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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 television set or television receiver, more commonly called a television, TV, TV set, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a tuner, display, and loudspeakers, for the purpose of viewing and hearing televisio ...
which can be broadcast via over-the-air,
satellite In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been intentionally placed into orbit. These objects are called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon. On 4 October 1957 the Sovi ...
,
cable Cable may refer to: Mechanical * Nautical cable, an assembly of three or more ropes woven against the weave of the ropes, rendering it virtually waterproof * Wire rope, a type of rope which consists of several strands of metal wire laid into a hel ...
, - 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 t ...
,
advertisements Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.William J. Stanton. ''Fundamentals of Marketing''. McGraw-Hill (1984). Sponsors of advertising are t ...
, 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 of television programs. Often intended for consumer use, these provide information concerning programming on var ...
, but
streaming service Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end user while being delivered by a provider over the Internet. The verb ''to stream'' refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in a continuous mann ...
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 video media sold or rented for home viewing. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era, when the predominant medium was videotape, but has carried over to optical disc formats such as DVD and Blu-ray. In a different us ...
; a
digital video recorder A digital video recorder (DVR) is an electronic device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card, SSD or other local or networked mass storage device. The term includes set-top boxes with direct to di ...
for later viewing; be viewed on demand via a set-top box 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 element generally described as the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to a reader, listener, or viewer. The narrative text structures are the plot and the se ...
. 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.) With approximately three to six episodes, a serials can be inside of or a small collection of episodes. A small collection may also be called a limited/
mini-series A miniseries (or mini-series) is a television show that tells a story in a predetermined, limited number of episodes. The term "serial" and/or "series" is used in the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations, though its meaning does not n ...
. 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 which temporarily interrupts episodic programming normally scheduled for a given time slot. Specials have been produced which provide a ful ...
"' or limited series. A
motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These image ...
(also known as a
movie A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These image ...
) for television is initially broadcast as such rather than
direct-to-video Direct-to-video or straight-to-video refers to the release of a film, TV series, short or special to the public immediately on home video formats rather than a theatrical release or television broadcast. Because inferior sequels or prequels of la ...
or the traditional
big screen A feature film, or feature-length film, is a 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 film'' originall ...
.


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 antennas for telecommunications and broadcasting, including television. There are two main types: guyed and self-supporting structures. They are among the tallest human-made ...
starting in the 1930s. Televised events such as the
1936 Summer Olympics The 1936 Summer Olympics (German: ''Olympische Sommerspiele 1936''), officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad (German: ''Spiele der XI. Olympiade''), were an international multi-sport event held from 1 to 16 August 1936 in Berlin, Germa ...
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 held at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States. It was the second-most expensive American world's fair of all time, exceeded only by St. Louis's Louisiana Purchase ...
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 that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
put a halt to development until after the war. The
1947 World Series The 1947 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees won the Series in seven games for their first title since , and their 11th World Series championship in team history. Yankees manager Bucky Harris won th ...
inspired many Americans to buy their first television set and then in 1948, the popular
radio showA radio program, radio programme or radio show is a segment of content intended for broadcast on radio. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series. A single program in a series is called an episode. Radio networks I ...
''
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 Milt ...
'' made the move and became the first weekly televised
variety show Variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts including musical performances, sketch comedy, magic, acrobatics, juggling, and ventriloquism. It is normally introduced by a compère ...
, 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 tel ...
the name "Mr Television" and demonstrating that the medium was a stable, modern form of entertainment which could attract
advertisers Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.William J. Stanton. ''Fundamentals of Marketing''. McGraw-Hill (1984). Sponsors of advertising are t ...
. The first national
live television Live television is a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present. In a secondary meaning, it may refer to streaming television over the Internet. In most cases live programming is not being recorded as it is shown ...
broadcast in the US took place on September 4, 1951 when President
Harry Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as the 34th vice president. He implemented the Marshall ...

Harry Truman
's speech at the
Japanese Peace Treaty Conference The , also called the , re-established peaceful relations between Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial ...
in
San Francisco San Francisco (/ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish for "Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern California. San Francisco is the 16th most populous city in ...
was transmitted over
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company, Delaware-registered but it is headquartered at Whitacre Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas.Godinez, Victor and David McLemore.AT&T moving headquarters to Dallas from San Antonio ...
's transcontinental
cable Cable may refer to: Mechanical * Nautical cable, an assembly of three or more ropes woven against the weave of the ropes, rendering it virtually waterproof * Wire rope, a type of rope which consists of several strands of metal wire laid into a hel ...
and
microwave radio relay Microwave transmission is the transmission of information by microwave radio waves. Although an experimental microwave telecommunication link across the English Channel was demonstrated in 1931, the development of radar in World War II provided ...
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 generally is a narrative form, in any medium, consisting of people, events, or places that are imaginary—in other words, not based strictly on history or fact.William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman ''A Handbook to Literature'' (7th edition). ...
(as in
comedies Comedy (from the el, 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, radio, books, or any ...
and
dramas Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been con ...
), or
non-fictional Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document or media content that intends, in good faith, to present only truth and accuracy regarding information, events, or people. Nonfictional content may be presented either objectively or subjective ...
(as in documentary,
news News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, or through the testimony of observers and witnesses to events. Com ...
, and
reality television Reality television is a genre of television programming that documents purportedly unscripted real-life situations, often starring unknown individuals rather than professional actors. Reality television first emerged as a distinct genre in the ...
). 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 of various news events and other information via television, radio, or internet in the field of broadcast journalism. The content is usually either produced locally in a radio studio or telev ...
and some
made-for-television A television film is a feature-length motion picture that is produced and originally distributed by or to a television network, in contrast to theatrical films made explicitly for initial showing in movie theaters. Such a production has also bee ...
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, values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research. Education fr ...
, or entertaining as is the case in
situation comedy A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe ma ...
and
game show A game show is a type of radio, television or stage show where contestants regularly compete for a reward. The history of game shows dates back to the invention of television as a medium. On most game shows, contestants either have to answer que ...

game show
s. A drama program usually features a set of
actor An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance (also actress; see below). The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek ter ...

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 is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama, ensemble casts, and sentimentality. The term "soap opera" originated from radio dramas originally being sponsored by ...
-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, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and films with each episode following a dramatic arc. On a television pr ...
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 dramatic work or documentary production, such as a series intended for radio, television or on-line consumption. Episode derives from the Greek term ( grc, ἐπεισόδιον / ''epeisodion''), me ...
, it was usually undone by the end. Because of 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 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 police station located ...
'' and ''
St. Elsewhere ''St. Elsewhere'' is an American medical drama television series created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, that originally ran on NBC from October 26, 1982, to May 25, 1988. The series stars Ed Flanders, Norman Lloyd and William Daniels as teach ...
'' were two of the first American prime time drama television series to have this kind of dramatic structure, while the later series ''
Babylon 5 ''Babylon 5'' is an American space opera television series created by writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski, under the Babylonian Productions label, in association with Straczynski's Synthetic Worlds Ltd. and Warner Bros. Domestic Televisio ...
'' 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 cinema, Soderbergh is an acclaimed and prolific filmmaker. Soderbergh' ...
, 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 series, they develop the show's elements, consisting of the
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and beliefs. They play an important role in all aspects of cognition. ...
, the
characters 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 of character sketches attributed to Theophrastus Musi ...
, the
crew A crew is a body or a class of people who work at a common activity, generally in a structured or hierarchical organization. A location in which a crew works is called a crewyard or a workyard. The word has nautical resonances: the tasks involved i ...
, and cast. Then they often "pitch" it to the various
networks Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Network'' (1976 film), a 1976 American film * ''Network'' (2019 film), an Indian film * ''Network'' (album), a 2004 album by Saga * Network (comics), a series of Marvel Comic ...
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, design, electronics, and software programming. A prototype is generally used to ...
first episode of the series, known as a ''
pilot An aircraft pilot or aviator is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft by operating its directional flight controls. Some other aircrew members, such as navigators or flight engineers, are also considered aviators, because they are ...
.'' Eric Coleman, an animation executive at
Disney The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California. Disney was originally founded o ...
, 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#REDIRECT Development hell#REDIRECT Development hell {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
''). 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 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, plays, screenplays, telepla ...
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 broadcaster in the world by number of emplo ...

BBC
's long-running soap opera ''
EastEnders ''EastEnders'' is a British soap opera created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland which has been broadcast on BBC One since 1985. Set in Albert Square in the East End of London in the fictional borough of Walford, the programme follows the stories ...

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 due to its proximity and similarities to Earth. To date, no proof of past or present life has been found on Mars. Cumulative evidence suggests that during the ancient Noa ...
'' was developed by
Kudos Kudos may refer to: Arts and media * ''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 used by the Dwellers i ...
in association with the broadcaster. There are still a significant number of programs (usually
sitcom A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe ma ...
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 sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python, consisting of Graham Chapman, John Clee ...
'' (albeit with an exclusive team of six writer-performers), ''
Fawlty Towers ''Fawlty Towers'' is a British television sitcom written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979. Two series of six episodes each were made. The show was ranked first on a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Pr ...
'', ''
Blackadder ''Blackadder'' is a series of four BBC One pseudohistorical British sitcoms, plus several one-off instalments, which originally aired from 1983 to 1989. All television episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as the antihero Edmund Blackadder and Tony R ...
'' and ''
The Office 200px, Title card for the UK original (top) and US version ''The Office'' is a mockumentary sitcom that was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, first made in the United Kingdom, then Germany, and subsequently the United States. It has ...
''.


Other nations

The
production company#REDIRECT Production company#REDIRECT Production company {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
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 or associated with legal issues (like copyrights or ...
, 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 organization. A location in which a crew works is called a crewyard or a workyard. The word has nautical resonances: the tasks involved i ...
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 (or, in any context, film production) is the process by which a film is made. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound ...
or other
electronic media 200px, Graphical representations of electrical audio data. Electronic media uses either analog (red) or digital (blue) signal processing. Electronic media are media that use electronics or electromechanical means for the audience to access the c ...
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, play, or other performance. There are three parts in a production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production ends when the planning ends and ...
,
principal photography Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia), the chief executive of a university ** Principal (education), the head teacher of a primary or secondary school * Principal (civil service) or principal officer, the senior management ...
, and
post-production 275px, A video editing suite 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 segm ...
.


Pre-production

Pre-production begins when a script is approved. A
director Director may refer to: Literature * ''Director'' (magazine), a British magazine * ''The Director'' (novel), a 1971 novel by Henry Denker * ''The Director'' (play), a 2000 play by Nancy Hasty Music * Director (band), an Irish rock band * ''Directo ...
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 A storyboard is a graphic organizer that consists of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualising a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence. The storyboarding process, in the for ...
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#REDIRECT Television studio {{R from other capitalisation ...
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 or video camera is placed to take a shot. A scene may be shot from several camera angles simultaneously. This will give a different experience and sometimes emotion. The differ ...
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 chief over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical d ...
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 shots. Video editing is used to structure and present all video information, including films and television shows, video advertisements and video essays. Video editing has been dramatically ...
. Visual and
digital video effect Digital video effects (DVEs) are visual effects that provide comprehensive live video image manipulation, in the same form as optical printer effects in film. DVEs differ from standard video switcher effects (often referred to as "analog effects") ...
s 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 "Quarters of the news editor", one of a group of four photos in the 1900 The Seattle Daily Times—Editorial Department".">The Seattle Times">The Seattle Daily Times—Editorial Department". Editing is the process of selecting and preparing wri ...
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, literature (in which they are called "readers"), theatre, music (in which they are called "listeners"), video games (in which they are called "players"), or ...
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 programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fibre-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcas ...
(outside the United States,
satellite television Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite orbiting the Earth directly to the viewer's location. The signals are received via an outdoor parabolic antenna commonl ...
) 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 by operating its directional flight controls. Some other aircrew members, such as navigators or flight engineers, are also considered aviators, because they are ...
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 television series created by Terence Winter and broadcast on the premium cable channel HBO. The series is set chiefly in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era of the 1920s and ...
'' was $18million for the first episode. In 2011, ''
Game of Thrones ''Game of Thrones'' is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for HBO. It is an adaptation of ''A Song of Ice and Fire'', a series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, the first of which is ...
'' 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 for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay television providers. Until the mid-1980s, televi ...
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, w ...
and sales of
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage format invented and developed in 1995 and released in late 1996. The medium can store any kind of digital data and was widely ...

DVD
s and
Blu-ray The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a digital optical disc storage format. It is designed to supersede the DVD format, capable of storing several hours of video in high-definition video (HDTV 720p and 1080p). The main applic ...
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, w ...
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 fictional series focuses on the lives of surgical interns, residents ...
'' was able to charge $419,000 per commercial, compared to only $248,000 for a commercial during '' CSI'', despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average. Due to its strength with younger viewers, ''
Friends ''Friends'' is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kud ...
'' was able to charge almost three times as much for a commercial as ''
Murder, She Wrote ''Murder, She Wrote'' is an American crime drama television series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons with 264 episodes from 1984 to 1996 on the CBS network. It was f ...
'', even though the two series had similar total viewer numbers at that time. '' Glee'' and ''
The Office 200px, Title card for the UK original (top) and US version ''The Office'' is a mockumentary sitcom that was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, first made in the United Kingdom, then Germany, and subsequently the United States. It has ...
'' drew fewer total viewers than '' NCIS'' 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 for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay television providers. Until the mid-1980s, televi ...
, which sends it out to its affiliate
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 station ...
, which broadcast it in the specified
broadcast programming Broadcast programming is the practice of organizing and/or ordering (scheduling) of broadcast media shows, typically radio and television, in a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or season-long schedule. The executive in charge of selecting the p ...
time slot. If the
Nielsen ratings 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 size and composition of television programming in the United States using a rati ...
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 180 episodes. The show stars Seinfeld as a fictionalized version of hi ...
'', ''
The Cosby Show ''The Cosby Show'' is an American television sitcom co-created by and starring Bill Cosby, which aired in Thursday nights for eight seasons on NBC between September 20, 1984, until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on an upper middle-class Africa ...
'', ''
Corner Gas ''Corner Gas'' is a Canadian television sitcom created by Brent Butt. The series ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009. Re-runs still air on CTV, CTV2, CTV Comedy Channel, Much, MTV, OLN and are streaming on Amazon Prime and Crave. The series w ...
'', 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. The ...
'' 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 video media sold or rented for home viewing. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era, when the predominant medium was videotape, but has carried over to optical disc formats such as DVD and Blu-ray. In a different us ...
viewership has been particularly strong. This has happened in the cases of ''
Family Guy ''Family Guy'' is an American animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company that premiered on January 31, 1999. The series is produced by Fuzzy Door Productions. The series centers on the Griffins, a family consist ...
'' 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 breakthrough 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 television shows and radio programs to multiple television stations and radio stations, without going through a broadcast network. It is common in the United States where b ...
, 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 dramatic work or documentary production, such as a series intended for radio, television or on-line consumption. Episode derives from the Greek term ( grc, ἐπεισόδιον / ''epeisodion''), me ...
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 (but certainly not all) new programs for the American
broadcast network A terrestrial network (or broadcast network in the United States) is a group of radio stations, television stations, or other electronic media outlets, that form an agreement to air, or broadcast, content from a centralized source. For example, (U ...
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 programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fibre-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcas ...
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 size and composition of television programming in the United States using a rati ...
, 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 Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governor ...
'' 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 Italian-American mobster, portraying the difficulties that he faces as he tries ...
'') will be part of what is being called either "Season 6, Part 2" or "Season 6B", or in "''
Futurama ''Futurama'' is an American science fiction animated sitcom created by Matt Groening that aired on Fox from March 28, 1999, to August 10, 2003, and on Comedy Central from March 23, 2008, to September 4, 2013. The series follows the adventures of ...
'' is splitting its seasons similar to how ''
South Park ''South Park'' is an American animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and developed by Brian Graden for Comedy Central. The series revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick—and the ...
'' 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 media franchise created by Glen A. Larson. The franchise originated in 1978 with the original television series, followed by a short-run sequel series (Galactica 1980), a line of book adapt ...
'', ABC's ''
FlashForward A flashforward (also spelled flash-forward, and more formally known as prolepsis) is a scene that temporarily takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television and other media. Flashforwards are ...
'',
Fox Kids Fox Kids (originally known as Fox Children's Network and later as the Fox Kids Network; stylized as FOX KIDS) is a former children's programming block and branding for a slate of international children's television channels. Originally a joint ven ...
's Rhino Man: The Series and ABC Family's ''
Make It or Break It ''Make It or Break It'' ( ''MIOBI)'' is an American teen/family comedy-drama television series that focused on the lives of teen gymnasts who strived to make it to the Olympic Games. The series was inspired by Touchstone's 2006 teen comedy-drama ...
''. 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 which 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 television, a mid-season replacement is a television series that premieres in the second half of the traditional television season, usually between January and May. Mid-season replacements usually take place after a show tha ...
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"). 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 ratings 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. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status of things, indicating their existence. In physical terms, reali ...
and
game show A game show is a type of radio, television or stage show where contestants regularly compete for a reward. The history of game shows dates back to the invention of television as a medium. On most game shows, contestants either have to answer que ...

game show
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 American 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 Canadian television sitcom created by Brent Butt. The series ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009. Re-runs still air on CTV, CTV2, CTV Comedy Channel, Much, MTV, OLN and are streaming on Amazon Prime and Crave. The series w ...
'' 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 B ...

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 television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster. The network began operations on September 6, 1952. Its French-lang ...
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 cancelled 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 show that tells a story in a predetermined, limited number of episodes. The term "serial" and/or "series" is used in the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations, though its meaning does not n ...
: 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-length motion picture that is produced and originally distributed by or to a television network, in contrast to theatrical films made explicitly for initial showing in movie theaters. Such a production has also bee ...
. Many early miniseries were adaptations of popular
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself ...
s of the day, such as '' The National Dream'' (1974), ''
Roots A root is the part of a plant that most often lies below the surface of the soil but can also be aerial or aerating, that is, growing up above the ground or especially above water. Root or roots may also refer to: Art, entertainment, and media * ...
'' (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 film, television, and entertainment industries. It was founded in 1930 as a daily trade paper, and in 2010 switched to a w ...
'', the term ''miniseries'' has grown to have negative connotations within the industry, having become associated with
melodrama between 1856 and 1860, depicting a typical Parisian scene as was the case on Boulevard du Temple. In modern usage, a melodrama is a dramatic work wherein the plot, which is typically sensational and designed to appeal strongly to the emotions, t ...
-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 ABC from January 7 to March 25, 2014. The series is based on the Argentine crime drama ''Mujeres Asesinas'', which was adapted into an American setting by writer Hannah Sh ...
'', and '' Luther'' were marketed as limited series. Individual season-length stories of
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anthology series
such as ''
American Horror Story ''American Horror Story'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''AHS'') is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for the cable network FX. Each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following ...
'', '' Fargo'', and ''
True Detective ''True Detective'' is an American anthology crime drama television series created and written by Nic Pizzolatto. The series, broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States, premiered on January 12, 2014. Each season of the ser ...
'' 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 (ATAS) in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. First given out in 1949, the award was originally referred to ...
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 marketing concept which arose in the early 2010s and is characterized by a shift in priorities towards enticing audiences to watch programming immediate ...
. The term can be applied to almost any new, short-run series, such as ''
24: Live Another Day ''24: Live Another Day'' (also known as Season 9 or Day 9) is a ''24'' limited event television series that premiered on May 5, 2014, and concluded on July 14, 2014, airing on Fox. Sky 1 simulcast the premiere on May 6 in the United Kingdom and I ...
''. It has also been used to describe
game show A game show is a type of radio, television or stage show where contestants regularly compete for a reward. The history of game shows dates back to the invention of television as a medium. On most game shows, contestants either have to answer que ...

game show
s like ''
The Million Second Quiz ''The Million Second Quiz'' is an American game show that was hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast by NBC. The series aired from September 9 to September 19, 2013. For a titular million seconds (11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes, and 40 seconds), c ...
'' 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 media franchise created by Glen A. Larson. The franchise originated in 1978 with the original television series, followed by a short-run sequel series (Galactica 1980), a line of book adapt ...
'' 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 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 and Caroline Stanton. It was produced by Millennium Television and later Southern Star for the Nine Network, and premiered on 8 August 2001, becoming on ...
'', have received between 22 and 32 episodes per season. Typically,
soap opera A soap opera is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama, ensemble casts, and sentimentality. The term "soap opera" originated from radio dramas originally being sponsored by ...
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 from around the world participate in a variety of competit ...
, ''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 for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe ma ...
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 First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record, specifically the first instance of a particular achievement Arts and media Music * 1$T, American rapper, singer-songwriter, DJ, and record p ...
of long-running
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show ''
Doctor Who ''Doctor Who'' is a British science fiction television programme broadcast by BBC One since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human. The Doctor explores ...
'' in 1963 featured forty-two 25‑minute episodes, this dropped to twenty-five by 1970 to accommodate changes in production 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, American 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 American shows (e.g. ''
Gunsmoke ''Gunsmoke'' is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West. The central ...
'') 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 ''
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'' or '' Wentworth'' is referred to as "season" ("The Complete First Season", etc.), whereas drama series such as '' 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 American 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 Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television network owned by WarnerMedia Studios & Networks and the flagship property of parent subsidiary Home Box Office, Inc. Maintaining a general entertainment format, programming featured on the ne ...
, 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 broadcaster in the world by number of emplo ...

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

* 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
Show Show or The Show may refer to: Competition, event, or artistic production * Show (animal), a judged event in the hobby of animal fancy ** Cat show ** Conformation dog show ** Dog show ** Horse show ** Novelty show, a competition or display in whic ...