2011-12 Season Disclaimers

09/12/2011 at 11:32 pm | Posted in iamnoahjames.com, Net/Spec | 1 Comment
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As I delve into the networks’ 2011-2012 line-up over the next few days, I thought it would be best to explain a few things.  This way, I don’t have to repeat myself.  If you have any questions – or think I’ve missed a few things – please email or reply in the comments.

For the new season, I will be starting with The CW (since The Ringer starts tomorrow).  However, I will not be including The CW in the network comparison posts.  This is not a diss to the network that CBS/WB built.  I won’t include it because The CW’s metric for programming and their shows’ success/failure isn’t the same as the Big Four.  The CW doesn’t base renewal/cancelation decisions completely on ratings.  Their (CBS & CW) primary goal is to produce original content in order to sell it into global syndication.  As long as they don’t lose money in the process, they typically keep the show on. 

In fact, they are notorious for bundling more popular shows with lower performers – this gives the global stations better deals on buying two shows – but has caused some friction with executive producers of some shows.  The Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (who adapted Smallville, and were the showrunners for the first 7 seasons)  actually sued, claiming that they were owed more than half of the residuals on global sales, since the stations were only buying the lower rated show because it was bundled with the hugely popular Smallville – had Smallville been sold separately, they claimed the other show wouldn’t have been.

Alfred Gough & Miles Millar

Regardless, as of this posting, the system has been working well for both co-owners.  They do tend to cancel the lowest rated of the shows – not counting Friday shows (which we will discuss soon) – but that tends to be the only time they look at Nielsen.

Moving on from CW…

I will be including premiere dates for the shows in the network specific posts – but not the Network v. Network daily breakdown ones.

For the new shows, some will be described using known properties (you’ll know what I mean when you read The CW post).  This is not a dig at the show for being unoriginal.  In fact, most of your favorite shows and movies were pitched to studios and executives using other shows/movies to create an instant picture.  You only have a little time to pitch your idea, and you have to be able to make the tone as vivid as you can to get the top brass excited.  A murky pitch does not get a show greenlit.

I might repeat this when I address the Friday schedule, but oh well.  The fact is that all four of the big networks have scripted dramas on that night.  Other than Fringe and Chuck (who are on Fridays to let them run their course), the ONLY reason networks put scripted shows on the night with the lowest weekly viewership is for advertiser dollars.  Advertisers still don’t spend as much on reality/unscripted shows as they do scripted – unless a proven entity like Survivor or American Idol – so networks try and grab as much of the money up for grabs as they can.  So what happens when that show usually get cancelled, but the advertisers paid for more episodes of it?  Same thing that happens when a show doesn’t perform as well as promised to advertisers: Makegoods – meaning they get those (ratings) points made good by the network airing free spots on other programs.

Finally, I will not be covering midseason shows (except possibly FOX).  I’ve found that a good chunk of those new programs either come-and-go, get pushed back to being burned off on the summer schedule, or get shelved – so there’s not much reason to invest time in them until they actually see the light of day.  FOX is an exception because – due to American Idol – their midseason schedule has been known to be drastically different than their fall one. 

Without further ado, I will start the new 2011-2012 schedule breakdown for each network.  This will be followed by addressing each day of the week (minus Saturdays) and predicting which network will win in the prime demos – A18-49 and Households.  Feel free to join in the prediction/analysis fun!

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  1. […] basically the sequel to Doc Hollywood with a gender-swap of the main character.  Like I said in my disclaimer post, I’m not accusing them of ripping off the fun movie starring Michael J. Fox; I’m simply doing […]


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