I got this email today:
I was hoping you could answer a few really quick questions about mid-season
replacements for me…
How do the networks regard these shows? Are they
second string that didn’t make the first cut? Or pinch hitters that the network
has been waiting to air? If the latter, why do they hold onto them until
mid-season? What is the strategy behind this?
The fact is, most shows fail. The networks go into the fall season
knowing that it’s very likely that virtually all their new series will not
survive. They need replacements to immediately fill the slots vacated by
low-performing shows that they are forced to cancel. That doesn’t mean
mid-season shows are lesser, second string programming… but, in some cases,
they are riskier/specialized/quirky fare that need special promotional and
scheduling attention that isn’t possible while launching & advertising an
entire fall schedule. Remember, many hit shows began as midseason programs…
SEINFELD and GREY’S ANATOMY, for example.