Programming Note: Why are so many shows in repeats?

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Tonight is the grave of television due to the March sweeps and I have been away from my TV longer than I can remember this week due to the lack of shows on the air and the lack of new episodes of shows that are still on the air. Of course last week, Jersey Shore and Skins ended their runs for the season, and almost all CW shows have taken extremely long breaks for the Midseason, but they’ll be back next week. ABC has also been playing around with Modern Family fans like me, by airing only 1 new episode in the last four weeks. NBC has done similar action with Parks and Recreation; so has Fox with Glee and Raising Hope. Why are they doing this?

In a regular television season, there are usually 22 episodes in a season for the average television show with a full season pickup. It premieres in the fall, let’s say, September, and ends in May. You’re looking at over 35 weeks in-between and the networks have to put something in there. Why not make 35 or more episodes? Well, because it’s probably too expensive, and people usually don’t watch TV during times like the holiday weeks (which is about a month and a half for tv) and the summer, where people are usually out later because of the weather. Now in The CW’s case, it’s a relatively new and small network, so it doesn’t have the money to have many shows (no more than 7 or 8 I believe) with new episodes on the air. Also, since The CW’s target audience is mostly toward women 18-34, they try to strictly put new programming only during the fall.

Does that answer all of your questions? And yes, the networks do put programming in the summer (Wipeout, America’s Got Talent), but it’s nowhere near the amount of programming that is aired in the fall.

But look at the bright side: When there are a lot of repeats, that usually means that a lot more new episodes are coming your way!

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