TV Networks Feel the Heat as Midseason Shows Fall Flat


Network television executives have plenty to worry about as more than a dozen midseason shows have reportedly failed to find a consistent audience.

The broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX — have launched 17 new shows since the New Year, and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, none of them have taken off and attracted advertiser-pleasing viewership numbers.

THR‘s Michael O’Connell notes:

“The year 2017 hasn’t been forgiving to the broadcast networks. With a whopping 17 scripted launches since Jan. 1, nearly all new series are languishing with low ratings, even by today’s modest standards. But that may not be entirely the new shows’ fault: The root of midseason’s problem, some say, is the middling fall that preceded it.”

From Fox’s heavily-marketed action reboot 24: Legacy to CBS’ first-year remake Training Day and the Katherine Heigl-starring legal drama Doubt (which was pulled after two episodes), this year’s midseason broadcast shows just don’t appear to be connecting with audiences.

“In the past, midseason success was typically built on the foundation established in the fall,” Sam Armando, lead investment director at MediaVest-Spark, told THR. “Since only This Is Us popped in the fall, there just aren’t any coattails to ride on.”

Another possible contributing factor to slumping network audience attraction is the emergence of streaming.

In 2015, Nielsen began tracking the viewership of hundreds of shows on streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others and began sharing the data with major studios.

That same year, a study revealed that Netflix caused a 50 percent reduction of regular TV viewing in the U.S.

Amid the stagnation in viewership, CBS has reportedly decided to end its so-called “wait-and-see” approach to its television programming.

“If someone like [CBS Entertainment president] Glenn Geller sees that something isn’t going to get any better, you’ve got to give [him] credit for cutting losses and moving on,” Armando told THR.


Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson


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