Thursday, November 1, 2007

Watch, Rinse, Repeat

I hate repeats. Reruns. Repurposed shows. Whatever you want to call 'em. And I never understood how and why shows repeated when they did until I worked in the business.

You may have heard about these things called "sweeps months." Those are the months of February, May and November when advertising rates are set. Rates are based on the ratings network shows get during those months - and at no other time. The rates are what advertisers will pay during what's called "upfronts." That's the time of the year - right after pilot season - when advertisers buy big chunks of time on networks in advance, in other words, they buy time "upfront" instead of buying on the day or week or month of a new season.

Don't worry. You won't be tested on this material.

Now obviously, networks want these rates to be as high as possible which means their ratings have to be as high as possible; hence the need for brand new material that can be shown during those 3 months. Most shows don't produce more than 22 episodes per season, some less, like Lost. So producers and writers write their shows to those sweeps months which is why you see very special episodes like weddings and murders and so on only during February, May and November.

Kinda seems like a cheat, doesn't it? It is. For us as viewers anyway, not the nets who make millions in profits because of it. What's the alternative? Eliminate sweeps months and set the rates accordingly based on season-high ratings. Pretty easy-peasy, if you ask me.

So all this is to say it was a week of repeats in anticipation of November sweeps which begins today.

Your Hollywood connection,