[10/01/09 - 12:37 AM]
The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season: #4 - Genre Doesn't Matter Either
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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Welcome once again to "The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season," our annual feature about, well... the 10 things you need to know about the new season. The goal of this venture is to address not only common questions people have about television but to also demystify (or potentially reaffirm) stigmas out there about certain networks, time periods, genres and so forth. So with that in mind let us put on our journalistic caps and give you the cold hard truth about what's potentially ahead for some of your favorite new and returning shows...

4. No major genre fares better than another.

Are audiences giving up on traditional multi-camera sitcoms in favor of single-camera ones? Do dramas fare better than their comedic brethren? Or do reality shows perform the best? The answer to all the above: no. The truth is scripted and unscripted shows more or less succeed and fail at the same rate. Sure there are some problematic genres (animation, improv and newsmagazine) but the most prolific categories (multi-camera comedies, single-camera comedies, dramas, reality competition shows and docusoaps) all stay fairly close to the average 31% survival rate of new shows. Take a look at each genre's success rate in the past 10 years:

0/1 (0%)0/1 (0%)1/2 (50%)0/3 (0%)0/2 (0%)1/3 (33%)2/12 (17%)
2/4 (50%)0/6 (0%)1/6 (17%)2/5 (40%)5/21 (24%)
9/29 (31%)10/25 (40%)6/18 (33%)4/26 (15%)7/15 (47%)5/14 (36%)1/1 (100%)42/128 (33%)
5/15 (33%)0/4 (0%)6/16 (38%)6/13 (46%)1/3 (33%)0/7 (0%)0/1 (0%)18/59 (31%)
drama17/58 (29%)24/52 (46%)12/46 (26%)16/52 (31%)3/16 (19%)10/24 (42%)3/9 (33%)85/257 (33%)
game show2/11 (18%)2/5 (40%)3/8 (38%)4/9 (44%)11/33 (33%)
newsmagazine2/14 (14%)1/2 (50%)0/1 (0%)3/17 (18%)
8/22 (36%)5/13 (38%)6/27 (22%)11/37 (30%)1/7 (14%)3/10 (30%)1/5 (20%)35/121 (29%)
4/18 (22%)0/4 (0%)5/16 (31%)3/6 (50%)0/5 (0%)3/4 (75%)0/3 (0%)15/56 (27%)
sports1/1 (100%)1/2 (50%)2/3 (67%)
total50/173 (29%)41/104 (39%)40/141 (28%)46/154 (30%)12/48 (25%)24/67 (36%)5/20 (25%)218/707 (31%)

Among the more interesting trends: CBS has kept 40% of its new multi-camera shows around for a second season but none of its single-camera shows; NBC conversely is batting 46% for its single-camera comedies while just 15% for multi-camera ones. By the same token CBS has had success with 38% of its reality competition shows but none at all with its docusoaps whereas FOX and NBC have seen more failures in the former genre. All in all, you definitely can get the sense of each network's brand from the above data.

TOMORROW: Are cable channels really more patient than the broadcast networks?

  [october 2009]  

(series past and present)
(series in development)
(tv movies and mini-series)

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