News and Tribune

Lifestyles

June 1, 2012

Summer TV: Olympics, reality shows and Canadian cop dramas

The 2011-12 TV season officially ended last week, leaving the broadcast schedule simultaneously overfamiliar and unrecognizable. Overfamiliar, because if a show is in the same time slot it's occupied for the last eight months, it's bound to be in reruns. Unrecognizable, because the network lineups are suddenly full of reality competitions, Canadian imports and sports.

If you want to see new scripted television, the cable networks are the place to go: In the coming weeks, buzzy new series like HBO's "The Newsroom" (Aaron Sorkin!), USA's "Political Animals" (Sigourney Weaver!), ABC "Family's Bunheads" (Amy Sherman-Paladino!), and FX's "Anger Management" (Charlie Sheen!) will debut alongside returning favorites such as "Breaking Bad," "True Blood" and "Louie."

Why have the broadcast networks never truly embraced summer? Americans, especially the young ones advertisers most want to reach, spend more time away from their televisions when the nights are light, the weather is warm and the kids are on vacation, so TV advertising is at its cheapest. With less money coming in, the networks abandon pricey original dramas in favor of budget programming: dating games, talent shows and cops in oddly nonspecific North American cities talking aboot catching criminals.

If June, July and August are of any use to the big six networks, it's as a period of experimentation — many staples of the regular broadcast season, especially reality mega-hits like "American Idol," "Survivor" and "Dancing With the Stars," got their first trial airings in summer. These months can also provide a second chance for sitcoms. Vacations and outdoorsy activities, which keep people away from their TVs, mean that heavily serialized dramas fare poorly, but sampling-friendly comedies can thrive. Onetime NBC chief Warren Littlefield's new book "Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV" reveals that "Cheers" and "Friends" blossomed in summer reruns, and more recently ABC's "Happy Endings" found its audience in second, warm-weather showings.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyles
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.