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March 1995, Week 1


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"Steven M. Blacher" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Mar 1995 08:14:41 CST
text/plain (59 lines)
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> On Fri, 17 Feb 1995, Matt McAllister wrote:
> > My understanding is that when a new prime TV sitcom is picked up for a full
> > season the network typically orders 20 episodes for the year.  How many
> > episodes does the network order for a mondo-hit show, like Roseanne or
> > Seinfeld?  Is it the same number, a higher number or a lesser number?
In article <[log in to unmask]>, d
leconte <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> if the show is picked up for a full
> season then the required number is 22 or 24.
Yes, that's the standard number for a full season on the broadcast
networks (though Fox does a few more per season on a few of its programs).
However, it's equally common these days for a network to place only a 13
episode order at a time, and commit to the full season order more towards
mid-season. In the case of new programs, there may often an initial order
of only 6-7 episodes.
> Big hits get renewels on multiple season basis.
This is a new phenomenom and is still rare, though you are right that this
has now occurred on several programs. I think two full seasons is still
the longest commitment that's been made (there may be one case of a 3 year
renewal, with escape clauses).
> Reasoning being if it was a big hit one season,
> it's most likely to be a big hit for several more seasons.
I can't think of a show that has gotten a multi year renewal after just
one season; the shows on which this has been done were very established
hits of several years standing. There has been a case or two of a network
committing to a show for two years even before it went on the air, to
their regret.
>  The network
> would want to secure that hit to be on their, and not on a competing
> network.  Because, what could happen, is that the next season the studio
> that produced the show might want to renegotiate a price for its hit
show, >and take it up for bidding against other networks.
This is basically accurate also, with the proviso that all contracts
standardly guarantee the network exclusive rights to a show for the first
4 years of its run. After those four years, the producers might be free to
take a show elsewhere and set up competitive bidding. If a network drops a
show within the first 4 years, the producers can then try to shop it
elsewhere, as has happened in a few cases also.
Steven M. Blacher / Wellfleet Productions
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