Is TV Serious About Series?
Bored of reading about TV yet? Well it’s a valid question considering the TV world seems to have the concentration span of a fish these days. I’m amazed C4 thought it was a good idea to allow Big Brother 9 to go for 13 weeks. Most UK series these days get a 6-8 week window before it’s gone from our screens forever. Why is this? Is it a funding issue, or do TV execs think this is how long the viewer will maintain their interest?
US dramas and comedies seem to be allowed a 12-week run at the very least but even that’s changing these days. Fiver’s Dirt has been cancelled after two series. Emily’s Reasons Why Not, despite having big screen eye candy Heather Graham to its name, aired a grand total of ONE episode before being cancelled. Cashmere Mafia suffered the same fate after seven episodes. It begs the question: Are TV producers giving up on series too soon? Maybe if they let a programme run for longer, the viewers will warm to it. Look at Big Brother. When it started back in 2000 the ratings were nothing to talk about. Then Nasty Nick broke the rules and 6 weeks in, low and behold we had a ratings winner! What’s that phrase? Good things come to those that WAIT.
You have British classics such as Fawlty Towers or The Office that still top polls for Best TV Show of All Time, or Favourite Comedy of All Time. They only ran for six episodes each series. Criminal. Now we have upcoming comedies like Gavin & Stacey that are getting the same treatment. Even drama series Torchwood is trimming down to five episodes for the new BBC1 series next year. Perhaps that’s why producers are keen on the reality TV format, at least they are guaranteed a much more immediate and guaranteed revenue, rather than waiting on a comedy or drama series to slowly build up a fan base. Surely this is not the way forward? Give it time I say. Plant the seeds and watch a veritable TV classic in the making find its roots in the soils of TV history. The American version of The Office runs double the amount of episodes per series and is still pulling in a loyal and decent-sized fan-base. Don’t tell me the American audience has a longer attention span than the British! I want twelve episodes of Gavin & Stacey for a third series – Come on producers! It’s time to get serious about your series.