1) Only 32% of broadcast network shows make it to a second season.
2) Shows that premiere in September have the best chance of survival.
3) Scripted and unscripted shows fail at the same rate.
4) Friday night is indeed the "death slot."
5) 10 o'clock is just as successful as any other time period.
6) 5% of shows that are announced don't even air.
7) 4% of broadcast series have changed networks.
8) New shows on average lose 14% of their audience by episode two.
9) Cable dramas are almost twice as likely to return as broadcast ones.
10) History is on the side of the majority of this fall's new shows.
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Welcome once again to "The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season," our recurring 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. It's been a few years so we'll revisit some of our previous research as well as dig into some new areas we haven't touched on before.
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...
6. 5% of shows that are announced don't even air.
Last week we spent a lot of time slicing and dicing the 892 series that premiered in the past 13 seasons (that's 1999-2000 through 2011-2012). But there are actually over 50 other series that were set to launch during said stretch that never made it to the airwaves. Here's a breakdown of those projects, which include everything from pilots that got their series orders rescinded to full-fledged series that were shelved.
SHOWS PRODUCED BUT NEVER AIRED:
blonde charity mafia (cw, 2009-2010)
do you trust me? (cbs, 2007-2008)
fling (fox, 2000-2001)
grubbs, the (fox, 2002-2003)
manchester prep (fox, 1999-2000)
men's room, the (nbc, 2004-2005)
misconceptions (wb, 2005-2006)
nightmare on elm street: real nightmares (cbs, 2004-2005)
off limits (upn, 2000-2001)
ortegas, the (fox, 2003-2004)
our little genius (fox, 2009-2010)
perfect partners (nbc, 2002-2003)
septuplets (fox, 2002-2003)
singles table, the (nbc, 2006-2007)
still life (fox, 2003-2004)
thick & thin (nbc, 2005-2006)
two timer, the (abc, 2003-2004)
waterfront (cbs, 2006-2007)
welcome to the neighborhood (abc, 2004-2005)
when women rule the world (fox, 2007-2008)
SHOWS PRODUCED BUT DID NOT AIR ON ORIGINAL NETWORK:
american princess (we, originally for nbc)
greg behrendt's wake-up call (soapnet, originally for abc)
jake effect, the (bravo, originally for nbc)
make my day (tv land, originally for wb)
swords: life on the line (discovery, originally for nbc)
PILOTS THAT HAD SERIES ORDERS RESCINDED:
commando nanny (wb, 2004 upfront)
day one (nbc, 2009 upfront)
eight days a week (cw, 2007 post-upfront)
fearless (wb, 2003 upfront)
it crowd, the (nbc, 2007 upfront)
man, the (cbs, 2007 post-upfront)
mayor, the (wb, 2003 upfront)
schimmel (fox, 2000 upfront)
single with parents (abc, 2008 post-upfront)
wedding album, the (fox, 2006 upfront)
SHOWS GREENLIT BUT NEVER PRODUCED ANY EPISODES*:
arranged marriage (cbs, 2009 upfront)
athens (fox, 2004 upfront)
buy it now (abc, summer 2006)
flintstones, the (fox, 2011 upfront)
frame, the (cw, 2011 upfront)
heroes: origins (nbc, 2007 upfront)
jingles (cbs, summer 2008)
let's dance (abc, winter 2009)
office spin-off, the (nbc, 2008 upfront)
partner, the (fox, 2004 upfront)
runner, the (abc, january 2002)
salvage (nbc, 2008 upfront)
shark taggers (nbc, 2008 upfront)
untitled elfman & lorre project (cbs, 2004 upfront)
untitled gilmore girls project (wb, 2003 upfront)
world moves (nbc, 2007 upfront)
* shows that were formally announced at the specified upfront or were actually given premiere dates at one point
So why did the aforementioned shows get mothballed? Generally speaking there are two reasons: creative differences and inventory issues. The first is fairly self-evident: the network didn't like where the show was going and found it was easier to scrap the project entirely. The second is probably the most common: midseason shows are frequently rolled back - or cut completely - due to fall successes. Beyond those two the rationale could be anything from protests ("Welcome to the Neighborhood") to internal controversies ("Our Little Genius") to we'll just never know why.
Ultimately, the point is this: if you add the aforementioned group to the pool of 892 series that did air, there's a 5% chance any series that gets announced never makes it to air.
PREVIOUSLY: 10 o'clock is just as successful as any other time period.
TOMORROW: What's the likelihood of a series changing networks?