Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Burn-Off Is the Thief of Time

If you've been watching TV Shorty Watch in the near-right column or paying attention to TV news, you already know that NBC cancelled ''Inconceivable.'' But according to some news reports,
It's not clear how many installments of "Inconceivable's" initial 13-episode commitment were shot or if they will be burned off at a later date.
Ahh, the classic carrot. The burn-off. Tell the viewers that the show is gone now and that production has stopped, but keep the door open to show the remaining eps some time later. You never know what summer schedule holes might appear.

Are networks really telling the truth? Do they bring back shows after putting them on the shelf very early? Or is it just false hope?

Let's find out. I looked for primetime network TV series that networks pulled from the airwaves early (after the 1st, 2nd or 3rd airing) and then showed new eps sometime later during primetime. Here's the list of TV series in the last 20 years that had a break like this that lasted at least 100 days.
    287 days: ''McKenna'' (ABC, 1994)
    263 days: ''Love & Money'' (CBS, 1999)
    261 days: ''Mercy Point'' (UPN, 1998)
    261 days: ''Mission Hill'' (WB, 1999)
    194 days: ''Million Dollar Mysteries'' (Fox, 2000)
    186 days: ''Melba'' (CBS, 1986)
    175 days: ''Coast to Coast'' (CBS, 1997)
    141 days: ''The Family'' (ABC, 2003)
    127 days: ''The Great Defender'' (Fox, 1995)
    125 days: ''Blaine'' (NBC, 1983)
    124 days: ''EZ Streets'' (CBS, 1996)
    115 days: ''Push'' (ABC, 1998)
    111 days: ''A League of Their Own'' (CBS, 1993)
    109 days: ''Under One Roof'' (UPN, 2002)
    108 days: ''All Souls'' (UPN, 2001)

Just a few notes:
  • Series like ''Strange World'' (ABC, 1999) that had a break of 1081 days before showing the next new ep on a different network (SciFi) are not included.
  • I removed series, such as ''Aliens in the Family'' (ABC, 1996), from the list. The series started in ABC primetime and moved to ABC Saturday mornings 127 days later. Series must reappear in primetime network TV on the same network.
  • Not all series are cancelled when they take an extended break. Sometimes networks show a sneak peek episode, like ''Down and Out in Beverly Hills'' (Fox, 1987) and ''American Dad'' (Fox, 2005), and wait weeks before airing another new ep. After showing special preview eps, Fox waited 90 and 84 days, respectively, to show ep #2 for these two series.
  • No comments: