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Will There be a Fall Television Season?

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CBS announced Survivor was pulled from its fall lineup today as a result of shooting delays in Fiji. The delays are, of course, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while it may be the first, it won't be the last of such announcements. 

The network fall television season traditionally begins the Monday following the Emmy Awards (for this year, that would be Monday, September 21.) Los Angeles recently implemented new lockdown orders for Southern California after a new record for C19 cases, which will impact the small amount of filming that had restarted in recent weeks. And that's going to be a problem for networks. Fall dramas and comedies need to be in production by the end of July/beginning of August to make that September premiere deadline. So for each week there is a delay, that translates as a delay for fall season premieres as well. 

The CW may have gambled right with this one. Other than wrapping up the last few episodes of Supernatural, everything else on their fall schedule is either imported from other countries or shows that previously aired on streaming services. The network announced at its upfronts that its official premiere season wouldn't be until January. While the other major networks were hoping to hold on to some semblance of a fall schedule, reality may be setting in that 'normal' won't be returning any time soon. Expect more networks to pull content from whatever streaming platforms they can access, or start cutting deals with networks outside the US to fill all of those primetime hours. For NBC and FOX, it could end up as a double-whammy if NFL football is also curtailed or cancelled altogether. Not only does that leave a massive schedule hole in need of plugging, but NFL rating numbers are a huge part of any network's bid for advertising dollars. 

And don't think streaming services are immune. Jon Favreau announced filming on the second season of The Mandalorian wrapped in March, just before lockdowns went into effect. Likewise, Star Trek: Discovery wrapped its next season in the nick of time. Season two of Star Trek: Picard and The Witcher, however, have both been delayed, pushing back their premieres as well. 

 

Written by LadyShelley on Jul 15, 2020

Comments

TucsonPC posted 24 days ago

@SilverSurfer wrote:
Love! OTR but haven't listened to much lately. Usually break some out around the various holidays to match up ... love it when Jack goes Christmas shopping. :)

Get yourself an Alexa and you can hear it for free anytime via your Alexa. Try out 'hanksoldtimeradio,com to get ya started.

SilverSurfer posted 27 days ago

@TucsonPC wrote:
Really don't care at this point..I'm enjoying more old time radio these days rather than watch tv reruns

Love! OTR but haven't listened to much lately. Usually break some out around the various holidays to match up ... love it when Jack goes Christmas shopping. :)

TucsonPC posted 27 days ago

Really don't care at this point..I'm enjoying more old time radio these days rather than watch tv reruns

LadyShelley posted 27 days ago

@ArkhamNative wrote:
DC: Aww, why not Doom Patrol? I heard good things about that from JMS. Maybe too edgy? (US networks do often seem to cater to "tune out" viewers.) 

But even my optimism doesn't extend to networks pulling over streaming hits like Stranger Things, Hamilton/Mandalorian, Star Trek: Discovery or The Handmaid's Tale. (It would be funny if networks aired the new seasons of their canceled shows "saved" by Netflix, though.) Also, networks do sometimes pull stuff from overseas. They've just tweaked and re-filmed them (The Mysteries of Laura and Red Band Society are two I know of off-hand).

Oh, the double-airing of Cosmos PW was already planned back in March. I thought it was odd at the time.

Counter to all this "pull from streaming", the Peacock streaming service's "originals" list on Wikipedia indicated that some shows had been pulled from its parent company's existing cable channels (The "SyFy" [sic] Channel, USA, Bravo, & E!). It made me think, how sad for those cable channels to lose promising programming. (I suppose they can fill the empty timeslots with wrestling reruns or something.) :P

The problem with most of the streaming stuff is the seasons are too short. It will work as a short term stop gap (getting them through say the Christmas holidays) but it's not a long term solution. I can see the possibility of ABC running Mandalorian or CBS running the first season of Discovery as a way to advertise for their streaming services if nothing else. (and they aren't going to get much of a subscriber loss at this point as the episodes are already months to a year old) The old 'here's a taste, if you want more you need to pay' trick. Hamilton isn't going to happen. It's too new, and I'm not sure what agreements Disney had to make to get it. As for programs like The Handmaid's Tale, with the Hulu ownership changes recently, I'm not sure who owns it! LOL

Yes, networks will buy rights to things first made overseas and remake them. Most (all??) of the reality shows that air in the States, started overseas, for example. And there have been some successful remakes of foreign originals. It is rare for a US network to buy a preexisting show outright and re-transmit what already exists. 

The Cosmos thing was strange. It was filmed a couple of years ago but then Neil DeGrasse Tyson got caught up in the metoo stuff and it was pulled from the schedule. It was supposed to air on FOX anyway, not really sure why or how Nat Geo ended up in the mix to air it first (other than the fact Disney now owns them both)

Cannibalism is a real threat in all of this. How much of their cable and streaming programming will parent companies be willing to sacrifice to keep their flagship networks afloat? How will those decisions now affect those other outlets down the road? It's going to be an interesting couple of years as all of this shakes out. 

ArkhamNative posted 27 days ago

@LadyShelley wrote:
,,, the CW has already committed to airing the less than good recent version of Swamp Thing that premiered on the DC streaming channel.... FOX is planning to air ... Cosmos Possible Worlds that has already aired on Nat Geo. 

DC: Aww, why not Doom Patrol? I heard good things about that from JMS. Maybe too edgy? (US networks do often seem to cater to "tune out" viewers.) 

But even my optimism doesn't extend to networks pulling over streaming hits like Stranger Things, Hamilton/Mandalorian, Star Trek: Discovery or The Handmaid's Tale. (It would be funny if networks aired the new seasons of their canceled shows "saved" by Netflix, though.) Also, networks do sometimes pull stuff from overseas. They've just tweaked and re-filmed them (The Mysteries of Laura and Red Band Society are two I know of off-hand).

Oh, the double-airing of Cosmos PW was already planned back in March. I thought it was odd at the time.

Counter to all this "pull from streaming", the Peacock streaming service's "originals" list on Wikipedia indicated that some shows had been pulled from its parent company's existing cable channels (The "SyFy" [sic] Channel, USA, Bravo, & E!). It made me think, how sad for those cable channels to lose promising programming. (I suppose they can fill the empty timeslots with wrestling reruns or something.) :P

SilverSurfer posted 28 days ago

@LadyShelley wrote:
If the number of people here stating how they are binge-watching anything they can find is anything to go by, I doubt the sofa spuds are disappearing that quickly. LOL 

I assume the posters here are the hard core viewers and you are correct, they ain't going nowhere ... and I consider most of them washed ;) I was talking about the majority of the viewing public who may find other avenues of entertainment and not return, or at least not fully return to old habits.

Will there be more international production deals to spread out the production costs? US networks in the past have been reluctant to import shows, might these events change that?  

Not just to spread the cost but to escape the s***show that is the US right now. The NHL finally chose Toronto & Edmonton to resume play because we have the virus under control at the moment. If stars are willing to accept a 14 day quarantine upon arrival and follow proper protocols while filming, I think Canada may be ready to restart the industry in a month or two ... maybe even sooner.

LadyShelley posted 28 days ago

@SilverSurfer wrote:
Networks, Streamers, Production Companies & Stars biggest fear now is not COVID ... it is that the great unwashed masses discover other things to do and occupy their time and they never fully come back to being full fledged couch spuds.

If the number of people here stating how they are binge-watching anything they can find is anything to go by, I doubt the sofa spuds are disappearing that quickly. LOL 

It will be interesting to see how or even if this changes the overall television/streaming landscape. Like I said, networks and streamers are in the same boat. No one can film at the moment, so I doubt we'll see much shifting, beyond the current slow drift, in where people are getting content. 

But does this force networks away from pilot season, for example? This year it's already a bust. Will it be back next year? 

Will this actually discourage networks moving to shorter seasons as they will need more shows, not fewer, and the aggregate episode count would be higher? (two shows with 13 episode seasons as opposed to one show with an episode count of 20-22 episodes) And before anyone says it, I seriously doubt networks will move to 10 episodes or less. (three 10 episode shows is an even higher number of total episodes that need to be produced) If productions are forced into a limited filming window, that's not going to work out well. 

Will there be more international production deals to spread out the production costs? US networks in the past have been reluctant to import shows, might these events change that? 

SilverSurfer posted 28 days ago

Networks, Streamers, Production Companies & Stars biggest fear now is not COVID ... it is that the great unwashed masses discover other things to do and occupy their time and they never fully come back to being full fledged couch spuds.

LadyShelley posted 28 days ago

@ArkhamNative wrote:
«Major networks might source content from streaming &/| foreign sources»? That could hurt their profits, but I’ll be an optimist and hope this might be the best quality season of US broadcast TV in decades.  :D

You'd think it would affect something, either network revenue or streaming revenue. But the CW has already committed to airing the less than good recent version of Swamp Thing that premiered on the DC streaming channel, along with some things imported from Canada and the UK. FOX is planning to air a couple of 13 episode shows that it didn't get around to airing this last season as well as Cosmos Possible Worlds that has already aired on Nat Geo. 

ABC never actually announced a fall lineup, so I wouldn't be surprised if most of their content is from Disney+ or another previously aired source. CBS, and to a lesser extent NBC, seems to think they will have a normal fall season. They may be in for a bit of a shock come September. 

ArkhamNative posted 28 days ago

«Major networks might source content from streaming &/| foreign sources»? That could hurt their profits, but I’ll be an optimist and hope this might be the best quality season of US broadcast TV in decades.  :D

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