[10/02/09 - 08:53 AM]
The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season: #5 - Scripted Shows Fare Better on Cable
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...

5. Half of all scripted cable shows make it to a second season.

Yesterday we pointed out that 33% of all new dramas and 30% of all new comedies make it to second seasons on the broadcast networks. But what about cable? Here's a breakdown of how new scripted shows on cable have fared in the past 10 years (i.e. those that have launched from 9/1/99-6/1/09):

a&e3/4 (75%)3/4 (75%)
abc family1/5 (20%)6/10 (60%)7/15 (47%)
amc3/3 (100%)3/3 (100%)
bravo1/2 (50%)1/2 (50%)
comedy central11/25 (44%)11/25 (44%)
e!1/3 (33%)1/3 (33%)
espn0/2 (0%)0/2 (0%)
fx2/5 (40%)7/9 (78%)9/14 (64%)
hbo8/14 (57%)8/11 (73%)16/25 (64%)
ifc6/8 (75%)6/8 (75%)
lifetime1/2 (50%)5/11 (45%)6/13 (46%)
mtv6/21 (29%)0/1 (0%)6/22 (27%)
nick at nite1/1 (100%)1/1 (100%)
oxygen1/4 (25%)1/4 (25%)
showtime5/9 (56%)14/19 (74%)19/28 (68%)
soapnet2/3 (67%)2/3 (67%)
spike tv1/10 (10%)0/1 (0%)1/11 (9%)
starz2/3 (67%)1/1 (100%)3/4 (75%)
syfy1/2 (50%)6/15 (40%)7/17 (41%)
tbs5/6 (83%)5/6 (83%)
tnt5/10 (50%)5/10 (50%)
usa0/2 (0%)7/12 (58%)7/14 (50%)
vh11/3 (33%)0/1 (0%)1/4 (25%)
total53/122 (43%)67/112 (60%)120/234 (51%)

The overall numbers shouldn't be much a surprise: cable traditionally has a more patient attitude. After all, original content is about as big of a promotional tool a network can have for its brand. And for the overwhelming majority of networks that have tried scripted programming, it's paid off. (Only ESPN, Spike TV, Oxygen, VH1 and MTV have fared worse than the broadcast networks in launching scripted programming.) And for dramas it's even better - 60% of them made it a second season - while networks like HBO, Showtime and FX fare that well with every original program they launch. All in all, the cable shows you've added to your lineup this fall are more likely to be around than the broadcast ones.

MONDAY: Why don't cable channels pick up canceled broadcast network shows?

  [october 2009]  

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

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