Television program
Overview
A television program also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series. A single program in a series is called an episode
Episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...

.

A television series that is intended to comprise a limited number of episodes is usually called a miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 or serial
Serial (radio and television)
Serials are series of television programs and radio programs that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode by episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from...

. Series without a fixed length are usually divided into seasons or series, yearly or biannual installments of new episodes.
Encyclopedia
A television program also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series. A single program in a series is called an episode
Episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...

.

A television series that is intended to comprise a limited number of episodes is usually called a miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 or serial
Serial (radio and television)
Serials are series of television programs and radio programs that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode by episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from...

. Series without a fixed length are usually divided into seasons or series, yearly or biannual installments of new episodes. While there is no defined length, US industry practice tends to favor longer seasons than those of some other countries.

A one-time broadcast may be called a "special", or particularly in the UK a "special episode". A television movie
Television movie
A television film is a feature film that is a television program produced for and originally distributed by a television network, in contrast to...

 ("made-for-TV movie" or television film), is a film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 that is initially broadcast on television rather than released in cinemas or direct-to-video
Direct-to-video
Direct-to-video is a term used to describe a film that has been released to the public on home video formats without being released in film theaters or broadcast on television...

, although many successful TV movies are later released on DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

.

A program can be either recorded—as on video tape or other various electronic media
Electronic media
Electronic media are media that use electronics or electromechanical energy for the end-user to access the content. This is in contrast to static media , which today are most often created electronically, but don't require electronics to be accessed by the end-user in the printed form...

 forms—or considered live television
Live television
Live television refers to a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present. From the early days of television until about 1958, live television was used heavily, except for filmed shows such as I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke. Video tape did not exist until 1957...

.

Program content

Television programming may be fictional—as in comedies
Television comedy
Television comedy had a presence from the earliest days of broadcasting. Among the earliest BBC television programmes in the 1930s was Starlight, which offered a series of guests from the music hall era — singers and comedians amongst them...

 and dramas
Dramatic programming
Dramatic programming in the UK, or television drama and television drama series in the US, is television program content that is scripted and fictional along the lines of √a traditional drama. This excludes, for example, sports television, television news, reality show and game shows, stand-up...

, or non-fictional—as in documentary, news, and reality television
Reality television
Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded...

 It may be topical—as in the case of a local
Local programming
The term Local Programme, Local Programming, Local Content or Local Television refers to a television programme made by a television station or independent television producer for broadcast only within the station's transmission area or television market...

 newscast and some made-for-television movies, or historical—as in the case of many documentaries and fictional series. They could be primarily instructional
Instructional television
Instructional television is the use of television programs in the field of distance education. Educational television programs on instructional television may be less than one half hour long to help their integration into the classroom setting...

 or educational
Educational television
Educational television is the use of television programs in the field of distance education. It may be in the form of individual television programs or dedicated specialty channels that is often associated with cable television in the United States as Public, educational, and government access ...

, or entertaining as is the case in situation comedy
Situation comedy
A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue...

 and game shows.

A drama program usually features a set of actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

s in a somewhat familiar setting. The program follows their lives and their adventures. With the exception of soap opera
Soap opera
A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

s, many shows especially before the 1980s, remained static without story arc
Story arc
A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and in some cases, films. On a television program, for example, the story would unfold over many episodes. In television, the use of the story...

s, the main characters and the premise changed little. If some change happened to the characters lives during the episode
Episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...

, it was usually undone by the end. (Because of this, the episodes could be broadcast in any order.) Since the 1980s, there are many series that feature progressive change to the plot, the characters, or both.

Common television program periods include regular broadcasts (like news), series (usually seasonal and ongoing with a duration of only a few episodes to many seasons), or miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

, which is an extended film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, usually with a small predetermined number of episodes and a set plot and timeline. Miniseries usually range from about 3 to 10 hours in length. In the UK, the term "miniseries" is only usually used in reference to imported programmes, and such short-run series are usually called "serials
Serial (radio and television)
Serials are series of television programs and radio programs that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode by episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from...

".

Older American television shows began with a title sequence
Title sequence
A Title Sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present their title, key production and cast members, or both, utilizing conceptual visuals and sound...

 showing opening credits
Opening credits
In a motion picture, television program, or video game, the opening credits are shown at the very beginning and list the most important members of the production. They are now usually shown as text superimposed on a blank screen or static pictures, or sometimes on top of action in the show. There...

 at the bottom lower third of the screen during the beginning, and included closing credits
Closing credits
Closing credits or end credits are added at the end of a motion picture, television program, or video game to list the cast and crew involved in the production. They usually appear as a list of names in small type, which either flip very quickly from page to page, or move smoothly across the...

 at the end of the show. However, beginning in the 1990s some shows began with a "cold open
Cold open
A cold open in a television program or movie is the technique of jumping directly into a story at the beginning or opening of the show, before the title sequence or opening credits are shown...

", followed by a title sequence
Title sequence
A Title Sequence is the method by which cinematic films or television programs present their title, key production and cast members, or both, utilizing conceptual visuals and sound...

 and a commercial break. Many serial
Serial (radio and television)
Serials are series of television programs and radio programs that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode by episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from...

-type shows begin with a "Previously on...
Previously (television)
A recap sequence is a narrative device used by many television series to bring the viewer up to date with the current events of the stories' plot...

" (such as the series 24
24 (TV series)
24 is an American television series produced for the Fox Network and syndicated worldwide, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each 24-episode season covers 24 hours in the life of Bauer, using the real time method of narration...

) introduction before the new episode. And, to save time, some shows omit the title sequence altogether, folding the names normally featured there into the opening credits. The title sequence has not been completely eliminated, however, as many major television series still use them.

While television series appearing on TV networks are usually commissioned by the networks
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

 themselves, their producers
Television producer
The primary role of a television Producer is to allow all aspects of video production, ranging from show idea development and cast hiring to shoot supervision and fact-checking...

 earn greater revenue when the program is sold into syndication
Television syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...

. With the rise of the DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 home video format, box sets containing entire season
Season
A season is a division of the year, marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight.Seasons result from the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the plane of revolution...

s or the complete run of a program have become a significant revenue source as well. Many of the prime-time comedy shows and Saturday morning cartoons were digitally remastered for United States television around mid-May 2008, as there will be more original and reissued DVD sets of television programs containing either entire seasons or complete series to come.

Television has changed throughout the years, from wholesome family sitcoms and dramas of years ago, to the reality shows of today. When watching television became popular in the mid-20th century, the whole family watched one set together. Also, many channels have deviated from their original programming focus throughout the years because of channel drift
Channel drift
Channel drift, or network decay is the gradual transition of a television network away from its original programming focus to either target a newer more lucrative audience, or to broaden their viewership by including less niche programming...

.

Most television networks throughout the world are 'commercial', dependent on selling advertising time or acquiring sponsors, broadcasting executives' main concern over their programming is on audience
Audience
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature , theatre, music or academics in any medium...

 size or eyeballs. Once the number of 'free to air' stations was restricted by the availability of channel
Television channel
A television channel is a physical or virtual channel over which a television station or television network is distributed. For example, in North America, "channel 2" refers to the broadcast or cable band of 54 to 60 MHz, with carrier frequencies of 55.25 MHz for NTSC analog video and...

 frequencies, but cable TV (outside the USA, satellite television
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

) technology has allowed an expansion in the number of channels available to viewers (sometimes at premium rates) in a much more competitive environment.

Scripted entertainment

  • Animated
  • Award shows (partially scripted)
  • Drama—which includes:
    • Action-adventure
      Action film
      Action film is a film genre where one or more heroes is thrust into a series of challenges that require physical feats, extended fights and frenetic chases...

       or Thriller
    • Comedy-drama
      Comedy-drama
      Comedy-drama is a genre of theatre, film and television programs which combines humorous and serious content.-Theatre:Traditional western theatre, beginning with the ancient Greeks, was divided into comedy and tragedy...

    • Family drama
    • Legal drama
      Legal drama
      A legal drama is a work of dramatic fiction about crime and civil litigation. Subtypes of legal dramas include courtroom dramas and legal thrillers, and come in all forms, including novels, television shows, and films. Legal drama sometimes overlap with crime drama, most notably in the case of Law...

    • Medical drama
      Medical drama
      A medical drama is a television program, in which events center upon a hospital, an ambulance staff, or any medical environment.In the United States, most medical episodes are one hour long and, more often than not, are set in a hospital. Most current medical Dramatic programming go beyond the...

    • Police procedural
      Police procedural
      The police procedural is a subgenre of detective fiction which attempts to convincingly depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes. While traditional detective novels usually concentrate on a single crime, police procedurals frequently depict investigations into several...

    • Political drama
      Political drama
      A political drama can describe a play, film or TV program that has a political component, whether reflecting the author's political opinion, or describing a politician or series of political events. Dramatists who have written political dramas include Aaron Sorkin, Robert Penn Warren, Sergei...

    • Science-fiction / Fantasy
      Fantasy
      Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

       / Horror
      Horror film
      Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

       / Supernatural drama
      Supernatural drama
      Supernatural drama is a subgenre of fantasy combining elements of supernatural fiction and the drama genre. This genre deals with ghosts and other paranormal topics, but without the tone and scares associated with the horror genre...

    • Serial drama
      Serial (radio and television)
      Serials are series of television programs and radio programs that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode by episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from...

    • Soap opera
      Soap opera
      A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

    • Teen drama
      Teen drama
      A teen drama is a dramatic television series with a major focus on teenage characters. The genre was relatively non-existent for the first 45 years of television; it came into prominence in the early 1990s...

  • Miniseries
    Miniseries
    A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

     and Television movies
  • Comedy
    Television comedy
    Television comedy had a presence from the earliest days of broadcasting. Among the earliest BBC television programmes in the 1930s was Starlight, which offered a series of guests from the music hall era — singers and comedians amongst them...

    • Mockumentary
      Mockumentary
      A mockumentary , is a type of film or television show in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format. These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictitious setting, or to parody the documentary form itself...

    • Satire
      Satire
      Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

    • Sitcom
    • Sketch comedy
      Sketch comedy
      A sketch comedy consists of a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches," commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as broadcasting...


Informational

  • Infomercial
    Infomercial
    Infomercials are direct response television commercials which generally include a phone number or website. There are long-form infomercials, which are typically between 15 and 30 minutes in length, and short-form infomercials, which are typically 30 seconds to 120 seconds in length. Infomercials...

    s—paid advertising which are up to an hour long
  • News programs
  • documentaries
    Television documentary
    Documentary television is a genre of television programming that broadcasts documentaries.* Documentary television series, a television series which is made up of documentary episodes....

  • news magazine shows—dealing with current affairs

United States

A person decides to create a new series. The creator develops the show's elements, consisting of the concept
Concept
The word concept is used in ordinary language as well as in almost all academic disciplines. Particularly in philosophy, psychology and cognitive sciences the term is much used and much discussed. WordNet defines concept: "conception, construct ". However, the meaning of the term concept is much...

, the characters
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

, the crew
Television crew
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.-Pre-production:-Casting Director:-Costume designer:-Director:* Associate Director -Location Manager:-Make-up artist:...

, and cast. They will then offer ("pitch") it to the various network
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

s in an attempt to find one that is interested in the series and order a prototype
Prototype
A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον , "primitive form", neutral of πρωτότυπος , "original, primitive", from πρῶτος , "first" and τύπος ,...

 first episode of the series, known as a "pilot
Television pilot
A "television pilot" is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network. At the time of its inception, the pilot is meant to be the "testing ground" to see if a series will be possibly desired and successful and therefore a test episode of an...

".

To create the pilot, the structure and team of the whole series needs to be put together. If the network likes the pilot, they will pick up the show to be aired the next season (usually Fall). Sometimes they will save it for "mid-season" or request rewrites and further review (known in the industry as "Development hell
Development hell
In the jargon of the media-industry, "development hell" is a period during which a film or other project is trapped in development...

"). And other times they will pass entirely, leaving the show's creator forced to "shop it around" to other networks. Many shows never make it past the pilot stage.

If the show is picked up, a "run" of episodes is ordered. Usually only 13 episodes are ordered at first, although a series will typically last for at least 22 episodes (the last nine episodes sometimes being known as the "back nine"—borrowing the colloquial golf term).

The show hires a "stable" of writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

s, who usually work in parallel: the first writer works on the first episode, the second on the second episode, and so forth. When all of the writers have been used, the assignment of episodes continues starting with the first writer again. On other shows, however, the writers work as a team. Sometimes they will develop story ideas individually, and pitch them to the show's creator, who then folds them together into a script and rewrites them.

United Kingdom

In contrast to the US model illustrated above, the UK procedure is operated on a sometimes similar, but much smaller scale.

The method of "team writing" is employed on some longer dramatic series (usually running up to a maximum of around 13 episodes). The idea for such a programme may be generated "in-house" by one of the networks; it could originate from an independent production company; it will sometimes be a product of both. For example, the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's long-running soap opera EastEnders
EastEnders
EastEnders is a British television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985 and continuing to today. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End...

is wholly a BBC production, whereas its popular drama Life on Mars
Life on Mars (TV series)
Life on Mars is a British television series broadcast on BBC One between January 2006 and April 2007. The series combines elements of science fiction and police procedural....

was developed by Kudos
Kudos (production company)
Kudos Film and Television is a British independent film and television production company. It has produced television series for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and its productions include Spooks , Hustle, Life on Mars and its spin-off Ashes to Ashes, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard and M.I. High...

 in association with the broadcaster.

However, there are still a significant number of programmes (usually sitcoms) that are built around just one or two writers and a small, close-knit production team. These are "pitched" in the traditional way, but since the creator(s) will handle all the writing requirements, there will be a run of six or seven episodes per series once approval has been given. Many of the most popular British comedies have been made this way, including Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

(albeit with an exclusive team of six writer-performers), Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom produced by BBC Television and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Twelve television program episodes were produced . The show was written by John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, both of whom played major characters...

, Blackadder
Blackadder
Blackadder is the name that encompassed four series of a BBC1 historical sitcom, along with several one-off instalments. All television programme episodes starred Rowan Atkinson as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson as Blackadder's dogsbody, Baldrick...

and The Office.

Production

The executive producer
Executive producer
An executive producer is a producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the film making or music process, but who is still responsible for the overall production...

, often the show's creator, is in charge of running the show. They pick the crew
Television crew
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.-Pre-production:-Casting Director:-Costume designer:-Director:* Associate Director -Location Manager:-Make-up artist:...

 and help cast the actors, approve and sometimes write series plots (some even write or direct major episodes). Various other producers help to ensure that the show runs smoothly.

As with filmmaking
Filmmaking
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, from an initial story, idea, or commission, through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, directing, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a theatrical release or television program...

 or other electronic media
Electronic media
Electronic media are media that use electronics or electromechanical energy for the end-user to access the content. This is in contrast to static media , which today are most often created electronically, but don't require electronics to be accessed by the end-user in the printed form...

 production, production of an individual episode can be divided into three parts. These are:

Pre-production

Pre-production begins when a script is approved. A director
Television director
A television director directs the activities involved in making a television program and is part of a television crew.-Duties:The duties of a television director vary depending on whether the production is live or recorded to video tape or video server .In both types of productions, the...

 is chosen to plan the episode's final look.

Pre-production tasks include storyboarding, construction of sets, props, and costumes, casting guest stars, budgeting, acquiring resources like lighting, special effects, stunts, etc. Once the show is planned, it must then be scheduled; scenes are often filmed out of sequence, guest actors or even regulars may only be available at certain times. Sometimes the principal photography of different episodes must be done at the same time, complicating the schedule (a guest star might shoot scenes from two episodes on the same afternoon). Complex scenes are translated from storyboard to animatics to further clarify the action. Scripts are adjusted to meet altering requirements.

Some shows have a small stable of directors, but also usually rely on outside directors. Given the time constraints of broadcasting, a single show might have two or three episodes in pre-production, one or two episodes in principal photography, and a few more in various stages of post-production. The task of directing is complex enough that a single director can usually not work on more than one episode or show at a time, hence the need for multiple directors.

Principal photography

Principal photography is the actual filming of the episode. Director, actors and crew will gather at a television studio
Television studio
A television studio is an installation in which a video productions take place, either for the recording of live television to video tape, or for the acquisition of raw footage for post-production. The design of a studio is similar to, and derived from, movie studios, with a few amendments for the...

 or on location for filming or videoing
Video production
Video production is videography, the process of capturing moving images on electronic media even streaming media. The term includes methods of production and post-production...

 a scene. A scene is further divided into shots, which should be planned during pre-production. Depending on scheduling, a scene may be shot in non-sequential order of the story. Conversations may be filmed twice from different camera angle
Camera angle
The camera angle marks the specific location at which a camera is placed to take a shot. A scene may be shot from several camera angles. This will give different experience and sometimes emotion. the different camera angles will have different effects on the viewer and how they perceive the scene...

s, often using stand-ins, so one actor might perform all their lines in one set of shots, and then the other side of the conversation will be filmed from the opposite perspective. To complete a production on time, a second unit may be filming a different scene on another set or location at the same time, using a different set of actors, an assistant director, and a second unit crew. A director of photography supervises the lighting of each shot to ensure consistency.

Post production

Once principal photography
Principal photography
thumb|300px|Film production on location in [[Newark, New Jersey]].Principal photography is the phase of film production in which the movie is filmed, with actors on set and cameras rolling, as distinct from pre-production and post-production....

 is complete, producers coordinate tasks to begin the video editing
Video editing
The term video editing can refer to:* Linear video editing, using video tape* Non-linear editing system , using computers with video editing software* Offline editing* Online editing...

. Visual and digital video effects are added to the film; this is often outsourced to companies specializing in these areas. Often music is performed with the conductor using the film as a time reference (other musical elements may be previously recorded). An editor cuts the various pieces of film together, adds the musical score
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 and effects, determines scene transitions, and assembles the completed show.

Budgets and revenues

In the United States, the average broadcast network drama costs $3 million an episode to produce, while cable dramas cost $2 million on average. The pilot
Television pilot
A "television pilot" is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network. At the time of its inception, the pilot is meant to be the "testing ground" to see if a series will be possibly desired and successful and therefore a test episode of an...

 episode may be more expensive than a regular episode. In 2004, Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

's two-hour pilot cost $10-$14 million, in 2008 Fringe
Fringe (TV series)
Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The series follows a Federal Bureau of Investigation "Fringe Division" team based in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Homeland Security...

's two-hour pilot cost $10 million, and in 2010, Boardwalk Empire was $18 million for the first episode. In 2011, Game of Thrones
Winter Is Coming
"Winter Is Coming" is the first episode of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones. Running 63 mins long, it premiered April 17, 2011....

was $5-$10 million, Pan Am
Pan Am (TV series)
Pan Am is an American period drama television series created by writer Jack Orman. Named for the iconic Pan American World Airways, the series focuses on the pilots and stewardesses of the airline as it operated in the early 1960s at the beginning of the commercial jet age.Sony licensed the rights...

 cost an estimated $10 million, while Terra Nova
Terra Nova (TV series)
Terra Nova is an American science fiction drama television series that airs on Fox on Monday nights. It premiered September 26, 2011 with a one-and-a-half-hour episode...

's two-hour pilot was between $10 to $20 million.

Costs are recouped mainly by advertising revenues for broadcast networks and some cable channels, while other cable channels depend on subscription revenues. In general, advertisers, and consequently networks that depend on advertising revenues, are more interested in the number of viewers within the 18–49 age range than the total number of viewers. Advertisers are willing to pay more to advertise on shows successful with young adults because they watch less television and are harder to reach than older adults. According to Advertising Age, during the 2007–08 season, Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy is an American medical drama television series created by Shonda Rhimes. The series premiered on March 27, 2005 on ABC; since then, seven seasons have aired. The series follows the lives of interns, residents and their mentors in the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital in...

was able to charge $419,000 per commercial, compared to only $248,000 for a commercial during CSI
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an American crime drama television series, which premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer...

, despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average. Due to its strength in young demos, Friends was able to charge almost three times as much for a commercial as Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote is an American television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 on the CBS network, with 264 episodes transmitted. It was followed by four TV films and a spin-off series,...

, even though the two series had similar total viewer numbers during the seasons they were on the air together. Glee
Glee (TV series)
Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States, and on GlobalTV in Canada. It focuses on the high school glee club New Directions competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues...

and The Office drew fewer total viewers than NCIS
NCIS (TV series)
NCIS, formerly known as NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is an American police procedural drama television series revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations involving the U.S...

during the 2009–10 season, but earned an average of $272,694 and $213,617 respectively, compared to $150,708 for NCIS.

Distribution

After production, the show is turned over to the television network
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

, which sends it out to its affiliate
Affiliate
An affiliate is a commercial entity with a relationship with a peer or a larger entity.- Corporate structure :A corporation may be referred to as an affiliate of another when it is related to it but not strictly controlled by it, as with a subsidiary relationship, or when it is desired to avoid...

 stations
Television station
A television station is a business, organisation or other such as an amateur television operator that transmits content over terrestrial television. A television transmission can be by analog television signals or, more recently, by digital television. Broadcast television systems standards are...

, which broadcast it in the specified broadcast programming time slot. If the Nielsen ratings
Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research, in an effort to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States...

 are good, the show is kept alive as long as possible. If not, the show is usually canceled
Cancellation (television)
In television, cancellation refers to the termination of a program by a network, typically because of low viewership and/or unfavourable critical reviews. Another reason why television programs can be cancelled is to make room for new television programs...

. The show's creators are then left to shop around remaining episodes, and the possibility of future episodes, to other networks. On especially successful series, the producers sometimes call a halt to a series on their own like Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

, The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show is an American television situation comedy starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992...

, Corner Gas
Corner Gas
Corner Gas is a Canadian television sitcom created by Brent Butt. The series ran for six seasons from 2004 to 2009. Re-runs still air on CTV and The Comedy Network in Canada; it formerly aired on WGN America in the United States....

, and M*A*S*H and end it with a concluding episode, which sometimes is a big series finale
Series finale
A series finale refers to the last installment of a series with a narrative presented through mediums such as television, film and literature. In many Commonwealth countries, the term final episode is commonly used in regards to a television series...

.

On rare occasions, a series that has not attracted particularly high ratings and has been canceled can be given a reprieve if DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 sales have been particularly strong. This has happened in the cases of Family Guy
Family Guy
Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

in the US and Peep Show
Peep Show (TV series)
Peep Show is a British sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. The television programme is written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, with additional material by Mitchell and Webb themselves, amongst others. It has been broadcast on Channel 4 since 2003. The show's seventh series makes it...

in the UK.

If the show is popular or lucrative, and a number of episodes (usually 100 episodes
100 episodes
In the U.S. television industry, 100 episodes is the traditional threshold at which point a television series becomes viable for syndication. 100 episodes are advantageous for stripped syndication because such shows can be sold for higher per-episode pricing; it also allows for 20 weeks of...

 or more) are made, it goes into broadcast syndication (in the USA) where broadcast to the program rights are then resold.

The terminology used to define a set of episode
Episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...

s produced by a television series varies from country to country.

North American usage

The term "series", in North American usage, refers to a connected set of television program episodes that run under the same title, possibly spanning many seasons. A new series is often ordered (funded) for just the first 10 to 13 episodes, to gauge the audience
Audience
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature , theatre, music or academics in any medium...

 interest. If it is "picked up", the season is completed to the regular 20 to 26 episodes. The term "midseason replacement
Midseason replacement
In American and Canadian television, a midseason replacement is a television series that premieres in the second half of the traditional television season, usually between January and May...

" usually refers to an inexpensive short-run (10–13 episode) show designed to take the place of an original series which failed to garner an audience and has not been picked up. The term "series finale" can lead to confusion outside of North America. A series finale means that the show will no longer be produced, and thus will be the final episode for that series (in the UK, it would mean the end of a season).

In North America the term "television season" is used inconsistently. A "full season" typically runs from September through May, with a hiatus
Hiatus (television)
In television scheduling, a hiatus refers to a break of at least several weeks in the normal schedule of a broadcast programming. It can occur during a season of a television program, or can be between television seasons .- Planned hiatus :Many times television stations will implement a hiatus...

 between December and February. This broadcast programming schedule typically includes 20 to 26 episodes. A full season is sometimes split into two separate units (confusingly also termed seasons) with one before and one after the hiatus. These smaller "seasons" usually contain half the number of episodes (10–13).

In the 2000s, these shorter seasons have been referred to as ".5" or half seasons, where the run of shows between September and December is labeled "Season N", and the second run between February and May labeled "Season N.5". This is typically done to increase DVD sales of the show. The distributor will release the first half of the season in stores just before the second half first airs, in order to increase interest in the season's second half. Examples of this would be the science fiction remake Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)
Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore as a re-imagining of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series created by Glen A. Larson...

, its prequel Caprica
Caprica (TV series)
Caprica is a science fiction drama television series. It is a spin-off prequel of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, taking place about 58 years prior to the events of Battlestar Galactica. Caprica shows how humanity first created the robotic Cylons who would later plot to destroy humans in...

, ABC's FlashForward
Flashforward
A flashforward is an interjected scene that takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television and other media. Flashforwards are often used to represent events expected, projected, or imagined to occur in the future...

, and NBC's Heroes
Heroes (TV series)
Heroes is an American science fiction television drama series created by Tim Kring that appeared on NBC for four seasons from September 25, 2006 through February 8, 2010. The series tells the stories of ordinary people who discover superhuman abilities, and how these abilities take effect in the...

.

UK and Australia usage

In the United Kingdom, on the ABC
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

 in Australia and in other countries, these sets of episodes are referred to as a series.

Australian television does not follow seasons in the way that US television does. So there is no "Fall Season" or "Fall schedule", for example. In Australia, a batch of episodes will still sometimes be called a "season" as per American terminology, although the UK term "series" is also used. For many years popular night time dramas in Australia would run much of the year, and would only go into recess over the summer period (December–February) where ratings are not taken. Therefore popular dramas would usually run February–November each year. This schedule was used in the 1970s for popular dramas including Number 96
Number 96 (TV series)
Number 96 was a popular Australian soap opera set in a Sydney apartment block. Don Cash and Bill Harmon produced the series for Network Ten, which requested a Coronation Street-type serial, and specifically one that explored adult subjects...

. Neighbours
Neighbours
Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera first broadcast on the Seven Network on 18 March 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show that focused on realistic stories and portrayed adults and teenagers who talk openly and solve their problems...

and other dramas continue this routine as at 2010. Australian situation comedy
Situation comedy
A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue...

 series usually have seasons of about 13 episodes, and might premiere at any month between February and November.

British shows have tended toward shorter series in recent years. For example, the first series of long-running science fiction show Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

in 1963 featured forty-two 25-minute episodes, which had been reduced gradually to fourteen 25-minute episodes in 1989. The revival of Doctor Who has comprised thirteen 45-minute installments. However, there are some series in the UK that have a larger number of episodes, for example Waterloo Road
Waterloo Road (TV series)
Waterloo Road is an award-winning British television drama series, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 9 March 2006. Set in a troubled comprehensive school in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, the series focuses on the lives of the school's teacher and students, and confronts social...

started with 8–12 episodes but from series three onward, it increased to 20 episodes, and season seven will contain 30 episodes. Recently, American non-cable networks have also begun to experiment with shorter seasons for some programs, particularly reality shows such as Survivor. However, they often air two seasons per year, resulting in roughly the same number of episodes per year as a drama.

This is a reduction from the 1950s, in which many American shows (e.g., The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series)
The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series created by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. The series consisted of unrelated episodes depicting paranormal, futuristic, dystopian, or simply disturbing events; each show typically featured a surprising...

) had between 29 and 39 episodes per season. Actual storytelling time within a commercial television hour has also gradually reduced over the years, from 50 minutes out of every 60 to the current 44 (and even less on some networks), beginning in the early 21st century.

Japanese usage

The Japanese have sometimes subdivided television series and dramas into , from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 term "cours" for "course", which is a three-month period usually of 13 episodes. Each kūru generally has its own opening and ending image sequence and song, recordings of which are often sold. The number of episodes permitted per season ranges from three to 65. (See also Japanese television programs.)

In the United States, in general, dramas usually last 44 minutes (an hour with advertisements), while sitcoms last 22 (30 with advertisements). However, with the rise of cable networks, especially pay ones, series and episode lengths have been changing, with 55–60 minutes per episode, and shorter seasons overall.

See also

:Category:Television schedules (by country and year)
  • List of animated television series
  • List of television programs by name in alphabetical order
  • Lists of television programs
  • Network programming (television)
  • Radio programming
    Radio programming
    Radio programming is the Broadcast programming of a Radio format or content that is organized for Commercial broadcasting and Public broadcasting radio stations....

  • Television advertisement
    Television advertisement
    A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad-film – is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization that conveys a message, typically one intended to market a product...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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