NBC has had a leading position in summer viewing, much of it courtesy of “America’s Got Talent.” NBC no doubt figures to use that strong multiday series as a launching pad for its scripted efforts.
For a while now, network executives -- especially at the broadcast networks -- have espoused the benefits of year-round program launches, largely due to the fractionalization of viewers who are headed to all sorts of new digital media.
More recently a number of executives have dismissed the “development” season -- which culminates in script deals, pilots and even firm season orders for shows based around the fall season that starts in September. The new thinking is that both development and series launches should be year-round.
Cable networks have been successful in starting new scripted shows in the summer -- originally because of the lack of broadcast competition. Now cable nets have also switched gears a bit in looking to churn out original series all year round.
What does this tell us, at least for NBC’s big new slate? NBC is not only committed to pushing the envelope, but hopeful that it can get advertiser support for its summer series. If that doesn’t happen, it hopes to foster a better up-and-coming story for marketers down the road.
TV analysts have seen periods like the summer as sort of the “minor” leagues, maybe not the place to nurture new shows for a possible move into fall’s big competition, but to tread water for shows that formerly played in the big leagues during the regular season. CBS, for example, will run new episodes of “Unforgettable” during the summer.
But cable won’t back down. TNT plans to air 10 original series this summer, which the network claims is a record for basic cable.
This summer, you can forget the beach, summer road trips, and even furious vacation-laden social media activities. There’s a big job at hand: a lot of summer TV to watch. If nothing else, the networks hope it will make marketers flinch.