[10/04/12 - 10:17 PM]
The 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Season, Part 9: Cable Dramas Are Almost Twice as Likely to Return as Broadcast Ones
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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.

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

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...

9. Cable dramas are almost twice as likely to return as broadcast ones.

Last week we broke down that in the past 13 seasons (that's 1999-2000 through 2011-2012), the major broadcast networks have trotted out 339 new dramas. Of those, 111 made it to a second season. That 33% survival rate is actually one tick above the industry average of 32%.

But does cable do any better?

During that same 13 year stretch, the basic and pay cable channels have collectively launched 180 dramas*. As of this writing, 117 have received renewals for a second season. That's a stunning 65% survival rate. Take a look:

a&e6/7 (86%)
abc family9/17 (53%)
amc6/7 (86%)
bravo0/1 (0%)
cartoon0/2 (0%)
cinemax1/1 (100%)
espn0/2 (0%)
fx9/13 (69%)
hbo12/16 (75%)
lifetime7/15 (47%)
mtv1/3 (33%)
showtime17/22 (77%)
soapnet2/3 (67%)
spike tv0/1 (0%)
starz4/5 (80%)
syfy13/22 (59%)
tbs0/1 (0%)
tnn1/1 (100%)
tnt15/20 (75%)
usa13/19 (68%)
vh11/2 (50%)
total117/180 (65%)

* excludes the imported series on BBC America, DirecTV, Logo, Reelz and Science as well as shows whose fates are still to be determined

As if cable didn't have enough to trumpet, it can add its success rate to the list.

PREVIOUSLY: New shows on average lose 14% of their audience by episode two.

TOMORROW: What are the historical odds each of this fall's new shows have at returning?

  [october 2012]  

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

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