Networks Go on Spending Spree to Boost Pilots (and Advertisers and Viewers)

May 17, 2010  •  Post A Comment

After vowing austerity following the writer’s strike, the broadcast networks are abandoning that tactic and opening up their wallets to create a bumper crop of new pilots, which will be unveiled this week to advertisers during upfront presentations, the New York Times reports. 

The new tactic means financial risk for their parent companies, which saw first-quarter margins squeezed as the number of new network pilots jumped for the third year in a row. But the risk is necessary for the networks, which need to draw new viewers after many migrated to cable networks and with popular shows such as "Lost" and "24" ending their multiyear runs (not to mention NBC’s Jay Leno programming disaster.)

Fox may especially be under pressure because of the slumping ratings of "American Idol" and the loss of "24." The network has ordered three new sitcoms, and may program two of them with its freshman hit "Glee."

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