Washington Post

How Is Fall TV Still a Thing, Asks One TV Critic

Sep 19, 2016  •  Post A Comment

While the digital revolution has upgraded the ways we’re able to watch television, TV critic Hank Stuever, writing in The Washington Post, ponders why it is that we still cling to the ritual of “Fall TV.”

“How is it that consumers are still expected to gorge on two to three dozen premieres at once (from broadcast, cable and streaming) every September and October, the way we’ve always done it?” Stuever asks.

He notes that half the shows that premiere in fall won’t survive, and adds: “That’s usually because they aren’t very good, but also, increasingly, because of inundation. In this ‘peak TV’ era (the hazardous-waste stage of television’s latest ‘golden age’) a viewer has about 450 current dramas and comedies to choose from across multiple platforms, over a single year. More if you count foreign-made series, plus 700 or so others if you add non-scripted, ‘reality’ programming.”

Stuever asks: “Isn’t it ludicrous to still believe that a deluge of new shows would manage to find just the right audience in an eight-week period tied to the changing color of leaves? Especially in an industry that increasingly disregards its old measures of success, each choosing its own special cocktail of Nielsen ratings, in-house data, ‘buzz’ (social network traffic), critics’ reviews and acute measures of time-shifted viewing to determine a hit?”

We encourage readers to click on the link to The Washington Post near the top of this story to read Stuever’s full analysis.

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