiner not hire you or something?
Old 01-29-11, 06:00 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

It does feel weird that the new season of Californication starts only three days after then end of the last season, but it's been over a year since that last season ended. I don't have so much of a problem with the short seasons, but the bizarrely long wait between seasons is disconcerting.
Old 01-30-11, 04:16 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

I would much rather see shorter seasons with guaranteed runs rather than long seasons with the chance of being canceled in the middle of the season. Season should be treated like books rather than the individual episodes. If a season sucks and doesn't do well, just don't pick up an additional season. At least let the current storyline finish though. I know more and more people who wait sometimes until multiple seasons before giving shows a chance just because they are tired of them getting canceled halfway through.
Old 01-30-11, 07:21 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
I think what he was getting at, there was a time, in our youth, when all tv series began in september and ran new episodes non-stop until spring. No mid-season reruns.
As DRG pointed out, you're misremembering the past. TV shows have almost never run non-stop new episodes for that length of time.

For example, even with a production order of 32 episodes, Season 4 of Beaverly Hills, 90210 skipped two weeks in December, a week in January, two weeks in March, a week in April, and a week in May:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...90210_episodes

Also, night-time soaps didn't consistently have that many episodes per season. The first few seasons of shows like Dallas and Dynasty has around 22-24 episode per season, causing a lot of gaps between new episodes. And Dallas had a particularly short first season of only 5 episodes (shades of the Walking Dead anyone?).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dallas_episodes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dynasty_episodes

Also, cable shows have almost always had shorter episode runs than Network shows. I'm watching my DVD set of the Larry Sanders Show right now, which had seasons that ranged from 11-17 episodes.
Old 01-31-11, 06:04 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
As DRG pointed out, you're misremembering the past. TV shows have almost never run non-stop new episodes for that length of time.

For example, even with a production order of 32 episodes, Season 4 of Beaverly Hills, 90210 skipped two weeks in December, a week in January, two weeks in March, a week in April, and a week in May:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...90210_episodes

Also, night-time soaps didn't consistently have that many episodes per season. The first few seasons of shows like Dallas and Dynasty has around 22-24 episode per season, causing a lot of gaps between new episodes. And Dallas had a particularly short first season of only 5 episodes (shades of the Walking Dead anyone?).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dallas_episodes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dynasty_episodes

Also, cable shows have almost always had shorter episode runs than Network shows. I'm watching my DVD set of the Larry Sanders Show right now, which had seasons that ranged from 11-17 episodes.
I'm referring to the pre-cable, pre Fox network 1960s-70s.
Old 01-31-11, 09:24 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
I'm referring to the pre-cable, pre Fox network 1960s-70s.
DRG's post above provided a good counter to that, with the examples of MASH, Kojak, Charlie's Angels, and Sanford and Son.

Other examples:

All in the Family had season runs of 24 episodes typically, running September to March, and still occasionally skipping weeks:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...amily_episodes

Star Trek started with 29 episodes in season one, but had progressively less episodes in subsequent seasons. Even in that first season, the show skipped two weeks in December and one week in March, ending in April.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...eries_episodes
Old 01-31-11, 10:36 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
I'm fine with the 8-13 episode season. That way I can watch 5-6 shows a year and never feel like I'm spending a lot of time in front of the TV. Plus, the level of quality stays much highr with the abbreviated seasons.
Originally Posted by starseed1981 View Post
I like the shorter seasons. I'd much rather have a shorter season with no fluff or poor storylines that 22 episodes where 6 or 7 are bs.
Originally Posted by innocentfreak View Post
I would much rather see shorter seasons with guaranteed runs rather than long seasons with the chance of being canceled in the middle of the season. Season should be treated like books rather than the individual episodes. If a season sucks and doesn't do well, just don't pick up an additional season. At least let the current storyline finish though. I know more and more people who wait sometimes until multiple seasons before giving shows a chance just because they are tired of them getting canceled halfway through.
This.
Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
I'm going to come at this from the point of view of the consumer who expects to get a certain amount of entertainment value for their $$$ and say that I think the writers union and networks are being cheap bastards by turning a 22/23 episode season into 2 - 11/12/13 episode seasons, then charging $35/$40 for what I consider to be half a fragging season. I'm not paying full season prices for half a season and I'm sure there are plenty of fellow consumers out there who feel the same way. I view it as lazy, money-grubbing assholes who only turn out a season of a show, then charge exorbitant prices for it. seasons should sell for the price of a full 22/23 episode season. -kd5-
How they market the DVDs need not reflect the manner in which the TV shows are aired.
Old 01-31-11, 11:10 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
I think what he was getting at, there was a time, in our youth, when all tv series began in september and ran new episodes non-stop until spring. No mid-season reruns. Then summer was nothing but reruns, except for a summer replacement show. There weren't ratings sweep months back then, every week was treated the same, so even a top rated series would finish the season in march or april, no need to pad for may sweeps. The holiday season would be brand new episodes of all shows currently airing except for the occasional pre-empt for a christmas special.
You are completely correct, I remember it well.
Old 01-31-11, 11:22 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by benedict View Post
How they market the DVDs need not reflect the manner in which the TV shows are aired.
It should also be pointed out that neither the writers nor the network make the decision on how to market or package the DVDs. Rather, the home video distributor, possibly in conjunction with the TV studio, makes that call.

An example of DVD marketing not matching broadcast history is Melrose Place, which had season 5 broken up into two DVD releases, despite originally being aired as one season.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melrose...9#DVD_releases

In contrast, Futurama's first five seasons were released as four volumes, due to FOX stretching out Futurama's four production runs into five seasons, and the DVDs correcting this.

Another example would be all the shows that have had DVDs that combine the first two seasons into one release, due to the short run of certain first seasons. The aforementioned Dallas is such an example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_...9#DVD_releases
Old 01-31-11, 11:35 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
But even those old seasons were 24-26 episodes in a season, which if you think about mid-September to mid-May is like 32 weeks...
It still seems like a lot of the t.v. season ended as early as March in the 70s, which means you weren't getting *that* much more in terms of new programming... it was just a longer continuous rerun cycle rather than having some of the reruns doled out throughout the normal season.
I see you did some digging and I respect that but if you go back a bit further you will see that the shows in the 50s and 60s had seasons that were a bit longer. Shows like Bonanza, I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke did run from around the start of school in the fall until school let out in the spring. The first season of Gunsmoke had 39 episodes, so you see it is certainly possible.
Old 01-31-11, 11:53 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Easy View Post
I see you did some digging and I respect that but if you go back a bit further you will see that the shows in the 50s and 60s had seasons that were a bit longer. Shows like Bonanza, I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke did run from around the start of school in the fall until school let out in the spring. The first season of Gunsmoke had 39 episodes, so you see it is certainly possible.
Gunsmoke season 1 skipped a week in September, 2 shows into its run. Considering that the season ran for about 50 weeks, and only 28 episodes had aired by the end of May, there were likely a lot more skipped weeks in that season as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ision_episodes

I Love Lucy season 1 had 35 episodes and didn't skip a week, but started in October. Subsequent seasons ranged from 26-31 episodes, and had skipped weeks. The last few seasons, under a different name, had 5 or less episodes per season and aired less than once a month
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._Lucy_episodes

Bonanza season one skipped a week in December and March, and ended in April.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bonanza_episodes

Now, these examples do show that TV shows back then likely had, on average, more episodes per season than current shows. However, even then non-stop airings of new shows throughout a September to May season were not common.
Old 01-31-11, 12:26 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
DRG's post above provided a good counter to that, with the examples of MASH, Kojak, Charlie's Angels, and Sanford and Son.

Other examples:

All in the Family had season runs of 24 episodes typically, running September to March, and still occasionally skipping weeks:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...amily_episodes

Star Trek started with 29 episodes in season one, but had progressively less episodes in subsequent seasons. Even in that first season, the show skipped two weeks in December and one week in March, ending in April.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...eries_episodes
But, that had nothing to do with padding the season, nor did they show repeats during the season. Shows were regularly pre-empted by specials(Bob Hope, Jacques Cousteau, Christmas, Frank Sinata, Wizard Of Oz, Barbara Steisand, Dean Martin celebrity roast, etc.), mini-series, and movies.

Often there would be an announcement, "Star Trek will not be seen tonight so we can bring you the following NBC Special presentation" or "regular programming will not be seen tonight so we can bring you the following ABC Special Event" Shogun Part 3, or something.

Last edited by rw2516; 01-31-11 at 12:34 PM.
Old 01-31-11, 12:40 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

I'd much rather have a short 13 episode season with no filler (ala The Wire or The Shield) than a standard 22 episode season with it. Just imo.
Old 01-31-11, 12:51 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
But, that had nothing to do with padding the season, nor did they show repeats during the season. Shows were regularly pre-empted by specials(Bob Hope, Jacques Cousteau, Christmas, Frank Sinata, Wizard Of Oz, Barbara Steisand, Dean Martin celebrity roast, etc.), mini-series, and movies.
They may or may not have shown repeats (it's hard to say, since there's no online record of complete TV schedules), but I would count pre-empting with specials, movies and mini-series as padding.

And again, you originally wrote that all the shows ran "non-stop" from September to May, which simply isn't true.
Old 01-31-11, 12:58 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043208/trivia
Desi Arnaz invented the rerun during the pregnancy episodes of [I Love Lucy] by re-airing some episodes from the first season to give Lucy some rest.
Old 01-31-11, 03:44 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post

And again, you originally wrote that all the shows ran "non-stop" from September to May, which simply isn't true.
Ok, "non-stop" isn't true. What I meant was once the first new episode of the fall season aired, all episode aired until final new episode of the season were new. If a Christmas special that bumps an episode making the season one week longer is padding, then I would suppose the president's State of the Union Address would be padding also? Remember there were no ratings sweeps periods back then. A hit show could end in March and then show reruns non-stop until Sept.
Old 01-31-11, 04:13 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Ok, "non-stop" isn't true. What I meant was once the first new episode of the fall season aired, all episode aired until final new episode of the season were new.
Except, at least, I Love Lucy, which aired reruns of season one episodes during season two. There were probably other shows that started doing this after I Love Lucy did in 1952, although that show was somewhat uniquely able to air quality reruns due to being the first 3 camera sitcom shot on film.

If a Christmas special that bumps an episode making the season one week longer is padding, then I would suppose the president's State of the Union Address would be padding also?
What, they couldn't air the show after the speech?

For valid news events, I will grant that such a pre-emption wouldn't be padding. The networks couldn't very well schedule them to fit their line-up. However, mini-series, movies, and specials were scheduled by the network, and whatever other reasons they had for pre-empting an existing show's slot, padding the show's season was likely one of them as well.

Remember there were no ratings sweeps periods back then.
Nielsen ratings for TV started in 1950, having done radio ratings since the 20s:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen...op-rated_shows

According to this Time Magazine article, TV sweeps started in 1954:
http://www.time.com/time/arts/articl...883157,00.html
Old 01-31-11, 05:32 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post

According to this Time Magazine article, TV sweeps started in 1954:
http://www.time.com/time/arts/articl...883157,00.html
Even if there were sweep weeks as the article states, the networks did not treat them differently than any other "non-sweeps" week, even showing re-runs of top rated shows during the sweeps. There were no "stunt" episodes of series' stategically planned for sweeps weeks. I know two of the sweep periods are Feb. and May. They may have been different way back when. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a gig gun, always ended in March, including the series finale. Another big hit, The Fugitive, ended in April and they decided to air the 2-part finale, one of the most watched episodes ever in August. Padding implies an intentional, stategic extending of a series' season for some reason, but it didn't matter, ratings wise, when a series ended.
As opposed to, the final season of MASH. The final season only had 15 episodes and was pre-empted several times to strategicaly air the finale in Feb., a sweeps period. Definately padding. If MASH had ended in 1972 they would have aired the finale just any old week, didn't matter.
Old 01-31-11, 10:44 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Even if there were sweep weeks as the article states, the networks did not treat them differently than any other "non-sweeps" week, even showing re-runs of top rated shows during the sweeps.
So you've gone from saying that shows never showed reruns to saying that they aired reruns during sweeps.

There were no "stunt" episodes of series' stategically planned for sweeps weeks.
It took a while for networks to work out how to "game" the sweeps periods for better ratings. However, sweeps aren't the only period that ratings are measured, they're just a slightly more important period.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a gig gun, always ended in March, including the series finale.
So another show that didn't run Sept-May.

Another big hit, The Fugitive, ended in April and they decided to air the 2-part finale, one of the most watched episodes ever in August.
This one looks really odd. The final two episodes aired in August, 4 months after the rest of the season ended, running from September-April. I'd be interested to know the background and production reasons for this. From an outsider, it almost seems like the producers found out that their 4th season would be the last, and asked for extended time to write and produce a season finale for the last two episodes of that season.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...itive_episodes

In regards to series finales, the advertising rights for those are sold well in advance, and since show ratings are gathered primarily to gain advertising value for a show, they really don't need to be placed inside a sweeps period. The reason most series finales run in May sweeps probably has more to due with that being the standard season finale point than anything to do with sweeps.

Padding implies an intentional, stategic extending of a series' season for some reason, but it didn't matter, ratings wise, when a series ended.
But as you claimed before about shows running Sept-May, it did matter when a season ended; they mostly ended in May. This required padding of almost every season of a show.

As opposed to, the final season of MASH. The final season only had 15 episodes and was pre-empted several times to strategicaly air the finale in Feb., a sweeps period. Definately padding. If MASH had ended in 1972 they would have aired the finale just any old week, didn't matter.
The final season of MASH had 16 episodes, and as it ended in February instead of March, and started later, it didn't have more padding than any other season.

For example, the final season of MASH skipped one week each in December and January. The very first season of MASH skipped two weeks in December and a week in February.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_M*A*S*H_episodes
Old 02-01-11, 09:23 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Easy View Post
Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
I think what he was getting at, there was a time, in our youth, when all tv series began in september and ran new episodes non-stop until spring. No mid-season reruns. Then summer was nothing but reruns, except for a summer replacement show. There weren't ratings sweep months back then, every week was treated the same, so even a top rated series would finish the season in march or april, no need to pad for may sweeps. The holiday season would be brand new episodes of all shows currently airing except for the occasional pre-empt for a christmas special.
You are completely correct, I remember it well.
I think you're both "mis-remembering". I pulled the airing dates from Laverne & Shirley's second season. They didn't have an extended break like a lot of current shows do mid-season, but they also started late and ENDED early by contemporary standard series:
Season 2, Episode 23 – Aired: 4/5/1977 - Citizen Krane
Season 2, Episode 22 – Aired: 3/29/1977 - Lonely at the Middle
Season 2, Episode 21 – Aired: 3/22/1977 - Haunted House
NO NEW EPISODE 3/15/1977
Season 2, Episode 20 – Aired: 3/8/1977 - Frank's Fling
Season 2, Episode 19 – Aired: 3/1/1977 - Hi, Neighbor Book II
Season 2, Episode 18 – Aired: 2/22/1977 - Honeymoon Hotel
Season 2, Episode 17 – Aired: 2/15/1977 - Buddy, Can You Spare a Father?
Season 2, Episode 16 – Aired: 2/8/1977 - Steppin' Out
Season 2, Episode 15 – Aired: 2/1/1977 - Call Me a Taxi
NO NEW EPISODE 1/25/1977
Season 2, Episode 14 – Aired: 1/18/1977 - Guinea Pigs
Season 2, Episode 13 – Aired: 1/11/1977 - Playing Hooky
Season 2, Episode 12 – Aired: 1/10/1977 - Birthday Show
Season 2, Episode 11 – Aired: 1/4/1977 - Guilty Until Proven Not Innocent
NO NEW EPISODE 12/28/1976
Season 2, Episode 10 – Aired: 12/21/1976 - Oh Hear the Angels' Voices
NO NEW EPISODE 12/14/1976
Season 2, Episode 9 – Aired: 12/7/1976 - Two of Our Weirdos Are Missing
Season 2, Episode 8 – Aired: 11/30/1976 - Good Time Girls
Season 2, Episode 7 – Aired: 11/23/1976 - Dear Future Model
Season 2, Episode 6 – Aired: 11/16/1976 - Look Before You Leap
Season 2, Episode 5 – Aired: 11/9/1976 - Bridal Shower
NO NEW EPISODE 11/2/1976
Season 2, Episode 4 – Aired: 10/26/1976 - Excuse Me, May I Cut In?
Season 2, Episode 3 – Aired: 10/19/1976 - Bachelor Mothers
NO NEW EPISODE 10/12/1976
Season 2, Episode 2 – Aired: 10/5/1976 - Angels of Mercy
Season 2, Episode 1 – Aired: 9/28/1976 - Drive! She Said
So the show was not on until late September (about 2 weeks later than normal) and ended 7 weeks earlier than it would today (finale the episode before Memorial Day) AND had SIX WEEKS without new episodes. So technically it was "off" for 13 weeks during a contemporary season run of a network show (about Labor Day to Memorial Day). Now I understand that I just plucked this season of this show out of the air and it may not be typical, but I'm guessing your recollection is much more inaccurate than either of you realize.
Old 02-01-11, 11:25 AM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post

And again, you originally wrote that all the shows ran "non-stop" from September to May, which simply isn't true.
I wrote they ran non-stop new episodes until spring. No repeats during the season. I understand how this was misinterpeted as non-stop episodes, all of which were new, and clarified that any skipped week was some other show, not a repeat of the regularly scheduled show.
Old 02-01-11, 12:02 PM
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Re: Are TV Show season's getting too short?

BONANZA

Season One: 9/12-4/30 no episode week of Christmas or Easter Sunday
Season Two: 9/10-6/3 no episode week of Christmas or Easter Sunday
Season Three: 9/24-52 no episode on Easter Sunday
Season Four: 9/23-5/26 episode every week
Season Five: 9/22-5/24 no episode week of Thansgiving
Season Six: 9/20-93 no episode Easter Sunday
Season Seven: 9/12-5/15 no episode week of Thansgiving or Easter Sunday
Season Eight: 9/11-5/14 no episode week of Christmas or Easter Sunday
Season Nine: 9/17-7/28 no episode on New Year's eve or Easter Sunday. Last two episodes air few weeks after season ended.
Season Ten: 9/15-5/11 no episode week of Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter Sunday
Season 11: 9/14-4/19: no episode week of Christmas plus one other week
Season Twelve: 9/13-4/11 two weeks with no episode
Season Thirteen: 9/19-4/2 two weeks with no episode
Season Fourteen 9/12-1/16 two weeks skipped in fall, was cancelled so probably to pad remaining episodes to last until start of new season in Jan.

HOGAN'S HEROES

Season One: 9/17-4/29 1 week with no episode
Season Two: 9/16-4/17 non-stop new episodes
Season Three 9/19-3/30 non stop new episodes
Season Four: 9/28-3/22 non stop new episodes
Season Five: 9/26-3/27 1 week with no episode
Season Six: 9/20- 4/4 2 weeks with no episode, 1 at Christmas 12/20

Lost In Space skipped two weeks the first season. One for a Christmas special, the other a Barnum Bailey circus special
Season two ran non-stop new episodes every week from 9/14-4/26

Last edited by rw2516; 02-01-11 at 12:33 PM.

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