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A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a
television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a tuner, display, and loudspeakers, for the purpose of viewing and hearing television Television ...
which can be broadcast via over-the-air,
satellite In the context of spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spaceflight ...
, or
cable Cable may refer to: Mechanical * Nautical cable A nautical cable is a band of tightly woven and clamped ropes, of a defined cable length, used during the age of sail for deep water anchoring, heavy lifting, ship to ship transfers and towing durin ...
, excluding
breaking news Breaking news, interchangeably termed late-breaking news and also known as a special report or special coverage or news flash, is a current issue that broadcasters feel warrants the interruption of scheduled programming or current news in order ...
,
advertisements Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasi ...
, or
trailers Trailer may refer to: Transportation * Trailer (vehicle), an unpowered vehicle pulled by a powered vehicle ** Bicycle trailer, a wheeled frame for hitching to a bicycle to tow cargo or passengers ** Full-trailer ** Semi-trailer **Horse trailer an ...
that are typically placed between shows. Television shows are most often scheduled for broadcast well ahead of time and appear on
electronic guides
electronic guides
or other
TV listings TV listings (television listings, also sometimes called a TV guide or program/programme guide) are a printed or electronic timetable File:Departure for the south - Nashville.jpg, A train schedule informs travelers of the trains going to vari ...
, but
streaming service Streaming media is multimedia Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed ...
s often make them available for viewing anytime. The content in a television show can be produced with different methodologies such as taped variety shows emanating from a television studio stage, animation or a variety of film productions ranging from movies to series. Shows not produced on a television studio stage are usually contracted or licensed to be made by appropriate production companies. Television shows can be viewed live (real time), be recorded on
home video Home video is prerecorded media sold or Video rental shop, rented for home viewing. The term originates from the VHS and Betamax era, when the predominant medium was videotapes, but has carried over to optical disc formats such as DVD and Blu-ra ...
, a
digital video recorder A digital video recorder (DVR) is an electronic device The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol ...

digital video recorder
for later viewing, be viewed on demand via a
set-top box A set-top box (STB), also colloquially known as a cable box and historically television decoder, is an information appliance A Newton PDA An information appliance (IA) is an appliance that is designed to easily perform a specific electronic ...
, or streamed over the internet. A television show is also called a television program ( en-GB, programme), especially if it lacks a
narrative structure Narrative structure is a literary elementA literary element, or narrative element, or element of literature is an essential characteristic of all works of written and spoken narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of rela ...
. In the US and Canada, a television series is usually released in episodes that follow a narrative and are usually divided into ''seasons''. In the UK, a television series is a yearly or semiannual set of new episodes. (In effect, a "series" in the UK is the same as a "season" in the US and Canada.) A small collection of episodes may also be called a limited series or
miniseries A miniseries, or mini-series, is a television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set which can be broadcast via over-the- ...
. A one-off collection of episodes may be called a "'
TV special A television special (often TV special, or rarely "television spectacular") is a stand-alone television show Image:MDR Kripo live.jpg, upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content ...
"' or limited series. A
motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, o ...

motion picture
(also known as a movie) for television is initially broadcast as such rather than
direct-to-video Direct-to-video or straight-to-video refers to the release Release may refer to: * Film release, the public distribution of a film * Legal release, a legal instrument * News release, a communication directed at the news media * Release (ISUP), a ...
or on the traditional
big screen A feature film or feature-length film is a narrative film, narrative film (motion picture or "movie") with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole presentation in a commercial entertainment program. The term ''feature f ...

big screen
.


History

The first television shows were experimental, sporadic broadcasts viewable only within a very short range from the
broadcast tower Radio masts and towers are typically tall structures designed to support antenna (radio), antennas for telecommunications and broadcasting, including television. There are two main types: guyed and self-supporting structures. They are among the ta ...
starting in the 1930s. Televised events such as the
1936 Summer Olympics The 1936 Summer Olympics (German language, German: ''Olympische Sommerspiele 1936''), officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad (German language, German: ''Spiele der XI. Olympiade''), were an international multi-sport event held from 1 ...
in Germany, the 1937
coronation of King George VI
coronation of King George VI
in the UK, and David Sarnoff's famous introduction at the
1939 New York World's Fair The 1939–40 New York World's Fair was a world's fair A world's fair is a large international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations. These exhibitions vary in character and are held in different parts of the world at ...
in the US spurred a growth in the medium, but
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
put a halt to development until after the war. The
1947 World Series The 1947 World Series matched the 1947 New York Yankees season, New York Yankees against the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season, Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees won the Series in seven games for their first title since , and their 11th World Series champ ...
inspired many Americans to buy their first television set and then in 1948, the popular
radio show A radio program, radio programme, or radio show is a segment of content intended for broadcast on radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of fre ...

radio show
''
Texaco Star Theater ''Texaco Star Theater'' was an American comedy-variety show, broadcast on radio from 1938 to 1949 and telecast from 1948 to 1956. It was one of the first successful examples of American television broadcasting, remembered as the show that gave Mi ...
'' made the move and became the first weekly televised
variety show #REDIRECT Variety show#REDIRECT Variety show Variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts including musical theatre, musical performances, sketch comedy, magic (illusion), magic, a ...
, earning host
Milton Berle Milton Berle (born Mendel Berlinger; ; July 12, 1908 – March 27, 2002) was an American comedian and actor. Berle's career as an entertainer spanned over 80 years, first in silent films and on stage as a child actor, then in radio, movies and te ...
the name "Mr Television" and demonstrating that the medium was a stable, modern form of entertainment which could attract
advertisers Advertising is a marketing Marketing refers to activities a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal ...
. The first national
live television Live television is a television production A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a which can be broadcast via , , or , excluding , , or that are typically placed between shows. Television shows a ...
broadcast in the US took place on September 4, 1951, when President
Harry Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs th ...

Harry Truman
's speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (dis ...

San Francisco
was transmitted over
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...

AT&T
's transcontinental
cable Cable may refer to: Mechanical * Nautical cable A nautical cable is a band of tightly woven and clamped ropes, of a defined cable length, used during the age of sail for deep water anchoring, heavy lifting, ship to ship transfers and towing durin ...
and
microwave radio relay Microwave transmission is the Data transmission, transmission of information by electromagnetic waves with wavelengths in the microwave range (1 m - 1 mm) of the electromagnetic spectrum. Microwave signals are normally limited to the sightline, ...
system to broadcast stations in local markets. The first national color broadcast (the 1954
Tournament of Roses Parade A tournament is a competition involving 4 or more teams, or a large number of competitors, all participating in a sport or game. More specifically, the term may be used in either of two overlapping senses: # One or more competitions held at a sing ...
) in the US occurred on January 1, 1954. During the following ten years most network broadcasts, and nearly all local programming, continued to be in black-and-white. A color transition was announced for the fall of 1965, during which over half of all network prime-time programming would be broadcast in color. The first all-color prime-time season came just one year later. In 1972, the last holdout among daytime network shows converted to color, resulting in the first completely all-color network season.


Formats and genres

Television shows are more varied than most other forms of media due to the wide variety of formats and genres that can be presented. A show may be
fictional Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculp ...
(as in
comedies Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television ...
and
dramas Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a g ...
), or
non-fictional Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document or content (media), media content that intends, in good faith, to present only truth and accuracy regarding information, events, or people. Nonfictional content may be presented either Objectiv ...
(as in documentary,
news News is information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whethe ...
, and
reality television Reality television is a genre of television programming that documents purportedly unscripted real-life situations, often starring unknown people rather than professional actors. Reality television emerged as a distinct genre in the early 1990 ...
). It may be topical (as in the case of a
local Local may refer to: Geography and transportation * Local (train), a train serving local traffic demand * Local, Missouri, a community in the United States * Local government, a form of public administration, usually the lowest tier of administrati ...
newscast News broadcasting is the medium of broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium (communication), mass communications medium, but typically one using th ...
and some
made-for-television A television film is a feature-lengthIn Internet marketing, online marketing, a landing page, sometimes known as a "lead capture page","single property page", "static page", "squeeze page" or a "destination page", is a single web page that appe ...
films), or historical (as in the case of many documentaries and fictional series). They could be primarily instructional or
educational Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...
, or entertaining as is the case in
situation comedy A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stud ...
and
game show A game show is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being ...
s. A drama program usually features a set of
actor An actor is a person who portrays a character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set ...

actor
s playing characters in a historical or contemporary setting. The program follows their lives and adventures. Before the 1980s, shows (except for
soap opera A soap opera or ''soap'' for short is a radio or television serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), p ...
-type serials) typically remained static without
story arc A story arc (also narrative arc) is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission ...
s, and the main characters and premise changed little. If some change happened to the characters' lives during the
episode An episode is a narrative unit within a larger drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio dram ...
, it was usually undone by the end. Due to this, the episodes could be broadcast in any order. Since the 1980s, many series feature progressive change in the plot, the characters, or both. For instance, ''
Hill Street Blues ''Hill Street Blues'' is an American serialized drama, serial police procedural television series that aired on NBC in prime-time from January 15, 1981, to May 12, 1987, for 146 episodes. The show chronicles the lives of the staff of a single poli ...
'' and '' St. Elsewhere'' were two of the first US prime time drama television series to have this kind of dramatic structure, while the later series ''
Babylon 5 ''Babylon 5'' is an American television series created by writer and producer , under the Babylonian Productions label, in association with Straczynski's Synthetic Worlds Ltd. and . After the successful airing of a on February 22, 1993, ', Wa ...
'' further exemplifies such structure in that it had a predetermined story running over its intended five-season run. In 2012, it was reported that television was growing into a larger component of major media companies' revenues than film. Some also noted the increase in quality of some television programs. In 2012, Academy Award-winning film director
Steven Soderbergh Steven Andrew Soderbergh (; born January 14, 1963) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor. An early pioneer of modern Independent film, independent cinema, Soderbergh is an acclaimed and prolific filmma ...
, commenting on ambiguity and complexity of character and narrative, stated: "I think those qualities are now being seen on television and that people who want to see stories that have those kinds of qualities are watching television."


Production


Development


United States

When a person or company decides to create a new content for television broadcast, they develop the show's elements, consisting of the
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
, the
characters Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Character (novel), ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * Characters (Theophrastus), ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set of char ...
, the
crew A crew is a body or a class of people who work at a common activity, generally in a structured or hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, ca ...
, and cast. Then they often "pitch" it to the various
networks Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Network (1976 film), ''Network'' (1976 film), a 1976 American film * Network (2019 film), ''Network'' (2019 film), an Indian film * Network (album), ''Network'' (album), a 2004 ...
in an attempt to find one interested enough to order a
prototype A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") ...

prototype
first episode of the series, known as a ''
pilot An aircraft pilot or aviator is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical lan ...
.'' Eric Coleman, an animation executive at
Disney The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment and media conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios (Burbank), Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California. Disney was originall ...

Disney
, told an interviewer, "One misconception is that it's very difficult to get in and pitch your show, when the truth is that development executives at networks want very much to hear ideas. They want very much to get the word out on what types of shows they're looking for." To create the pilot, the structure and team of the whole series must be put together. If audiences respond well to the pilot, the network will pick up the show to air it the next season (usually Fall). Sometimes they save it for mid-season, or request rewrites and additional review (known in the industry as ''
development hell Development hell, development purgatory, development limbo, or production hell, is a media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various m ...
''). Other times, they ''pass'' entirely, forcing the show's creator to "shop it around" to other networks. Many shows never make it past the pilot stage. The show hires a stable of
writer A writer is a person who uses writing, written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, books, poetry, travelogues, plays ...

writer
s, who usually work in parallel: the first writer works on the first episode, the second on the second episode, etc. When all the writers have been used, episode assignment starts again with the first writer. On other shows, however, the writers work as a team. Sometimes they develop story ideas individually, and pitch them to the show's creator, who folds them together into a script and rewrites them. If the show is picked up and it's an hour-long drama, the network orders a "run" of episodes—usually only six or 13 episodes at first, though if it's a half-hour comedy then the season typically consists of at least 22 episodes. The midseason seven and last nine episodes are sometimes called the "mid-seven" and "back nine"—borrowing the colloquial terms from bowling and golf.


United Kingdom

The method of "team writing" is employed on some longer dramatic series (usually running up to a maximum of around 13 episodes). The idea for such a program may be generated "in-house" by one of the networks; it could originate from an independent production company (sometimes a product of both). For example, the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
's long-running soap opera ''
EastEnders ''EastEnders'' is a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and ...

EastEnders
'' is wholly a BBC production, whereas its popular drama ''
Life on Mars The possibility of life on Mars is a subject of interest in astrobiology Astrobiology, formerly known as exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life ...
'' was developed by
Kudos Kudos may refer to: Arts and media * Kudos (computer game), ''Kudos'' (computer game), a life simulation game produced by Positech Games * Kudos (production company), a UK-based film and television production company * Kudos, a fictional currency ...
in association with the broadcaster. There are still a significant number of programs (usually
sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stud ...
s) that are built by just one or two writers and a small, close-knit production team. These are "pitched" in the traditional way, but since the creators handle all the writing requirements, there is a run of six or seven episodes per series once approval has been given. Many of the most popular British comedies have been made this way, including ''
Monty Python's Flying Circus ''Monty Python’s Flying Circus'' (also known as simply ''Monty Python''; sometimes abbreviated ''MPFC'') is a British surreal humour, surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python, consisting of Graham Ch ...
'' (albeit with an exclusive team of six writer-performers), ''
Fawlty Towers ''Fawlty Towers'' is a British television sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...
'', ''
Blackadder ''Blackadder'' is a series of four BBC One BBC One is a British free-to-air television network owned and operated by the BBC. It is the corporation’s Flagship (broadcasting), flagship network, and is known for broadcasting mainstream prog ...

Blackadder
'' and ''
The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These productions are often ...
''.


Other nations

The
production company A production company, production house, production studio, or a production team is a business that provides the physical basis for works in the fields of performing arts, new media art, film, television show, television, radio, comics, interactive ...
is often separate from the broadcaster. The
executive producer Executive producer (EP) is one of the top positions in the making of a commercial entertainment product. Depending on the medium, the executive producer may be concerned with management accounting In management accounting or managerial accounting ...
, often the show's creator, is in charge of running the show. They pick the
crew A crew is a body or a class of people who work at a common activity, generally in a structured or hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, ca ...
and help cast the actors, approve and sometimes write series plots—some even write or direct major episodes—while various other producers help to ensure that the show runs smoothly. Very occasionally, the executive producer will cast themselves in the show. As with
filmmaking Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the pr ...
or other
electronic media Electronic media are media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Br ...
production, producing of an individual episode can be divided into three parts:
pre-production Pre-production is the process of planning some of the elements involved in a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Pain ...
,
principal photography Principal photography is the phase of producing a film or television show in which the bulk of shooting takes place, as distinct from the phases of pre-production and post-production. Personnel Besides the main film personnel, such as actor ...
, and
post-production Post-production is part of the process of filmmaking, video production, audio production, and photography. Post-production includes all stages of production occurring after shooting or recording individual program segments. Traditional (analog ...
.


Pre-production

Pre-production begins when a script is approved. A
director Director may refer to: Literature * Director (magazine), ''Director'' (magazine), a British magazine * The Director (novel), ''The Director'' (novel), a 1971 novel by Henry Denker * The Director (play), ''The Director'' (play), a 2000 play by Nanc ...
is chosen to plan the episode's final look. Pre-production tasks include storyboarding; construction of sets, props, and costumes; casting guest stars; budgeting; acquiring resources like lighting, special effects, stunts, etc. Once the show is planned, it must then be scheduled: scenes are often filmed out of sequence, guest actors or even regulars may only be available at certain times. Sometimes the principal photography of different episodes must be done at the same time, complicating the schedule (a guest star might shoot scenes from two episodes on the same afternoon). Complex scenes are translated from storyboard to animatics to further clarify the action. Scripts are adjusted to meet altering requirements. Some shows have a small stable of directors, but also usually rely on outside directors. Given the time constraints of broadcasting, a single show might have two or three episodes in pre-production, one or two episodes in principal photography, and a few more in various stages of post-production. The task of directing is complex enough that a single director can usually not work on more than one episode or show at a time, hence the need for multiple directors.


Principal photography

Principal photography is the actual filming of the episode. Director, actors, and crew gather at a
television studio (MDR) A television studio, also called a television production studio, is an installation room in which video productions take place, either for the production of live television and its recording onto video tape or other media such as SSDs, or ...

television studio
or on location for filming or videoing a scene. A scene is further divided into shots, which should be planned during pre-production. Depending on scheduling, a scene may be shot in non-sequential order of the story. Conversations may be filmed twice from different
camera angle The camera angle marks the specific location at which the movie camera A movie camera (also film camera and cine-camera) is a type of photographic camera that rapidly takes a sequence of photographs, either on an image sensor An image sensor ...
s, often using stand-ins, so one actor might perform all their lines in one set of shots, and then the other side of the conversation is filmed from the opposite perspective. To complete a production on time, a second unit may be filming a different scene on another set or location at the same time, using a different set of actors, an assistant director, and a second unit crew. A
director of photography A cinematographer or director of photography (sometimes shortened to DP or DOP) is the person responsible for the photographing or recording of a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of used to ...
supervises the lighting of each shot to ensure consistency. Live events are usually covered by Outside Broadcast crews using mobile television studios, known as scanners or OB trucks. Although varying greatly depending on the era and subject covered, these trucks were normally crewed by up to 15 skilled operators and production personnel. In the UK for most of the 20th century, the BBC was the preeminent provider of outside broadcast coverage. BBC crews worked on almost every major event, including Royal weddings and funerals, major political and sporting events, and even drama programmes.


Post-production

Once principal photography is complete, producers coordinate tasks to begin the
video editing Video editing is the manipulation and arrangement of video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and ...
. Visual and digital video effects are added to the film; this is often outsourced to companies specializing in these areas. Often music is performed with the conductor using the film as a time reference (other musical elements may be previously recorded). An
editor Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosoph ...

editor
cuts the various pieces of film together, adds the musical score and effects, determines scene transitions, and assembles the completed show.


Budgets and revenues

Most television networks throughout the world are 'commercial', dependent on selling advertising time or acquiring sponsors. Broadcasting executives' main concern over their programming is
audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philoso ...

audience
size. In the past, the number of 'free to air' stations was restricted by the availability of
channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...
frequencies, but
cable TV Cable television is a system of delivering television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A ...
(outside the United States,
satellite television Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite A communications satellite is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunication signals v ...
) technology has allowed an expansion in the number of channels available to viewers (sometimes at premium rates) in a much more competitive environment. In the United States, the average broadcast network drama costs $3million an episode to produce, while cable dramas cost $2million on average. The
pilot An aircraft pilot or aviator is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical lan ...
episode may be more expensive than a regular episode. In 2004, ''Lost'''s two-hour pilot cost $10 to $14million, in 2008 ''Fringe'''s two-hour pilot cost $10million, and in 2010, ''
Boardwalk Empire ''Boardwalk Empire'' is an American period crime drama Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its de ...
'' was $18million for the first episode. In 2011, ''
Game of Thrones ''Game of Thrones'' is an American fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots a ...

Game of Thrones
'' was $5 to $10million, ''Pan Am'' cost an estimated $10million, while ''Terra Nova'''s two-hour pilot was between $10 to $20million. Many scripted
network television A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theory), vertex). Node may ...
shows in the United States are financed through deficit financing: a studio finances the production cost of a show and a network pays a license fee to the studio for the right to air the show. This license fee does not cover the show's production costs, leading to the deficit. Although the studio does not make its money back in the original airing of the show, it retains ownership of the show. This allows the studio to make its money back and earn a profit through
syndication Syndication may refer to: * Broadcast syndication, where individual stations buy programs outside the network system * Print syndication, where individual newspapers or magazines license news articles, columns, or comic strips * Web syndication, ...
and sales of
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital elect ...

DVD
s and
Blu-ray The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of elec ...
s. This system places most of the financial risk on the studios; however, a hit show in the
syndication Syndication may refer to: * Broadcast syndication, where individual stations buy programs outside the network system * Print syndication, where individual newspapers or magazines license news articles, columns, or comic strips * Web syndication, ...
and home video markets can more than make up for the misses. Although deficit financing places minimal financial risk on the networks, they lose out on the future profits of big hits since they are only licensing the shows. Costs are recouped mainly by advertising revenues for broadcast networks and some cable channels, while other cable channels depend on subscriptions. In general, advertisers, and consequently networks that depend on advertising, are more interested in the number of viewers within the 18–49 age range than in the total number of viewers. Advertisers are willing to pay more to advertise on shows successful with young adults because they watch less television and are harder to reach. According to ''Advertising Age'', during the 2007–08 season, ''
Grey's Anatomy ''Grey's Anatomy'' is an American medical drama television series that premiered on March 27, 2005, on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as a mid-season replacement. The series focuses on the lives of surgical internship (medicine), in ...

Grey's Anatomy
'' was able to charge $419,000 per commercial, compared to only $248,000 for a commercial during ''
CSI CSI may refer to: Places * Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Chhatrapati is a royal title from the Indian subcontinent that was mainly used by the Marathas. It is often taken to be the equivalent of emperor An emperor (from la, im ...
'', despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average. Due to its strength with younger viewers, ''
Friends ''Friends'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...
'' was able to charge almost three times as much for a commercial as ''
Murder, She Wrote ''Murder, She Wrote'' is an American crime drama Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre A film genre is a stylistic or thematic category for motion pictures A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving pi ...
'', even though the two series had similar total viewer numbers at that time. ''
Glee Glee means delight, a form of happiness. Glee may also refer to: * Glee (music), a type of English choral music * Glee (TV series), ''Glee'' (TV series), an American musical comedy-drama TV series, and related media * Glee (Bran Van 3000 album), ' ...
'' and ''
The Office ''The Office'' is a mockumentary A mockumentary (a Blend word, blend of ''mock'' and ''documentary'') or docucomedy is a type of film or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These productions are often ...
'' drew fewer total viewers than ''
NCISNCIS or N.C.I.S. may refer to: Law enforcement * National Criminal Intelligence Service, the predecessor to the Serious Organised Crime Agency of the United Kingdom * Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a United States law enforcement and intellig ...
'' during the 2009–10 season, but earned an average of $272,694 and $213,617 respectively, compared to $150,708 for NCIS.


Distribution

After production, the show is handed over to the
television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot") or a point of intersection (a Vertex (graph theory), vertex). Node may ...
, which sends it out to its
affiliate Affiliation or affiliate may refer to: * Affiliate (commerce), a legal form of entity relationship used in Business Law * Affiliation (family law), a legal form of family relationship * Affiliate marketing * Affiliate network or affiliation platfor ...
stations Station may refer to: Agriculture * Station (Australian agriculture), a large Australian landholding used for livestock production * Station (New Zealand agriculture), a large New Zealand farm used for grazing by sheep and cattle ** Cattle statio ...
, which broadcast it in the specified
broadcast programming Broadcast programming is the practice of organizing and/or ordering (scheduling) of broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz ...
time slot. If the
Nielsen ratings Nielsen TV ratings (commonly referred to as Nielsen ratings) are the audience measurement Audience measurement measures how many people are in an audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art ...
are good, the show is kept alive as long as possible. If not, the show is usually canceled. The show's creators are then left to shop around remaining episodes, and the possibility of future episodes, to other networks. On especially successful series, the producers sometimes call a halt to a series on their own like ''
Seinfeld ''Seinfeld'' (; ) is an American sitcom television series created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. It aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, over nine seasons and List of Seinfeld episodes, 180 episodes. It stars Seinfeld as Jerry S ...

Seinfeld
'', ''
The Cosby Show ''The Cosby Show'' is an American television sitcom co-created by and starring Bill Cosby, which aired Thursday nights for eight seasons on NBC between September 20, 1984, until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on an upper-class African-American ...
'', ''
Corner Gas ''Corner Gas'' is a Television in Canada, Canadian television sitcom created by Brent Butt. The series ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009. Re-runs still air on CTV Television Network, CTV, CTV2, CTV Comedy Channel, Much (TV channel), Much, M ...
'', and ''
M*A*S*H ''M*A*S*H'' (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) is an American media franchise consisting of a series of novels, a film, several television series, plays, and other properties, and based on the semi-autobiographical fiction of Richard Hooker (auth ...
'' and end it with a concluding episode, which sometimes is a big
series finale A series finale refers to the last installment of an episodic entertainment series, most often the final episode of a television series. It may also refer to a final theatrical sequel, the last part of a television miniseries, the last installmen ...
. On rare occasions, a series that has not attracted particularly high ratings and has been canceled can be given a reprieve if
home video Home video is prerecorded media sold or Video rental shop, rented for home viewing. The term originates from the VHS and Betamax era, when the predominant medium was videotapes, but has carried over to optical disc formats such as DVD and Blu-ra ...
viewership has been particularly strong. This has happened in the cases of ''
Family Guy ''Family Guy'' is an American adult animated animated sitcom, sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane and developed by MacFarlane and David Zuckerman (TV producer), David Zuckerman for the Fox Broadcasting Company that premiered on January 31, 1999. ...
'' in the US and ''
Peep Show A peep show or peepshow is a presentation of a live sex show or pornographic film which is viewed through a viewing slot. Several historical media provided voyeuristic entertainment through hidden erotic imagery. Before the development of the ci ...
'' in the UK. In the United States, if the show is popular or lucrative, and a minimum number of episodes ( usually 100) have been made, it can go into
broadcast syndication Broadcast syndication is the practice of leasing the right to broadcasting Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or gen ...
, where rights to broadcast the program are then resold for cash or put into a barter exchange (offered to an outlet for free in exchange for airing additional commercials elsewhere in the station's broadcast day).


Seasons/series

The terminology used to define a set of
episode An episode is a narrative unit within a larger drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio dram ...
s produced by a television series varies from country to country.


North American usage

In North American television, a series is a connected set of television program episodes that run under the same title, possibly spanning many seasons. Since the late 1960s, this broadcast programming schedule typically includes between 20 and 26 episodes. Before then, a regular television season could average at least 30 episodes, and some TV series may have had as many as 39 episodes in a season. Until the 1980s, most new programs for the US
broadcast network A terrestrial network (or broadcast network in the United States) is a group of radio station , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio signal, audio (sound), sometimes with related metadata, by radio waves intended to reach ...
s debuted in the "fall season", which ran from September through March and nominally contained from 24 to 26 episodes. These episodes were rebroadcast during the spring (or summer) season, from April through August. Because of
cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Media (communication), medium used for transmitting moving images in grayscale, black-and-white or in color, ...
and the Nielsen
sweeps Nielsen TV ratings (commonly referred to as Nielsen ratings) are the audience measurement systems operated by Nielsen Media Research that seek to determine the audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a ...
, the "fall" season now normally extends to May. Thus, a "full season" on a broadcast network now usually runs from September through May for at least 22 episodes. A full season is sometimes split into two separate units with a hiatus around the end of the calendar year, such as the first season of ''
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...
'' on CBS. When this split occurs, the last half of the episodes sometimes are referred to with the letter B as in "The last nine episodes (of ''
The Sopranos ''The Sopranos'' is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. The story revolves around Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), a New Jersey-based American Mafia, Italian-American mobster, portraying the difficulties that he f ...
'') will be part of what is being called either "Season 6, Part 2" or "Season 6B", or in "''
Futurama ''Futurama'' is an American animated Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distinguished from musical ...
'' is splitting its seasons similar to how ''
South Park ''South Park'' is an American animated sitcom An animated sitcom is a subgenre of the sitcom that is animation, animated instead of live action. History Early history ''The Flintstones'', which debuted in 1960, is considered the first e ...

South Park
'' does, doing half a season at a time, so this is season 6B for them." Since the 1990s, these shorter seasons also have been referred to as ".5" or half seasons, where the run of shows between September and December is labeled "Season X", and the second run between January and May labeled "Season X.5". Examples of this include the 2004 incarnation of ''
Battlestar Galactica ''Battlestar Galactica'' is an American science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced s ...
'', ABC's ''
FlashForward ''FlashForward'' is an American television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A Sony Wega CRT television set A ...
'', and ABC Family's ''
Make It or Break It ''Make It or Break It'' ( ''MIOBI)'' is an American teen/family comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, fi ...
''. Since at least the 2000s, new broadcast television series are often ordered (funded) for just the first 10 to 13 episodes, to gauge audience interest. If a series is popular, the network places a "back nine order" and the season is completed to the regular 20 to 26 episodes. An established series that is already popular, however, will typically receive an immediate full-season order at the outset of the season. A
midseason replacement In American and Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are c ...
is a less-expensive short-run show of generally 10 to 13 episodes designed to take the place of an original series that failed to garner an audience and has not been picked up. A "series finale" is the last show of the series before the show is no longer produced. (In the UK, it means the end of a season, what is known in the United States as a "''season'' finale"). Streaming services time finales to the next quarter to induce consumers to renew at least one more quarter. A standard television season in the United States runs predominantly across the fall and winter, from late September to May. During the summer months of June through roughly mid-September, network schedules typically feature reruns of their flagship programs, first-run series with lower rating expectations, and other specials. First-run scripted series are typically shorter and of a lower profile than those aired during the main season and can also include limited series events.
Reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary Imaginary may refer to: * Imaginary (sociology), a concept in sociology * The Imaginary (psychoanalysis), a concept by ...
and
game show A game show is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being ...
s have also been a fixture of the schedule. In Canada, the commercial networks air most US programming in tandem with the US television season, but their original Canadian shows follow a model closer to British than US television production. Due to the smaller production budgets available in Canada, a Canadian show's season normally runs to a maximum of 13 episodes rather than 20 or more, although an exceptionally popular series such as ''
Corner Gas ''Corner Gas'' is a Television in Canada, Canadian television sitcom created by Brent Butt. The series ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009. Re-runs still air on CTV Television Network, CTV, CTV2, CTV Comedy Channel, Much (TV channel), Much, M ...
'' or ''
Murdoch Mysteries ''Murdoch Mysteries'' is a Canadian television drama series that premiered on Citytv on January 20, 2008, and currently airs on CBC. The series is based on characters from the ''Detective Murdoch'' novels by Maureen Jennings and stars Yannick ...

Murdoch Mysteries
'' might receive 20-episode orders in later seasons. Canadian shows do not normally receive "back nine" extensions within the same season, however; even a popular series simply ends for the year when the original production order has finished airing, and an expanded order of more than 13 episodes is applied to the next season's renewal order rather than an extension of the current season. Only the public
CBC Television CBC Television (also known as CBC TV) is a Canadian English-language broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions o ...
normally schedules Canadian-produced programming throughout the year; the commercial networks typically now avoid scheduling Canadian productions to air in the fall, as such shows commonly get lost amid the publicity onslaught of the US fall season. Instead, Canadian-produced shows on the commercial networks typically air either in the winter as mid-season replacements for canceled US shows or in the summer (which may also improve their chances of being picked up by a US network for a summer run).


Miniseries, limited series, and event series

While network orders for 13- or 22-episode seasons are still pervasive in the television industry, several shows have deviated from this traditional trend. Written to be closed-ended and of shorter length than other shows, they are marketed with a variety of terms. *
Miniseries A miniseries, or mini-series, is a television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A Sony Wega CRT television set ...
: a very short, closed-ended series, typically six or more hours in two or more parts (nights), similar to an extended
television movie A television film is a feature-lengthIn Internet marketing, online marketing, a landing page, sometimes known as a "lead capture page","single property page", "static page", "squeeze page" or a "destination page", is a single web page that appe ...
. Many early miniseries were adaptations of popular
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
s of the day, such as '' The National Dream'' (1974), ''
Roots A root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a lar ...
'' (1977), and '' North and South'' (1985). In recent years, as described by several television executives interviewed by ''
The Hollywood Reporter ''The Hollywood Reporter'' (''THR'') is an American digital and print magazine, and website, which focuses on the Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard d ...
'', the term ''miniseries'' has grown to have negative connotations within the industry, having become associated with
melodrama A modern melodrama is a dramatic work wherein the plot, typically sensationalized and for a strong emotional appeal, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Melodramas typically concentrate on dialogue that is often bombastic or excess ...
-heavy works that were commonly produced under the format, while ''limited series'' or ''event series'' receive higher respect. * Limited series: distinct from miniseries in that the production is seen to have potential to be renewed, but without the requirement of it having as many episodes as a typical order per season. '' Under the Dome'', ''
Killer Women ''Killer Women'' is an American crime drama television series that aired on American Broadcasting Company, ABC from January 7 to March 25, 2014. The series is based on the Argentina, Argentine crime drama ''Mujeres Asesinas (Argentina), Mujeres As ...
'', and ''
Luther Luther may refer to: People * Martin Luther Martin Luther, (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadl ...
'' were marketed as limited series. Individual season-length stories of
anthology series An anthology series is a radio programming, radio, television program, television, or film series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, Season (television)#Seasons.2Fseries, season, segment or short f ...

anthology series
such as ''
American Horror Story ''American Horror Story'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''AHS'') is an American anthology In book publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or f ...

American Horror Story
'', '' Fargo'', and ''
True Detective ''True Detective'' is an American anthology In book publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to ...
'' are also described as "limited series". The
Primetime Emmys The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary organization d ...
have had to make numerous changes to their miniseries/limited series category to accommodate anthology and other limited series. *Event series: largely considered a marketing term, falling under the general category of
event televisionEvent television (sometimes used in verb form as the buzzword "eventize") is a television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provi ...
. The term can be applied to almost any new, short-run series, such as '' 24: Live Another Day''. It has also been used to describe
game show A game show is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being ...
s like '' The Million Second Quiz'' which aired for just two weeks.


India

In India, the shows are particularly referred to as ''serials'', wherein the production is complex as well. The shows usually amount to at least 200 episodes, of 20 to 25 minutes each. On special episodes, referred to as ''Maha-Episodes'', the duration last up to about 45 to 50 minutes. The show airs till the TRP (television rating point) is a little less than decent. The rating points depend on various criteria. Usually, shows which fail to attract TRP for a long time are shut down.


UK, Ireland and Australia usage

In the United Kingdom and other countries, these sets of episodes are referred to as a "series". In Australia, the broadcasting may be different from North American usage. The terms ''series'' and ''season'' are both used and are the same. For example, ''
Battlestar Galactica ''Battlestar Galactica'' is an American science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced s ...
'' has an original series as well as a remake, both are considered a different series each with their own number of individual seasons. Australian television does not follow "seasons" in the way that US television does; for example, there is no "
fall Autumn, also known as fall in American English and Canadian English, is one of the four temperate seasons. Outside the tropics, autumn marks the transition from summer to winter, in September (Northern Hemisphere) or March (Southern Hemisphe ...

fall
season" or "fall schedule". For many years, popular night-time dramas in Australia would run for much of the year, and would only go into recess during the summer period (December to February, as Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere), when ratings are not taken. Therefore, popular dramas would usually run from February through November each year. This schedule was used in the 1970s for popular dramas including '' Number 96''. Many drama series, such as ''
McLeod's Daughters ''McLeod's Daughters'' is an Australian television drama program created by Posie Graeme-Evans Posie Graeme-Evans is an Australian novelist, television and film producer, editor, screenwriter and director. She is best known as the creator and s ...
'', have received between 22 and 32 episodes per season. Typically,
soap opera A soap opera or ''soap'' for short is a radio or television serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), p ...
s, which have always run in season format in Australia, such as ''
Home and Away ''Home and Away'' (often abbreviated as ''H&A'') is an Australian television soap opera. It was created by Alan Bateman and commenced broadcast on the Seven Network on 17 January 1988. Bateman came up with the concept of the show during a trip ...
'', would usually begin a new season in late January, while the season finale would air in late November, as the show is off air for two months, or sometimes longer, depending on the schedule. In recent years, a new season would begin in early February, and the season finale would broadcast in early December. Since ''Home and Away''s inception, it normally receives 230 episodes per season. Some seasons have seen between 205 and 235 episodes commissioned. During the
Olympics The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
, ''Home and Away'' would often go on hiatus, which was referred to as an "Olympic cliffhanger". Therefore, the number of episodes would decrease. Australian
situation comedy A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stud ...
series' seasons are approximately 13 episodes long and premiere any time between February and November. British shows have tended toward shorter series in recent years. For example, the first series of long-running
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, Parall ...

science fiction
show ''
Doctor Who ''Doctor Who'' is a British science fiction television programme broadcast by the BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London Lond ...

Doctor Who
'' in 1963 featured forty-two 25‑minute episodes, and continued with a similar number each year until it was reduced to twenty-five for 1970 to accommodate changes in production and significantly reducing the actors' workload) and continued to 1984. For 1985 fewer but longer episodes were shown, but even after a return to shorter episodes in 1986, lack of support within the BBC meant fewer episodes were commissioned leading to only fourteen 25‑minute episodes up to those in 1989 after which it was cancelled. The revival of ''Doctor Who'' from 2005 has comprised thirteen 45‑minute installments. There are some series in the UK that have a larger number of episodes, for example '' Waterloo Road'' started with 8 to 12 episodes, but from series three onward it increased to twenty episodes and series seven will contain 30 episodes. Recently, US non-cable networks have also begun to experiment with shorter series for some programs, particularly reality shows, such as '' Survivor''. They often air two series per year, resulting in roughly the same number of episodes per year as a drama. This is a reduction from the 1950s, in which many US shows (e.g. ''
Gunsmoke ''Gunsmoke'' is an American radio and television Western (genre), Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. It is set in and around Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870s, during the settlement of the Western U ...
'') had between 29 and 39 episodes per season. Actual storytelling time within a commercial television hour has also gradually reduced over the years, from 50 minutes out of every 60 to the current 44 (and even less on some networks), beginning in the early 21st century. The usage of "season" and "series" differ for DVD and Blu-ray releases in both Australia and the UK. In Australia, many locally produced shows are termed differently on home video releases. For example, a set of the television drama series ''
Packed to the Rafters ''Packed to the Rafters'' was an Australian family-oriented drama/comedy television program which premiered on the Seven Network on Tuesday 26 August 2008 at 8:30 pm. The show continued on Tuesdays in this timeslot for its entire run. The dr ...
'' or '' Wentworth'' is referred to as "season" ("The Complete First Season", etc.), whereas drama series such as ''
Tangle Tangle may refer to: *Tangle (TV series), ''Tangle'' (TV series), an Australian television series *tangle.com, a Christian social networking site *Tangle (mathematics), a topological object *Sea tangle, another name for kelp *Neurofibrillary tangle ...
'' are known as a "series" ("Series 1", etc.). British-produced shows such as '' Mrs. Brown's Boys'' are referred to as "season" in Australia for the DVD and Blu-ray releases. In the UK and Ireland, most programmes are referred to as 'series' while 'season' is starting to be used for some US and international releases.


Running time

In the United States, dramas produced for hour-long time slots typically are 37 to 42 minutes in length (excluding advertisements), while sitcoms produced for 30-minute time slots typically are 18 to 21 minutes long. There are exceptions: subscription-based TV channels, such as HBO, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime, have episodes that are 45 to 48 minutes long, similar to the UK. In Britain, dramas typically run from 46 to 48 minutes on commercial channels, and 57 to 59 minutes on the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
. Half-hour programs are around 22 minutes on commercial channels and around 28 minutes on the BBC. The longer duration on the BBC is due to the lack of advertising breaks. In France, most television shows (whether dramas, game shows or documentaries) have a duration of 52 minutes. This is the same on nearly all French networks (TF1, France 2, France 5, M6, Canal+, etc.).


See also

* Radio program * Lists of actors by television series * Lists of television programs * List of American public access television programs


References


External links


National Television Guides

Recreation of a 1970s BBC Outside Broadcast production

Recreation of 1960s 16mm television crew planning to shoot for a basic interview sequence

Demonstration of telecine process which allows programmes shot on film to be broadcast
{{Authority control Television shows, Television terminology, Show