Thursday, December 10, 2009

I watch too much TV

Momentum. It's all about forward progress, right? Well, what happens when you break that momentum?

The best people to ask would be the television executives of America. In some of my daily reading I do to prep for my TV blog I came across the story about "Fringe" on Fox airing its final episode of the year tonight. The show will then return January 14 for four episodes then go on hiatus again until April 1. Factor in, too, that "Fringe" took a three or so week break back in October for baseball coverage and that adds up to three rather lengthy hiatus periods.

The model of stretching 20-24 episodes from mid-September to mid-May doesn't work. My math says that adds up to about 36-37 weeks of the calendar year - leaving 12-17 weeks open. At the large end of that spectrum, that leaves enough weeks to air a full (but somewhat short) season of a second entirely different series. Sure, it would cost a fair amount of money to do so but wouldn't well-written, well-acted, original (and hopefully scripted) programming play out better than repeats and wouldn't airing all of the episodes of any given show in succession better satisfy fans and lead to a more intense fan base?

While "Lost" on ABC may not be the best example, the producers and executives finally figured out that a somewhat shorter season and a definitive endpoint to the series would satisfy fans and only serve to intensify the fandom of the series. "Lost" airs its episodes in succession without repeats or breaks and it works because it builds momentum and excitement. Viewers and their short attention spans don't forget about the plot because the show airs every week at the same time with no breaks for viewers to forget the plot. It also frees up half of the year in that particular timeslot for ABC to air other programming. It allows ABC to experiment to a certain degree with what may or may not work in terms of programming and scheduling. It's partly the reason why ABC has experienced a rebirth of sorts in the past decade.

The exact opposite reason is why NBC has fallen deep in to the shitter. They routinely have shows on hiatus for weeks at time - and viewers not only forget the storyline of the show but also forget that it even exists. That forgetfulness shows, too. The only shows I religiously tune in to on NBC are their Thursday comedies. They've improved this year over last year and it's become appointment viewing for me. But that's the exception for me.

I prefer the continuous scheduling model but I'm curious what others think. Do you care or have you given up and switched what TV watching you do to cable channels?

If you want visual stimulation, check out the killer photos of Minnesota on MinnPics.

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