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RTV 3007. Programming. Filling the Program Schedule. Purposes of Programs. Attract largest audience with best demographics Balanced schedule for sales department Satisfy public interest requirements Develop favorable image. Where Stations get their Programs. Local Production.

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rtv 3007

RTV 3007



Filling the

Program Schedule

purposes of programs
Purposes of Programs
  • Attract largest audience with best demographics
  • Balanced schedule for sales department
  • Satisfy public interest requirements
  • Develop favorable image
where stations get their programs5
Where Stations get their Programs
  • Network(s)
    • Full Service
    • Regional
    • Ad hoc/Occasional
where stations get their programs8
Where Stations get their Programs
  • Syndicated Programming
program sources where networks get their programs
Program Sources: Where Networks Get Their Programs

Production Community (Hollywood)

Network Production


broadcast network program process
Broadcast Network Program Process
  • Development of Program Proposals
    • Treatment (one minute synopsis of show)
  • Promising ideas into scripts
    • Often Includes Step Deal & first refusal rights
  • Production of some scripts into pilots
  • Testing and evaluation leads to contract for limited number of episodes
network program process
Network Program Process
  • Networks announce next season’ s lineup of new shows in Spring (May)
  • Networks reserve some new shows for Fall lineup (Sept.) and some for the second season (Jan-Feb) to replace shows that don’t make it
  • 9 out of 10 new programs that make the air fail because of poor ratings
network program process17
Network Program Process

Some “hot” producers are given development deals for a number of programs over a period of time

the changing production environment
The Changing Production Environment

Changes in Program Ownership Rules



program costs21
Program Costs

Average per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for television series (2000)

  • 30-minute sitcom $925,000
  • 1-hour drama $1,450,000
  • 1 hour Newsmagazine $750,000
  • 1 hour Reality $650,000
  • Made-for-TV-Movie (90-120 minutes) $2,850,000
program costs22
Program Costs

Average per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for television series (2004)

  • 30-minute sitcom $1,125,000
  • 1-hour drama $1,675,000
  • 1 hour Newsmagazine $840,000
  • 1 hour Reality $795,000
  • Made-for-TV-Movie (90-120 minutes) $3,150,000
program costs23
Program Costs

Costs keep rising:

Average per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for television series (2006)

30 minute Situation Comedy $1,600,000

60 minute Drama $2,800,000

Reality $1,500,000

program costs24
Program Costs

Per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for specific television series (2006)

ER $13,000,000

program costs25
Program Costs

Average 2002-03 per-episode fee that NBC paid WB (producer) for 30 minute situation comedy, “Friends”…


program costs26
Program Costs

Average per-episode cost to produce “Friends” in 2002-03 …

$10, 500,000

Deficit….$500,000 per episode

final season of friends 2002 03
Final season of Friends (2002-03)
  • Each Friends cast member received $1 million per episode ($22 million for the season)
  • Friends cast members also get a cut in syndication profits
  • Deficit well over $500,000 per episode for last Friends season
  • Advertising rate for 30-second network spot during Friends $450,000
program costs28
Program Costs

In most cases the cost of producing a program is higher than what the network will pay

program costs29
Program Costs

This is called “The Deficit”

program costs30
Program Costs

Examples of other large deficits (2000)… 

Frasier $400,000

Law and Order $420,000

program costs31
Program Costs


ER per episode license fee $13,000,000—”in profit”

NYPD Blue, Spin City, X-files had production costs paid for while still on network run

why take a deficit to produce a broadcast network program
Why take a deficit to produce a broadcast network program?
  • May make millions with a “hit” in off-network Syndication, especially a long-running series
  • Example: Superstation TBS pays approximately $1 million per episode (plus one minute of ad space) for a four-year run of Seinfeld
programming strategies34
Programming Strategies
  • Goal: Maximizing Audience Flow

Flow: The audience attracted to a

program will watch other programs

before and after it

flow oct 2001 prime time ratings
Friends NBC Thur

West Wing NBC Wed


Law & Order NBC Wed

Raymond CBS Mon


Survivor CBS Thurs

Will/Grace NBC Thur


Becker CBS Mon

Just Shoot Me NBC Thur

60 Mins CBS Sun



Judging Amy CBS Tue

Practice ABC Sun

Frasier NBC Tues

The Guardian CBS Tue

NFL Showcase ABC Mon

L/O Criminal Intent NBC Sun

Flow: Oct 2001 Prime Time Ratings
program strategies
Program Strategies
  • Strip: Presented at the same time each day of the week
    • Builds viewer loyalty
    • Builds viewer habit
program strategies37
Program Strategies
  • Block : Programs similar in appeal follow one another
program strategies40
Program Strategies
  • Strong Lead-in: Major program

at start of day-part

program strategies43
Program Strategies
  • Checkerboarding: Different programs each day in a time slot
program strategies46
Program Strategies
  • Hammock: Putting a weak or unproven program between two successful ones
program strategies49
Program Strategies
  • Front-loading: Major episode, feature film, early in season
  • Cross-over:Character from one program appears on other program
  • Spin-off: Taking popular characters from one show and give them their own show
program strategies50
Program Strategies
  • Seamless Programming : One program ends and the next begins without interruption
  • Repurposing: Re-run of broadcast content on a cable network shortly after it airs originally on network affiliate stations.
program strategies51
Program Strategies

Disrupting Audience Flow

disrupting audience flow
Disrupting Audience Flow
  • Counterprogramming: Seeking audiences not being served by other programs in a time period
    • By Genre
    • By Demographic Niche
    • By Program Launch Date
disrupting audience flow55
Disrupting Audience Flow

Stunting: Moving programs around the schedule, extra-long programs, etc.

syndicated programming
Syndicated Programming

Programs sold directly to stations rather than distributed by network

  • Film Packages
  • Off-network
  • First-run
off network syndication
Off-Network Syndication

Episodes of programs formerly “licensed” to one of the major networks--now leased (in reruns) to individual stations or cable networks

off network syndication67
Off-Network Syndication
  • Vital importance to rights-holder: makes $$$ again & again & again....

“Friends” will earn over $1 billion in syndication

off network syndication68
Off-Network Syndication
  • Vital importance to rights-holder: makes $$$ again & again & again....

A & E paid $155,000 per episode for Law & Order

TNT will pay $250,000 per episode for those…and $800,000 for episodes not shown on A & E

off network syndication69
Off-Network Syndication
  • Must have sufficient episodes

(75-100) for strip

  • Syndication can begin before network run is ended
fin syn rules 1970 1995
Fin/Syn Rules 1970-1995
  • No Syndication Allowed
  • Limited Financial Stake in programs
fin syn rules 1970 199571
Fin/Syn Rules 1970-1995
  • Why Fin/Syn?
    • Increase Competition
    • Prevent Network Monopoly
  • Elimination of Fin/Syn: Cable and Fox Competition
consequences of eliminating fin syn
Consequences of Eliminating Fin/Syn?

Fox halts sale of Buffy to WB Network and sells it to UPN

(reason Fox TV was acquiring 10 UPN affiliated- stations)

consequences of eliminating fin syn75
Consequences of Eliminating Fin/Syn?

Networks are taking more of a financial interest and partnership in co-productions (e.g. Will & Grace)

programming syndicated shows
Programming Syndicated Shows
  • Does Network Success=Syndication Success?
  • Network Schedule?
  • Market Characteristics
  • Timeliness of Theme
programming syndicated shows77
Programming Syndicated Shows
  • Program Freshness
  • Your Schedule Holes
  • Competitors Schedule
first run syndication
First-Run Syndication
  • Shows produced for syndication that air on local stations
  • Strips/Weeklies/Specials
  • Usually lower production values than nets
  • Like nets--pilots produced and then to market
paying for syndicated programs
Paying for Syndicated Programs
  • Cash
  • Barter:Syndicator keeps some or all of the commercial time (NOT the same as Trade Out)
  • Cash/Barter
barter syndication
  • Pro-barter argument:
    • Lowers cost of programs to station
  • Anti-barter arguments:
    • Station loses control of commercial inventory
    • Dilutes spot market
why programs are cancelled
Why Programs are Cancelled

Low Ratings

Wrong Demographics

Declining Ratings

why programs are cancelled82
Why Programs are Cancelled

Loss of Ratings from lead-in or to following program

Increased Costs

Worn-out casts or creative people

examples of off network first run programming
Examples of Off-Network & First Run Programming

Visit the following websites

  • Warner Brothers
  • Universal
  • Paramount (see tape)
  • King World
  • Not CBS
paramount sales tape 2002 first run syndicated shows
Judge Judy

Judge Joe Brown

Life Moments

Hot Ticket

Real TV

Maximum Exposure



Relic Hunter

Entertainment Tonight**

Paramount Sales Tape 2002: First-run syndicated shows
paramount sales tape 2002 off network syndicated shows



Sabrina Teenage Witch

Sister Sister


Spin City


Star Trek Voyager

7th Heaven

Paramount Sales Tape 2002: Off-network syndicated shows

All Reruns of previous broadcast network shows

trends primetime network series video on demand
Trends: Primetime Network Series & Video on Demand
  • Primetime broadcast network shows available for downloads (iPod) and Video on Demand to Cable, DBS & Cellphones
  • Some shows have had regular ratings boosted by video iPod sales (e.g. The Office) especially among younger viewers
    • 15 percent of 18-24 year olds have downloaded TV program
  • Warner Bros. offering old reruns on In2TV
trends emergence of reality television
Trends: Emergence of Reality Television
  • Attractiveness for networks compared to other genres of programs
    • Hits garner high-ratings, advertising rates
      • American idol $620,000 30-second spot/30 million viewers
  • Costs in comparison to other types of primetime programming
    • Repeat ratings lower than other types of dramas or comedies
    • Production costs have risen as some on-location shows get more complex (e.g. Amazing Race)
    • However most reality shows cheap to produce --- avg. $1.5 million per episode (2006)
  • Huge outgrowth of reality shows on cable nets
trends serials as another emerging format
Trends: Serials as another emerging Format
  • Shows like Lost captivate audience from week-to-week
  • Attractiveness for primetime network ratings
  • Costs in comparison to other types of programs
    • Compare number of scenes in a drama (50) to a show like Prison Break (88)
    • Pilot for Lost cost more than $10 million to produce
    • Ensemble casts more expensive
    • Repeat ratings lower than other types of dramas or comedies